WASHINGTON, D.C. — Bernard Hopkins has two draws on his 60-bout record, and each of them occurred in the home town of his rival.
Hopkins rose from knockdowns in the fifth and seventh rounds of his draw with Segundo Mercado in Quito, Ecuador in December of 1994, only to vanquish Mercado in the seventh round for the vacant IBF belt in April of 1995 in Laurel, MD.
In December of last year, Hopkins rose from two knockdowns during his draw with RING No. 1-rated light heavyweight Jean Pascal in the latter’s native Canada before returning to Canada to dethrone Pascal as WBC beltholder by unanimous decision in May.
“It’s like in football, like basketball, like hockey, I think that when you go into another man’s home town, I believe that that man gets an extra point before the fight starts. Not officially, but it just seems like more of a custom,” said Hopkins.
“You have to recognize that it is what it sounds like — his home town. You’re literally in this guy’s dining room taking his meal. Taking his fan base. Not necessarily just the judges.”
So it is with a unique perspective in which the 46-year-old Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 knockouts) examines the chances of RING No. 1-rated junior welterweight Amir Khan (26-1, 18 KOs) on Saturday night in the hometown of the RING’s No. 6-rated challenger Lamont Peterson (29-1-1, 15 KOs), against whom Khan will defend his IBF and WBA belts in an HBO-televised clash at the Washington Convention Center.
“Capitol Showdown: Khan vs. Peterson” has the 24-year-old Khan facing the 27-year-old Peterson in a bout that may well represent the titleholder’s toughest challenge to date.
And it takes place in Peterson’s home town.
Hopkins was on hand at Wednesday’s Washington, D.C., event at the John A. Wilson building, which houses D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown and their support staffs.
“At the end of the day, as a fighter going in, if I’m Amir Khan, I’m giving Lamont two points before the weigh-in on Friday. It’s a given being in D.C., and being in a guy’s hometown, that with the hometown crowd, Peterson’s going to step up another level than he normally does,” said Hopkins.
“That’s supposed to happen. Based on that, Amir is going to have to do twice as much, maybe three times as much as Peterson is going to have to do in his home town.”
Still, Hopkins gives the edge to Khan.
“I think that Peterson is going to be helped by the crowd. This is going to be a Peterson crowd. But I’m going with Khan,” said Hopkins.
“But when you look at Peterson, he’s a major threat. I don’t see this fight going 12 rounds. I see this fight going seven or eight rounds tops. Whatever Amir Khan has done up until now, which is nothing to sneeze at, he’s got to step it up a little bit more, because Peterson is no walkover.”
THE MARKETING OF SETH MITCHELL
Heavyweight prospect Seth Mitchell, (23-0-1, 17 KOs), of Brandywine, Md., will face Timur Ibragimov (30-3-1, 16 KOs), of Uzbekistan, in the most difficult bout of his career on the Khan-Peterson undercard.
A graduate of Gwynn Park High where he played football as a star linebacker, Mitchell was named Maryland’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior.
But life was not always easy for Mitchell, who grew up with little knowledge of a father who separated from his mother, Jeanette Mitchell, when he was 5.