On Saturday, May 13, at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana, Bernard Hopkins (37-2-1, 27 KOs with 1 No Contest) defended his IBF middleweight title for the eleventh time, earning a hard-fought, but surprisingly dirty unanimous 12-round decision against No. 3 IBF challenger, Syd Vanderpool (28-1, 16 KOs).
Swinging wildly and missing, Vanderpool was the aggressor during the opening round. In turn, Hopkins held an spun his challenger around in circles. Neither fighter wanted to exchange punches. Neither the Champion's nor Vanderpool's jabs landed. On the inside, both fighters continued to hold.
In the third, both Hopkins and Vanderpool did so much holding and wrestling that both landed on the mat. Referee Bill Page ruled the double drag-down a slip. Hopkins managed to land a low blow in the process.
It was not until the fourth round before Hopkins reversed his retreat and began to step to Vanderpool and punish him with straight-rights.
Hopkins sized control in the fifth but Vanderpool out-landed Hopkins in the sixth with solid body shots and sharp left-hooks. In the closing seconds of the round, Hopkins, again grappled Vanderpool into a tight clinch.
In the seventh, Hopkins tied Vanderpool against the ropes during the clinch and drilled the challenger with a hard low blow that planted his behind on the bottom rope. An irate Vanderpool returned to his feet to attack Hopkins with a vicious barrage of flurries. In retaliation for the low blow, Vanderpool threw himself on top of Hopkins.
In the eighth, Hopkins started to dominate with combinations. Although Vanderpool caught Hopkins with some hard lefts, they were not single shots and not part of combinations. Also, Vanderpool did too much holding, as Hopkins' strength and brutal tactics pressured Vanderpool backward in the ladder rounds.
Hopkins closed the show strong, nearly forcing a stoppage in the final round, but referee Bill Page accidentally misinterpreted the "10-second slap," before the actual bell wrung.
THe Champion's relentless, roughhouse, low-blow, drag-down, hip-punching tactics enabled him to accumulate enormous leads by scores of 118-110, 118-109, and 116-112.
Immediately following the bout, Hopkins threatened to move down to 154 pounds to of challenge the likes of Fernando Vargas, Felix Trinidad, and possibly Oscar De La Hoya. Of course a rematch with Jones is always possible.
Hopkins-Vanderpool, promoted by M & M Sports, in association with Square Ring, Inc., was the co-feature to Jones-Hall and was televised exclusively on HBO.
On May 22, 1993, Hopkins dropped a unanimous decision to Jones and has not lost since. Although Hopkins has defeated some of the top 160-pound challengers he has stalked Jones for over seven years. It culd finally happen.
Target Practice: Jones Whips Hall
In the main event, Roy Jones, Jr. (42-1, 34KOs) dispatched another under-matched, underqualified and worthless opponent in WBA No. 1 contender, Richard Hall (24-2, 23KOs) via a TKO in eleven rounds.
Once again, Jones found himself in a mismatch. It was an embarrassment and quite hideous to watch. Each time Jones landed a punch, it snapped Hall's head backwards and kept him off balance.
Having floored Hall twice in the opening round on a single left hook and a straight right respectively, Jones pummeled Hall every three minutes throughout the remainder of the contest.
Jones-Hall came to an end at 1:41 seconds of the 11th, when Jones unleashed a ferocious flurry that forced referee Wayne Kelley to call a halt to the bout.
The smaller 5' 11," Jones proved that height is certainly not everything, as the champion used dazzling speed to zip is punches straight into Hall's chest, ribs, and facial tissues the entire night.
Watching Jones-Hall was reminiscent of watching Lewis ko2 Grant. The difference here was that Hall's legs were strong enough withstand the punishment.
There isn't any competition for Jones. Maybe he should start fighting bigger and stronger guys, say Heavyweights?