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Bernard Hopkins Recalls 9/11 Aftermath, Date Shift of Trinidad Fight

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BERNARD HOPKINS CELEBRATES AND REMEMBERS

10TH ANNIVERSARY OF HISTORIC, PATRIOTIC

TRIUMPH OVER FELIX TRINIDAD

 

Philadelphia, PA (Sept. 9)…As we mark the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001 and the tragic occurrence that happened, we must remember that the first major sporting event held in the borough of Manhattan following the tragedy was the middleweight championship fight between Bernard Hopkins and Felix Trinidad. It was a night that helped return boxing and sports fans to a sense of normalcy and that propelled Hopkins to a new level of superstardom.

 

It's hard to believe 10 years have passed since that battle at Madison Square Garden that ended with an upset knockout and chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!”. And it's every bit as hard now to believe that Hopkins was thought, at age 36, to already be an “old” fighter. Now the light heavyweight champion of the world at age 46, Hopkins is still making history, just as he did in handing the great “Tito” Trinidad his first loss that night.

 

The Trinidad fight was originally scheduled for September 15, 2001, so Hopkins was already in New York on that fateful day that changed our world.

 

“Ten years ago on September 11,” Hopkins remembers, “I was running early that morning in Central Park. The next thing I know people were hollering that a plane had crashed into the tower. Everything changed after that.”

 

Hopkins' grief on a human level was mixed with uncertainty on a professional level. He was unsure whether the fight would happen and, if so, when? He headed home to Philadelphia to feel safer and be closer to his family. He also set-up camp in downtown Philly and kept training, staying in is fight mindset despite the emotions swirling around him.

 

“Once I heard the fight would take place on September 29, I stayed in Philadelphia as long as I could,” Hopkins recalls. “Riding back and getting closer to New York, I felt different. There was still an unsettled and eerie feeling that we were going to fight. I just had to block that out of my mind and stay focused on being ready for one of the biggest opportunities of my career.

 

Hopkins continued, “The Trinidad fight was important for many reasons. It was for the unification of the middleweight championship. But it became much bigger after 9/11. By having the fight two weeks later on the 29th, I think we were sending a message, through the fight, that America would not be bullied around and we have a resolve that is unmatched by any other country in the world. I remember the politicians and leaders saying that we should show our strength and keep living our lives. I think the fight helped people start that process.

 

“I remember being in the arena that night and seeing the service people of New York, the policemen and firemen, who we dedicated the fight to. I felt that responsibility of

representing our country, fighting as hard as I could, and most importantly, capturing the undisputed middleweight championship of the world. The fact that this fight is now part of my story makes me feel proud of what I have accomplished. I believe my story is a true American story. I will never forget that experience as long as I live.”

 

That victory made Hopkins the undisputed middleweight champion and he went on to break the records for longest reign and most successful defenses at 160 pounds. A decade later, Hopkins is in the midst of his second reign as 175-pound king, preparing for a demanding defense against top contender “Bad” Chad Dawson on October 15 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®.

 

The world has changed in countless ways since the events of September 11, 2001. But one thing that hasn't changed, amazingly, is the “world champion” status of the living legend Bernard Hopkins.

 

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What’s Next for David Benavidez?

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What's-Next-for-David-Benavidez?

What’s Next for David Benavidez?

POST-FIGHT REPORT BY TSS SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT NORM FRAUENHEIM —

GLENDALE, AZ – Forget Canelo Alvarez.

That, at least, was the message from David Benavidez and his promoter late Saturday after he demolished David Lemieux in front of a roaring crowd at Gila River Arena in a Showtime-televised rout.

Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) has been talking about a super-middleweight showdown with Canelo for the last couple of years. His victory, a third-round stoppage of Lemieux, put him first in line for a shot at the World Boxing Council’s version of the 168-pound title, still held by Canelo

But that talk stopped. Canelo who?

It sounded as if Benavidez, the WBC’s interim champion, was ready to shut that door and move on, possibly to Caleb Plant or Jermall Charlo or David Morrell. He never mentioned Canelo during a post-fight news conference a couple of hours after bulldozing Lemieux, a former middleweight champion who was overmatched in every way.

