Stateside Round up
At the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday night, 48-year-old Bernard Hopkins took a unanimous decision over Tavoris Cloud to claim the IBF light heavyweight title and break his own record as the oldest champion in boxing history.
Hopkins, now 53-6-2, primary skills at this late stage in his career are slipping punches, stepping away from trouble, grabbing on the inside and being surprising. Sustained offence and sustained energy are not his specialties. This does not matter has every time Cloud missed or paused for a second, Hopkins hit him. That was enough for him to cruise to a decision victory by several rounds.
A decisive moment came in the sixth round when Cloud was cut above his right eye. It was ruled an accidential clash of heads by the referee but replays showed the damage was done by a left hook. The blood just made him look more beleaguered. With only one or two exceptions, Cloud could not land a clean punch all night. On the inside, Hopkins grabs immediately, making punching impossible, on the outside he has a uncanny abillity to slip and duck then back to holding again.
The Judges awarded the fight to the former undisputed world middleweight champion Hopkins by scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 116-112.
On the undercard, welterweight prospect Keith Thurman defeated Jan Zaveck in a WBO welterweight eliminator by a clear unanimous decision. Thurman improves to 20-0, Zaveck drops to 32-3.
Also from Costa Mesa, California, Argenis Mendez knocked out Juan Carlos Salgado in the fourth round to win the IBF super featherweight title in a rematch of a very close 2011 bout.
Mendez (21-2) floored Salgado (26-2-1) in the first round then just as Salgado was pushing his way back into the fight, Mendez landed a brutal left hook for a one-punch knockout.
For Mendez, a fight with the WBA holder Japan's Takashi Uchiyama would be a excellent pairing as both can bang and come to fight.