Kelly Pavlik vs. Bernard Hopkins
2008-10-18 : Kelly Pavlik 169 lbs lost to Bernard Hopkins 170 lbs by UD in round 12 of 12
- Location: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA
- Referee: Benjy Esteves Jr.
- Judge: Barbara Perez 109-117
- Judge: Alan Rubenstein 106-119
- Judge: Steve Weisfeld 108-118
- Results of HBO's unofficial "Fight Night" scale: Pavlik 174 lbs, Hopkins 180 lbs
- In a nationally televised HBO bout, Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins, 43, 49-5-1 with 32KOs, turned back the clock and won a unanimous decision over Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik, 34-1 with 30KOs. Hopkins, who dominated the middleweights as champion for over ten years, and Pavlik, the current middleweight champion, fought at a 170 lb. catchweight in a 12 round non-title bout. Hopkins appeared to win every round, coming forward and scoring repeatedly with short left hooks to the head and body. Hopkins kept moving, and Pavlik's jabs and powerful right hands kept missing the moving target. In the second round, a left uppercut from Hopkins caused a cut under Pavlik's right eye. In the seventh and twelfth rounds, Hopkins landed power punch combinations to the head that had Pavlik in trouble. Pavlik lost a point in the eighth round for repeatedly hitting behind the head, and Hopkins lost a point in ninth round for repeatedly holding. Pavlik's corner spent the bout working on the cut and a frequent nosebleed. Hopkins landed head and body punches on Pavlik at will during the the last three rounds, but stated after the fight that "[He] could have gone for the knockout, but like a driver who keeps his seat belt on for safety reasons, the fight was already over [on points] early on and [he] saw no need to take chances." Hopkins, who taunted Pavlik after the final bell, told Pavlik in the post-fight interview that Pavlik was better off fighting at 160 pounds as a great champion, to which Pavlik agreed. Top Rank and Pavlik's management wanted to fight a contender, but HBO turned down half a dozen names, including Allan Green, Joe Greene, and Marco Antonio Rubio, leaving Hopkins as the only main event box office draw available for Pavlik to fight. Despite this, before the fight, Larry Merchant and Jim Lampley described Pavlik's corner as greedy and going for the money when they should have been fighting a contender at middleweight. For his part, Hopkins, arriving in the ring wearing a black hood and making a cutting gesture at his throat, performed well-enough to silence both his skeptics and his opponent, leaving the undefeated Pavlik's face a battered and bloody mess by the final bell while he himself was unmarked.