“Plant, Charlo, Morrell, maybe we can put together a fight against one of those guys later in the year,’’ said Benavidez, who drew an estimated crowd of nearly 10,000 for the second straight time in an Arizona arena near his old neighborhood in Phoenix.

The question is whether Plant, or Charlo, or Morrell would be willing to face Benavidez. Lemieux was smaller and older. Still, it was scary to witness the beatdown delivered by Benavidez, who grew up about seven miles from Gila River, a National Hockey League Arena.

Benavidez, 25 and still a couple years from his prime, seemingly did it all. He started with body punches. At the end of the first round, he landed a lethal upper-cut, the first in what would prove to be an overwhelming storm. In the second, he knocked Lemieux through the ropes, leaving the Canadian bloodied, dazed and defenseless. At 1:31 of the third it was over. Lemieux (43-5. 36 KOs) did not attend the post-fight news conference. He was taken to a nearby hospital in Glendale.

“He’s a good fighter, a courageous fighter,’’ Benavidez said. “He did what those others wouldn’t do. He fought me.’’

Unlike Benavidez, his promoter, Sampson Lewkowicz mentioned Canelo, who is coming off a stunning loss to light-heavyweight Dimitry Bivol.

“Please, you guys need to quit asking about Canelo,’’ Lewkowicz told a room full of reporters. “We’re looking at three guys. We think we can put together a fight with Charlo, or Plant, or Morrell. But Canelo won’t fight David.

“He’ll never fight the world’s best super-middleweight.’’

Photo credit: Esther Lin / SHOWTIME

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The Middleweight Division has a New Star in Janibek Alimkhanuly

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Step aside, GGG. Kazakhstan has a new fistic hero and his name is Janibek Alimkhanuly. Tonight, at Resorts World in Las Vegas, Janibek (he usually goes by his first name) destroyed Britain’s intrepid Danny Dignum inside two rounds, scoring two knockdowns, the second of which, a five-punch combination climaxed by a short uppercut, left Dignum unconscious. Referee Tony Weeks waived the fight off immediately. The official time was 2:11 of round two.

With the victory, Janibek (12-0, 8 KOs) becomes the interim WBO middleweight champion. The belt is currently held by Demetrius Andrade who is expected to move to 168, opening the door for the 29-year-old Kazakh southpaw to become “full-fledged.”

Although he held the WBO European middleweight title and was undefeated (14-0-1) coming in, Dignum wasn’t expected to provide much opposition. Janibek was stepping down in class after stopping former title-holders Rob Brant and Hassan D’Dam D’Jikam in his previous two fights.

Janibek’s trainer Buddy McGirt doesn’t believe that there is a middleweight on the planet who can hold his own with Janibek (no, not even undefeated Jermall Charlo!) and based on tonight’s performance, it would be hard to argue.

Co-Feature

In the co-feature, youth was served as Jamaine Ortiz, the younger man by 10 years, won a unanimous 10-round decision over former WBO super featherweight champion Jamel Herring. The judges had it 96-94 and 97-93 twice.

Ortiz, from Worcester, Massachusetts, did his best work late in the fight as Herring’s workload declined. The bout was marred by several accidental clashes of heads with Herring getting the worst of it on each occasion.

“I could have done a lot better,” said Ortiz (16-0-1, 8 KOs) after winning the most high-profile fight of his career. Herring, who was making his first start with trainer Manny Robles, fell to 23-4 and hinted that he may retire.

Other Bouts of Note

The opener on ESPN’s main platform showcased Cleveland welterweight Delante “Tiger” Johnson, a 2020 Olympian, who advanced to 4-0 (3) with a third-round stoppage of Argentina’s Agustin Kucharski (8-5-1).

Johnson had Kucharski on the canvas twice in the first minute of the third round, both the result of counter right hands. Kucharski, who was making his U.S. debut and hadn’t previously been stopped, twisted around as he fell the second time and the white towel flew out from his corner. The official time was 0:54.

Glendale, CA featherweight Adam Lopez (16-3, 6 KOs) overcame a pair of knockdowns to win a unanimous 8-round decision over William Encarnacion. The judges had it 76-74 and 77-74 twice.

