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Hopkins Decisions Echols In Tenth Title Defense
Francis Walker

December 12, 1999

Making the tenth successful defense of the IBF middleweight championship, Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins (36-2-1-1, 27KOs), on the evening of Sunday, December 12, at the Miccosukee Resort in Miami, Florida, pounded a 12-round, unanimous victory over Antwun Echols (22-3-1, 22KOs). For Hopkins, it was a performance worth bragging about, as the champion proved once again that he is worth more than meets the eye.

Hopkins-Echols, promoted by America Presents, was televised on Fox Sports Net.

Hopkins, one of boxing's longest reigning champions, is one of the best fighters in the world "Pound-For-Pound." He has had a tough career, due to promotional problems and low-purses. As proven in his rematch with Robert Allen in February, Hopkins showed the world (including Echols), why the media recognizes Hopkins as not only the best, but his value in among boxing's marketable stars.

Hopkins, for years, complaining about the money he makes for each contest, increased his stock and value amongst the boxing public with performances of skills, heart, attitude, and the ability to provide fans with a memorable fight.

In the opening round, Echols landed a wonderful right-hand shot that caught Hopkins on the button of the chin during the referee's break. After a warning and a brief time-out, Echols added even more pressure. Backing "The Executioner" against the ropes and punishing him with right-hands up-top during the clinch.

In the second round, Hopkins, less willing to exchange powered shots with Echols, fought behind his left-jabs while Echols stalked the champion around the ring. However, Hopkins landed a right-hand that earned Echol's attention.

In the third, Hopkins and Echols went "toe-to-toe" on the inside. Echols, whose punches had more snap in his punches, beat Hopkins to the punch on most occasions. However, Hopkins' tremendous ability of fighting backwards behind jabs and single-right hands kept him in the fight.

During the end of the third, Hopkins and Echols engaged in a deadly exchange where both men were tempted to slug one another to a pulp.

In the fourth, Echols was the busier fighter, as Hopkins continued to back-peddle behind his left-jab; taking some heavy leather.

Early in the fifth, Hopkins landed two hard right-hand shots that caught Echols' attention. Echols, who threw a lot of punches, started to slowdown a bit. This provided Hopkins with an opportunity to load-up and launch some right-hand bombs that stopped Echols in his tracks.

What made Hopkins-Echols such a great fight was the fact Hopkins took two-three hard punches and countered with bombs of his own. Yet, still, Hopkins was the one fighting backwards and eating leather. As the fight continued though, it was expected that Hopkins' superior conditioning and better boxing skills would lead him to victory.

Hopkins started to lead with his left-hook, following-up with left-hooks to Echols' body to start the seventh. Echols, slowing down considerably, continued to stalk Hopkins behind his two-fisted power. Hopkins, the more smarter fighter, slipped more punches and countered effectively from against the ropes.

In the eighth, Hopkins doubled-up behind his left-jabs and followed with right-crosses to Echols' head. Echols, looking for that classic "one-two," struggled, as Hopkins coasted to an easy round victory by dominating the pace of the fight.

Hopkins fought well behind his left-jabs when he came forward and rocked Echols with a hard right cross to his temple. Hopkins, such a disciplined fighter, continued to box behind his power. Echols, again, did not have an answer for Hopkins.

Echols, who has won each of his professional contests by knockout had never recorded a stoppage past the eighth round. Hopkins punished Echols in the ladder rounds with sharp combinations that forced the challenger to hold from the inside. In addition, Hopkins' body-punches and overall boxing skills left no doubt in anyone's mind that he was the superior fighter.

Echols was reduced from a well-oiled, machine-gun to a mini-pistol, whose bullets had ran out.

Hopkins, like many other memorable champions, closed the show with a thrilling display of heart and determination, as he drilled past Echols' power and fended him off with enough talent to win what looked to be a unanimous decision.

Hopkins single-handedly blew Echols out on each of the three judges scorecards: 118-110, and 119-109.

Hopefully, Hopkins would be credited and provided with an opportunity from the leading boxing promoters on HBO, SHOWTIME, or maybe even SKY to earn the money that has eluded him his entire career.

Hopkins only earned $100,000 for his courageous effort against Echols.

Hopkins is willing to drop down a few pounds to 154 to challenge Fernando Vargas, the IBF junior middleweight champ, who was lucky to retain his title against Winky Wright last weekend. There is also WBA 154-pound champ, David Reid, Keith Mullings, Bronco McKart, among others Hopkins could make money against. He certainly does deserve the opportunity!


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