Felix “Tito” Trinadad
Felix “Tito” Trinadad (Puerto Rican flag trunks) is a fearsome puncher with big power in both hands. He’s got a good chin and had walked through most of the welterweight division. He then stepped up and won a belt at 160lbs. His power stayed with him in his new weight class knocking out the underrated William Joppy in his previous fight. Here is a quick highlight to give you an idea of what he can do. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qw2fmsI_GxU
Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins
Don’t let the nickname fool you. This is not some hard nosed brawler, wildly swinging for the fences. B-Hop is one of the most brilliant technicians in the history of the sport. He is also widely known for his monk-like lifestyle and discipline that allowed him to later go on to be the oldest man to ever win a title. It also ensured he was always in incredible shape and could outlast his often younger and stronger opponents. He began boxing in prison while doing time for an armed robbery when he was a kid. Nobody believed he had any potential after losing his first fight and the day he was released from Jail the warden told him “I’ll see you soon”. Well he went to the gym and proved the warden wrong. He is already an old man here, 37. Going into a fight with a unbeaten Puerto Rican knockout artist 8 years his junior. He was a 2 to 1 underdog going in. Hopkins is in the red trunks with the giant X over his groin.
Drawing to counter
Trinadad comes out slow unwilling to throw at the crafty counter puncher, Hopkins throws a jab he knows he is too far away to land, just in hopes he can get the younger man to open himself up. Trinadad obliges and walks into a stiff jab from Hopkins as he throws his own. This is the major theme early on in this fight. Hopkins jabs, Trinadad counters, than B-hop counters the counter.
The thing about Trinadad
Trinadad is a very good puncher but he is only really dangerous at mid-range where he can put his crisp left hook and right hand to work. He jab is nothing to write home about and Hopkins had a bit of reach on him. So long as Hopkins either stays very far away or up really close he is more or less safe. This fight became a masterclass on how to get in and out safely. Hopkins gives ground as Tito jabs at him but then gets inside using a sticky hook to hold Trinadad’s head and rough him up with his right hand. He gets back outside but gets hit with a very wide left hook from Trinadad. He uses the left hook to disguise the step in again and lands a great left hook to the body.
Giving ground and exploiting rythms
Tito is still coming forward and slipping Hopkins jabs. Hopkins knows he’s getting close to the ropes so he leads with his right hand but Tito sees it coming and gives ground causing it and the following left hook to miss. But Hopkins knows that Tito will continue to try and pressure so the second Tito tries to step forward again Hopkins catches him with a nice right hand to the body. He waited for Tito to help him close the distance to land the punch. Brilliant stuff.
Notice that every time Hopkins jabs he takes a step to his left. By doing this he is taking his body off the line that Trinadad’s counter would come from, and because of the distance between them Tito can only use the jab which is the longest punch he has. That is why when Hopkins feints his jab at the end of the sequence Tito tries to jab back but Hopkins is off the line and snaps his head back with a jab of his own.
Most of this round looked a lot like the last Gif. With Hopkins moving, jabbing, but only throwing one punch at a time. So in the last 30 seconds of the round he starts following the jab with the straight right hand and cracks Tito as he tries to step out of range. He creates a pattern by only throwing one punch at a time lulling his opponent into complacency, So when he does start throwing heavy leather Tito gets caught totally unaware.
Feinting and preemptive defense
Hopkins is using feints (faked punches) to keep Trinadad from doing anything but defending. Trinadad keeps reacting to punches that aren’t coming. When Hopkins finally steps in with his big punch he knows that throwing such a heavy punch would leave him open to a counter from Trinadad. So rather than wait around to absorb Tito’s punch he changes levels and Tito’s hook goes flying over his back. He then clinches momentarily to get inside of Tito’s power. Notice how he holds Trinadad’s head to prevent him from slipping the left hook. Classic in-fighting.
The scalpel vs the wrecking ball
Look at how much shorter and tighter Hopkins’ punches are here. Trinadad keeps on trying to load up with big powerful shots but continually gets beaten to the punch by quicker tighter punches. It doesn’t matter how hard you can punch if can’t land them. Hopkins is calm and flowing where as Tito is tense and awkward.
Playing with distance
As Trinadad tries to walk Hopkins down Hopkins feints the lead right before throwing a left hook that falls just short. Hopkins gets stuck on the ropes but lands a very short 1-2 before changing levels as Tito crashes a body hook home.He pushes the younger man back by stepping with a chopping right hand up close. He then backs off into the ropes creating enough space to land another hard 1-2 on the inside before he circles off.
This is part of what makes Hopkins so great. He (like so many great fighters) has been criticized as being a boring fighter at points in his career. But Hopkins would do whatever he needed to do to get the W. Bending the rules when he needs to, clinching when he needs to, but he can also do this shit right here when he needs to. That is an old man going hook for hook with a scary young knockout artist and slicing him up on the inside with a work rate that his opponent just couldn’t match.
Tito gets rocked
Notice just after Hopkins lands his first right hand he steps in and starts to push Trinadad with his left shoulder. This does 3 things for you on the inside, first it makes him a smaller target since hitting the back is illegal in boxing. By doing this he totally neutralized Tito’s right hand. The second thing it does is increase the distance his own right hand can travel adding power to the punches from that side, finally it allows him to transfer his weight over to his right side also adding power. Basically he limited the threats Tito can present and made his own punches much harder. He didn’t just swing away though. He threw a short right hook to make Tito defend the side of his head so when he throws that massive uppercut there is nothing for Tito to do about it. Brilliant boxing from the crafty old man.
Like I said earlier
Outside or inside and almost never in between. Hopkins cracks him with a right hand over Tito’s jab and immediately closes the distance connecting on a hook/uppercut combo before clinching up. Once Tito gets his arms free Hopkins immediately connects on a double jab before Tito can throw from his preferred range and they go back inside again.
Bernard throws an uppercut which Tito tries to counter with his signature left hook. Bernard sees it coming so rather than retract his punch he keeps his right hand high enough to block it. But here is the really cool part, watch Hopkins feet as he punches. He switched stances going from orthodox to southpaw. This did 2 things for Hopkins. First it allows him to get to Tito’s side where he couldn’t see the punch coming and the ones you don’t see coming hurt the worst. It also shortened the distance between Tito’s head and Hopkins’ right hand allowing him to punch all the way through his target. Stance switching (shifting as it’s commonly known) is incredibly rare in the modern era of boxing. It is a trick of the old school style of boxing and Bernard Hopkins is one of the last of the old school fighters.
Sweet Sweet Slow MO
Goddamn what a pretty knockout.
The craziest thing is Bernard Hopkins, at age 46,won the title at light heavy weight to become the oldest champion ever. Then 2 years later he broke his own damn record to get his belt back at age fourty fucking eight. On top of even that he has never ever been knocked out in his career. He’s living proof that in the boxing ring there is no muscle more important than your brain. He wins because he is out-thinking younger, stronger men. He is also a master of psycological warfare, excelling at getting under his opponents skin like this right here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7llp_L-riVM
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