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traded early legs with Van Barne

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    July 9, 2018 9:36 AM +0430

    Last month, when I traveled to London to cover the Gennady Golovkin-Kell Brook middleweight world title fight, I stayed at the hotel next to the O2 Arena, the same place where the HBO crew working on the American broadcast was staying. Bears Hoodies Jerseys Outlet .On the morning of the fight, I had breakfast in the hotel restaurant. As I was walking out, Bernard Hopkins, who was working on the telecast as HBOs analyst, was walking in. We had seen each other a few times during fight week but hadnt had much of a chance to talk. He invited me to sit with him. Weve known each other since 2000, and I have covered around two dozen of his fights. I would say I know Hopkins as well as any fighter I have covered in my career. Weve met each others families and when we chat, it is often not even about boxing at this point.But when we sat down on this morning, we talked about Hopkins career. At 51, did he still want to fight again after a two-year layoff and a one-sided loss to Sergey Kovalev, and if so, when and who would he want to fight?So we sat and talked it out for more than an hour while overlooking the River Thames on a lovely London morning. This was not an interview, rather just a deep conversation about what Hopkins wanted to do.The former middleweight and light heavyweight champion made it clear he wanted a farewell fight and that he wanted it this year, before he turns 52 in January. He saw the hoopla surrounding the recent retirement of Kobe Bryant and wanted the chance to leave boxing on his own terms with a similar farewell fit for a king. For some of the fights in the later years of his career, he has come into the ring to the classic Frank Sinatra song My Way, and hed be damned if he wasnt going to go out on his terms.Hopkins made one point very clear, over and over: He did not want to fight a walkover opponent. Sure, he wanted somebody he would be favored to beat but a real opponent with a good record. He used the word respectful and credible. He wanted somebody whom nobody could say was a soft touch or an unworthy foe. Somebody the fans and media would see as a legitimate fighter.But he is 51 and doesnt move like he once did. So one concession was that he wanted to make sure whoever he faced was not somebody that was too slick and moved a lot. He didnt want to have to chase a guy for 12 rounds. He wanted a guy to come to fight and be in front of him.Then Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KOs) asked my opinion on who he should fight. He would have preferred to fight for a world title at either light heavyweight or super middleweight but none of those titleholders were available. I put my thinking cap on and came up with two names I thought fit his requirements well.Both were from Long Island, New York, with good records, straight-ahead styles and fan bases. Each was certainly a respectful and credible opponent. They were also fights I believed could be made without any political issues, and both were opponents I felt HBO would approve.One was Seanie Monaghan (27-0, 17 KOs). The other was Joe Smith (22-1, 18 KOs). Hopkins asked me for my view of both fighters and his eyes grew wide. He liked what he was hearing. He punched their names into his phone and began to look them up. He said he would do his homework and also take the names to Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya and president Eric Gomez to see what they thought.I said to Hopkins, Wouldnt it be funny if you wound up fighting one of those guys and we could joke about it for years to come that the fight was hatched over a cup of tea in London at a restaurant overlooking the River Thames.Hopkins laughed and agreed. A month later it has come to pass.Hopkins will in fact face Smith in his last fight -- The Final One as it has been dubbed -- on Dec. 17 on HBO from The Forum in Inglewood, California.I was at a fight and you was there also and we were looking at the river in London that morning, Hopkins recounted to me after the fight was set on Monday. I had just done a light run and walked in for breakfast and we got to talking. A name was kicked around and you said, I know a guy respectful and credible and he has a following, and you said Joe Smith.Hopkins was enamored by the fact that Smith was coming off a very big win, an upset first-round knockout of contender Andrzej Fonfara on June 18 on NBC in prime time.I didnt know Joe Smith until you mentioned his name, Hopkins said. I went and did my research. Hes promoted by Joe DeGuardia and we have a good relationship. I knew that Joe respects me and that wed be fair in any deal, and here we are.I was doing my research on him like I do on all of my opponents. I said this is a guy I want. We are fighting for legacy. Hes fighting for his legacy and Im fighting to keep mine intact and make sure I go out with no negatives. But when I looked at the tape I said to myself, Why did Dan tell me to look at this guy, another puncher in front of you who is coming to rip your head off like Sergey Kovalev?But then I thought what do I want? Do I want a guy who is a C-level? Thats not Bernard Hopkins. I have to be honest about doing this final fight.Hopkins has not scored a knockout since he stopped De La Hoya with a body shot in the ninth round in 2004. I bust his chops about that sometimes.He said he wants to finish his Hall of Fame career with a KO, so he is doing some work with weights, which he has not done in years, not since he worked with fitness guru Mackie Shilstone to bulk him up to light heavyweight in the first place for his 2006 upset of Antonio Tarver to win the title.I want to go out with a knockout, Hopkins said. I didnt have one in 12 years since I beat Oscar, my partner. Not just the win -- I want the knockout. This is not just promotional talk. That will be the bow on a long career.When told he would be facing an opponent who was not even born when Hopkins turned pro in 1988 (the year I graduated high school), Hopkins paused.Its not only crazy, its insane, Hopkins finally said. Im an old m-----f-----.Then Hopkins began figuring out how many presidential administrations his career has lasted. He turned pro during Ronald Reagans second term and boxed through George H.W. Bushs term, two Bill Clinton terms, two George W. Bush terms and two Barack Obama terms.I dont want to still be boxing when Hillary Clinton is sworn in, he said, offering his prediction for the outcome of next months election.Im done. This is the final one, and what a good way