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Hopkins -vs- Calzaghe only weeks away: Pound for pound, where should the winner be placed?

Over the course of the past year, the race for the position of best pound for pound fighter in the world seems to be narrowing. Floyd Mayweather, with his wins over Arturo Gatti, Zab Judah, Carlos Baldomir, Oscar De la hoya, and Ricky Hatton rightfully earned him the position at the top of Pound for Pound lists.

However, Bernard Hopkins, having lost controversial decisions to Jermain Taylor in 2005, returned in 2006 and 2007 to defeat betting favorites Antonio Tarver and Winky Wright. Tarver and Wright were both respectively top five pound for pounders at the time that Hopkins beat them.

Should Hopkins prevail against reigning undefeated Super Middleweight king Joe Calzaghe in their light heavyweight showdown on April 19, that will mark the third top five pounder for pounder he has defeated. That would mark the third consecutive time the 43 year old, a betting underdog, has defied logic and beaten one of boxing's outstanding performers.

Where does Calzaghe rank if does what's expected on paper and beats Hopkins? However, if Hopkins upsets Calzaghe and gives him his first loss, does he deserve to replace Mayweather as the Pound for Pound best fighter in world?

In terms of the fight on April 19, I've been back and forth quite a bit on who I'm picking to win. Watching Calzaghe in his performance against Kessler last November, and Hopkins less than inspiring victory over Wright last July, I was initially picking Calzaghe. But after weighing experience and their history, Hopkins has so much more experience over Calzaghe in every facet of the game. He's fought in America, he's fought overseas, and I can name five great fighters (win or lose) that Hopkins has been in the ring with. I can't name one on Joe's record. Calzaghe is an excellent fighter, don't get me wrong. The man can fight, but he's shown that how well he fights against the quality of opposition that he's faced up to this point, in the comfort of his home town and country.

Calzaghe is going to throw a lot of punches, which will leave him OPEN for many shots in return. Hopkins throws more punches than people give him credit for (he outworked Wright, when many felt it would be the other way around), and his defense is underrated as well. Look for Calzaghe to take the first few rounds or so, as Hopkins adjusts to his activity level, but as the fight progresses, Calzaghe will get sloppier and sloppier, as Hopkins (who will actually be the puncher in this fight) begins to counter with crisper and more accurate shots that will take their toll on the Welshmen.

As this happens, you will see 43 year old begin to outwork the workman-line Welshmen in the championship rounds (similar to Nate Campbell vs Juan Diaz). Hopkins won't stop Calzaghe, but it is my belief at this time that he will whoop him over 12 rounds.

Calzaghe is an excellent fighter - with potential for greatness.
Hopkins is an excellent great fighter - with potential for all-time greatness and is a guaranteed Hall of Famer.
Hopkins is going to take Calzaghe to Hell and back.

While Hopkins is the ripe old age of 43, Calzaghe is no spring chicken himself at 36 and he doesn't have the punching power to hurt Hopkins. Calzaghe is just going to be latest of a series of southpaws that Hopkins feasts on. Might not necessarily be the cleanest, prettiest or most pleasing thing to watch, but Hopkins will get the job done. Welcome to America, Joe.

Just weeks away from the fight, I like Hopkins by unanimous decision.
116-112 on all three cards.

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