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Hopkins: Who cares about Pac-Floyd now

ESPN staff
January 21, 2013 « Etim: Renee Forte gets punished at Wembley Arena | Chartbeat test »

Bernard Hopkins believes the appetite for a showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao has been wiped out by Juan Manuel Marquez's devastating knockout victory against Pacquiao in December.

Efforts to lure Mayweather and Pacquiao to the ring has been a longstanding will-they-won't-they saga in boxing circles, with the welterweight duo, at times considered the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world, failing to agree terms on a fight.

But Pacquiao's stunning defeat at the hands of Marquez in their fourth meeting, having walked on to a right cross that left the Filipino face-down on the canvas out cold at the end of the fifth, has done serious damage to his reputation and bargaining power.

Hopkins, who at the age of 48 is preparing to face IBF light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud in Brooklyn on March 9, believes Pacquiao's recklessness has cost him a shot at Mayweather, and may have ended his career.

"That type of knockout...that was 10 fights for Pacquiao," Hopkins said. "The way Pacquiao got hit - he jumped into the punch trying to hit Marquez - he was knocked out before he hit the canvas. It takes a lot out of a fighter when you get hit that way.

"I'll be surprised if he fights more than one time, and it will probably be with Marquez - and that's the only fight that I can say that he should fight.

"The way he got knocked out, it's hard to recover, spiritually, emotionally and physically - mentally it's definitely a challenge."

Asked if Pacquiao would ever step into the ring with Mayweather, Hopkins replied: "Who cares now? It would be easy pickings for Floyd Mayweather. I picked Floyd Mayweather to win before the knockout. Now if they fought - which I don't see happening - Floyd Mayweather would make it even easier than I predicted the first time."

And while Hopkins had plenty of praise for Pacquiao's tenacity, he believes that defence is key to Mayweather's dominance - and his own longevity.

"It wouldn't have been a fight where Mayweather would have had his way. Pacquiao could get hit - he didn't have the best defence. He didn't overwhelm guys when he was knocking them out. He out-punched them, he outworked them, and he really beat these guys down.

"Mayweather keeps his chin tucked - [he has] what I consider one of the best defences in the world. You rarely see Floyd Mayweather or Bernard Hopkins get hit with a flush three, four, five-punch combinations - and that's one of the reasons I'm still here.

"Pacquiao jumped [at Marquez] trying to throw a left hand and paid the ultimate price. You never throw a punch and leave your feet. He's not Superman."

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