Lopez, 26, is one of two fighting sons of the late Hector “Torero” Lopez, a former two-time world title challenger who developed a big following in LA in the 1990s. Encarnacion who represented the Dominican Republic in the 2012 Olympics, lost for the third time in 22 starts.

Former WBO super bantamweight champion Jessie Magdaleno returned to the ring after an absence of almost two full years and whitewashed Mexico’s Edy Valencia in an 8-round featherweight contest, winning by 80-72 across the board. Las Vegas’ Magdaleno improved to 29-1 (4-0 since losing his belt to Isaac Dogboe). Valencia declined to 19-7-6.

Cincinnati featherweight Duke Ragan, a silver medalist in Tokyo improved to 6-0 with his fifth straight win by decision, a four-round whitewash of South Carolina’s Victorino Gonzalez (5-3).

In the ESPN+ opener, undefeated Chicago lightweight Giovanni Cabrera (20-0, KOs) won a unanimous 8-round decision over 34-year-old Argentine import Elias Araujo (21-5). The judges saw it 79-72, 77-74, and 75-73. There were no knockdowns, but Araujo lost a point for holding.

Cabrera lacks a hard punch which diminishes his upside, but he’s a stylish southpaw who has elevated his game since hooking up with Freddie Roach.

Photo Credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images

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Jean Pascal Lives to Fight Another Day; Upsets Fanlong Meng

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Jean Pascal is a tough old bird as he proved again tonight by turning away previously undefeated Fanlong Meng in a 12-round light heavyweight contest at the White Sands Events Center in the Tampa Bay community of Plant City, Florida.

Things looked bleak for Pascal early on. In round two, he was rocked by a hard left that had him looking like a man who is out on feet. But the wily Pascal, fighting in spurts to conserve his energy, came on strong at the end and won the battle in the eyes of all three judges: 114-113, 115-112, and a way too wide 116-111.

Fanlong Meng, five years younger than Pascal at age thirty-four, came in undefeated (17-0, 10 KOs) and ranked #1 by the IBF. A former Olympian, Meng had bouts fall out with Artur Beterbiev and Sergey Kovalev during the Covid era – cancellations that were not his fault – and was the sentimental and actual favorite over Pascal, the French Canadian via Haiti, who sat out all of 2021 after testing positive for FOUR banned substances preceding his scheduled rematch with Badou Jack.

During a career that began in 2005, Jean Pascal (36-6-1, 20 KOs) has answered the bell for 333 rounds. His best moment tonight came late in round nine when he scored the bout’s lone knockdown. His triumph (somewhat controversial) was his third straight in an underdog role following an upset of previously undefeated Marcus Browne (TD 8) and then Badou Jack (SD 12).

Last Chances

The “Last Chance” junior welterweight tournament, an 8-man competition consisting of four 8-round bouts, preceded the main event.

Thirty-six-year-old Zhimin Wang of Wuhan, China, returned to the professional ranks after a nearly four-year absence and came out on the short end of a unanimous decision vs. Joseph Fernandez of nearby Saint Petersburg, Florida. The scorecards read 77-75 and 78-74 twice.

The fight started slow but evolved into an entertaining skirmish. Fernandez advanced to 15-4-3. Wang declined to 11-4.

San Antonio’s Kendo Castaneda revived his career with a smashing first-round TKO over Toledo’s Sonny Frederickson. Late in the second minute of the contest, Castanada (18-5, 9 KOs) nailed Frederickson with a left hook. Frederickson went down hard and the fight was waived off  as he was struggling to his feet. The official time was 2:02.

A FedEx warehouse worker, Castaneda (19-5, 9 KOs) halted a five-fight losing streak. It was the fifth straight loss for Frederickson (21-6).

Castaneda moves on to the semifinal to oppose Joseph Fernandez.

Midland, Texas native Michael Dutchover advanced to 16-2 with a well-earned split decision over Adam Booth (21-5). The 34-year-old Booth, a stablemate of Joseph Fernandez, had won six straight coming in but against shabby opposition.

In the “Last Chance” opener, Mexico City’s Antonio Moran improved to 27-5-1 with a unanimous decision over Philadelphia’s Jeffrey Torres (10-2). The scorecards read 79-73, which was excessive, and 77-75 twice.

Moran meets Dutchover in the next round.

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