to end it, he said. Joe Smith is all action, hes credible, hes hungry, he throws a lot of punches, only one loss. A young guy. And he come off a big, confident win. So he has momentum to know that he belongs. Thats the kind of opponent I need. I want to put on a fantastic show. I want to be able to enjoy this.Hopkins said -- and Gomez backed it up -- that his contract has language legally stipulating that this is his last fight, as opposed to when he retired the first time after beating Tarver a decade ago and was bored to death a few months later.He said it will be different this time. He is 10 years older and knows it is time.I signed off on this in writing that I am done, he said. It says this is my final fight and I will not return as a fighter ever again. This aint bulls---. Im done, win, lose or controversy. But I came back for this fight because I wanted to go out on my terms.People might think thats cocky, but if they know my career I did just about everything my way. But if I was coming into the restaurant that morning in London two seconds later we wouldnt have seen each other and had that conversation about Joe Smith.Its a conversation we will no doubt discuss for years to come. Cheap Bears Hoodies Jerseys . John Tavares, Thomas Vanek and Kyle Okposo were also being counted on to slow down sizzling Rangers forward Rick Nash. That plan didnt go so well early. Cheap Bears Hoodies Store . 9. Price, heading to the 2014 Olympics for Canada, was named the First Star after posting wins in three starts with a 1.00 goals-against average and a .971 save percentage. . Dallas hasnt ruled out the star quarterback for Sunday nights game against Philadelphia, but all signs point to Romos back injury pushing Kyle Orton into the starting role after two years of limited play as the backup. Surely Ortons name isnt the first that comes to mind for fans wanting a change after years of damaging interceptions, fumbles or, most infamously, the field goal flub when Romo dropped the snap on a kick that could have won his first playoff game in 2006.Michael van Gerwen produced a record-breaking performance in one of the finest nights of action in Premier League history. The Dutchman recorded the highest average in a televised match during his 7-1 win over Michael Smith, but Van Gerwens magical performance was not the only match to savour as Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson added to an epic evening.MVG makes history The Dutchman could have ended with an average over 130 The world No 1 gave a thrilling demonstration of why he is the sports finest player, ending with an average of 124.3 following his darts demolition job against Smith. Van Gerwen has replaced Taylor as the dominant force in darts and he wiped away the previous record of 118.66 by The Power which was set against Kevin Painter at the 2010 UK Open. Michael van Gerwen set a new record for the highest televised average score, beating Phil Taylors previous record MVGs mark could have been even better as he missed match darts while on an average of 136 and Sky Sports expert Wayne Mardle believes he can improve his own record.Like Michael said, he knows he can get better, said Mardle. He can hit a 136 average, because he had a chance at it. Just amazing.The best ever? Phil Taylor also impressed the watching audience Mighty Mike served up the highest display of scoring in front a TV audience, but Taylor also averaged 115 in a thrilling 7-5 win over Dave Chisnall, who ended on 109 himself.Such high-scoring antics took the attention away from Andersons triumphant homecoming and the Scotsman did not disappoint his own fans, sealing a 7-3 win over Raymond van Barneveld in a cauldron of noise. Things got tight in the final leg of the match between Adrian Lewis and James Wade. Watch what happened here There was also terrific tension as Adrian Lewis and James Wade missed 14 match darts between them before Jackpot finally closed out a 7-5 victory. Its the smallest crowd that they play in front of, but for me its one the best night Ive ever wwitnessed in the Premier League and any other night, said Mardle. Bears Hoodies Shop. .Taylor hitting top form  Phil Taylor claimed his third win of the competition against Dave Chisnall After one of his records was erased from the history books, Taylor seemed determined to steal some of Van Gerwens thunder when he followed his rival onto the oche.The 16-time world champion captured the crowds attention as he twice attempted a nine-darter, falling short with his seventh dart on both occasions. Phil Taylor beat Dave Chisnall 7-5 to make it three wins on the bounce in the Premier League But Taylor powered to his third straight victory, which included a 126 checkout, and the 55-year-old admits he is still spurred on by a desire to compete with Van Gerwen.Hes phenomenal, he really is, said Taylor. Im not frightened of Michael, he inspires me.Andersons happy homecoming Gary Anderson was greeted by vociferous crowd in Scotland The defending champion was still searching for his first Premier League points as he headed back to his homeland and seemed a little unnerved by his rapturous welcome.As the crowd chorused his name, Anderson traded early legs with Van Barneveld, but the two-time world champion gradually began to show his class and pulled away for a comfortable 7-3 win. A draining virus has disrupted Andersons preparations for his title defence, forcing him to miss the opening night, and The Flying Scotsman admitted he is still below his best. There was good ones and bad ones, I was really shaking. I got away with it tonight Gary Anderson Ive tried the last few weeks, not been a well man, but back in Scotland - this is what its all about, Anderson told Sky Sports.There was good ones and bad ones, I was really shaking tonight. I got away with it tonight.Making it Wright  Peter Wright was forced to work for a point Amid all the darts drama, its easy to forget that Peter Wright retained top spot in the Premier League.The enigmatic Snakebite opted to change his darts yet again to the dismay of Sky Sports expert Mardle and struggled with his new equipment against Robert Thornton.But Wright conjured up a moment of quality when he needed it, working down to a finish with a 174 in the decisive leg, and is yet to suffer a defeat this season.  Also See: Mardle marvels at MVG record WATCH: MVG averaging 130 MVG sets record in Aberdeen WATCH: Darts double trouble China Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys 2020Nike NFL Jerseys China Youth NFL Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale Stitched Jerseys Cheap Jerseys 2019 Cheap NFL Autographed Jerseys ' ' '