Bernard Hopkins became the oldest man to capture a world title at the age of 46 after he defeated Jean Pascal in May of 2011. This Saturday night he's looking to rewrite the history books once again at age 48 when he takes on a man 17 years his junior - undefeated IBF light heavyweight champ Tavoris Cloud.
Let's take a closer look at what is sure to be a historic matchup this weekend.
Besides the obvious advantage in youth, the aggressive Cloud has walked through most of his competition by way of knockout. However, when you look at the list of names on Cloud's resume, it's thin when it comes to top notch opponents. The highest profile name was a decision victory against beloved journeyman Glenn Johnson.
He was also awarded a controversial decision in his last fight against Gab Campillo. Cloud did drop his opponent twice in the early rounds but was outboxed and outclassed for the rest of the fight.
Cloud's skills are still evolving but at this moment you'd have to believe they are very limited against an all-time great such as Hopkins. Even though Hopkins has never been stopped in his illustrious career, Cloud's power is nothing to sneeze at. Hopkins will have to do his best to avoid getting into flat footed exchanges with the man they call "Thunder".
"The Executioner" is and will always be one of the premiere defensive fighters ever. Elusive counter punching coupled with defensive brilliance - his crafty style has become legendary.
When you add a wealth of experience against some of the best fighters of the past two decades, it seems like Cloud could be tailor made for "B-Hop".
Hopkins will look to use Cloud's aggressiveness against him by using his feet to create angles for sharp counters as his opponent comes in. Cloud is known to be somewhat wild at times and that's when we expect Hopkins to be most successful. If Cloud can work his way on the inside he will also have to look out for the dirty tricks Hopkins is infamous for.
The Bottom Line
We expect to see Cloud be even more aggressive than usual, looking to take out the older fighter earlier. It's in Hopkin's best interest to touch his opponent sooner rather than later so he can establish the pace he is comfortable in. The ring-savvy Hopkins usually finds a way to win against flat-footed power punchers who are more comfortable banging than boxing (I.E Kelly Pavlik). Hopkins should take this one easily if he can avoid the early storm from "Thunder".
Zachary Hutton is the lead boxing writer and an MMA contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can see what he's up to at his band's website myunclethewolf.com or also subscribe at Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.