BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The new trainer of IBF 175-pound titleholder Tavoris Cloud, says former RING light heavyweight and middleweight champ Bernard Hopkins will end up taking a similar beating as Sugar Ray Leonard did when he fought WBC junior middleweight beltholder Terry Norris in February of 1991.
Trainer Abel Sanchez will guide Cloud (24-0, 19 knockouts) into Saturday night’s HBO-televised defense against Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KOs) at Barclays Center.
By defeating Cloud, 31, Hopkins can eclipse his own record as the oldest man to win a significant crown, a feat the Philadelphia native accomplished at the age of 46 with a unanimous decision over Jean Pascal for THE RING’s and the WBC’s light heavyweight belts in May of 2011.
Hopkins was later dethroned as THE RING/WBC light heavyweight beltholder by Chad Dawson in April of last year.
But Sanchez said Hopkins is headed for a frightful beating that will conjure memories of the one endured by Leonard at nearby Madison Square Garden, when Leonard was dropped once each in the second and seventh rounds by Norris in what was the second-to-last bout of his 40-fight career.
“I was here in a similar situation in New York a little more than 22 years ago. That’s when I brought a young man named Terry Norris here to New York, and he fought another legend at New York’s Madison Square Garden. If you all remember, we retired that legend,” said Sanchez, referring to Leonard.
“So we’re about to retire another legend on Saturday night. When I brought Terry Norris here, nobody gave him a chance. The craftiness and the ring experience of the legend that we fought was supposed to be too much for Terry Norris, and you all remember what happened. I expect the same results on Saturday night, and a new star will be born, which is Tavoris Cloud.”
Sanchez’s well-known pupil is Kazakhstan-born WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin (25-0, 22 KOS), who scored last month’s 13th consecutive knockout win in the seventh round over Philadelphia-based Hopkins mentoree Gabriel Rosado.
CLOUD IS ON WEIGHT
While Hopkins will have been out of the ring for 11 months since facing Dawson, Cloud will have been out of action for more than a year since winning by disputed split-decision over southpaw Gabriel Campillo on Feb. 18 of 2012.
Cloud spent his two months training under Sanchez in the mountains of and in the high altitude of Big Bear Lake, Calif., and weighed 176 pounds on Thursday in advance of Friday’s weigh-in to be held at Barclays Center.
“Tavoris is right at 176 today, so we’re just resting,” said Sanchez. “We’re waiting for tomorrow.”
THE PURSES, THE OFFICIALS
The officials for the Hopkins-Cloud fight are referee Earl Brown and judges John Potoraj, Tom Schreck and John Steward.
Hopkins will earn a $750,000 purse compared to Cloud’s of $550,000, according to official records obtained by RingTV.com.
PROMOTER DON KING SAYS RICHARD SCHAEFER WILL BY ‘CRYING’ ON SATURDAY
“You want to be able to say that I was there when Richard Schaefer started crying, and I couldn’t believe that a man like Richard Schaefer would start to cry, because he’s a terrific guy. But he’s very emotional,” said King, during the fight’s final press conference at Barclays Center on Wednesday.
“So that emotion is going to overtake him on Saturday night, and he’s going to cry. I can hardly wait. I want all of the cameras to remain on Richard Schaefer. All of these cameras will be on him. I want to see his eyes get teary as he stands up and he has to come and hug Bernard.”
KEITH THURMAN ON JAN ZAVECK: ‘HE’S NEVER BEEN DOWN, I PUT PEOPLE TO SLEEP’
“What’s up Brooklyn? This is the first time I’ve ever been here. I’m from Florida. Everybody knows that New York is just one of the greatest cities in the United States and in the world,” said Thurman at Wednesday’s press conference.
“It’s a real pleasure just to be here with B-Hop [Hopkins], who is a true legend. I look up to him as a fighter. I’m honored to be in his co-main event, and to be giving you all a great performance.”
Thurman is coming off a fourth-round stoppage of former WBO 147-pound beltlholder Carlos Quintana that took place on Nov. 24 — the day after Thurman’s 24th birthday.
The rugged Zaveck, who turns 37 in March, was last in the the ring in March of last year when he unanimously decisioned Bethuel Ushona.
Prior to Ushona, Zaveck was dethroned as IBF beltholder by Andre Berto, who stopped him in five rounds in September of 2011.
“I’m ready to put on a great performance on Saturday against a tough, tough, tough guy. I’ve witnessed his fights. He’s never been down, and I love putting people to sleep,” said Thurman, who is trained by Dan Birmingham.
“So to know that he’s never been knocked out or down, it’s just, once again, another challenge for me. I’ve trained hard for this fight, and I truly look forward to this fight…You come in, you come early, you watch it…One time. Don’t blink.”
Thurman will make $150,000 compare to $25,000 for Zaveck.
JIM LAMPLEY’S ‘FIGHT GAME’ TO FOLLOW HOPKINS-CLOUD
Another edition of HBO The Fight Game, hosted by four-time Sport Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Jim Lampley, will air on Saturday from Barclays Center starting immediately after the broadcast of Hopkins-Cloud.
EMANUEL TAYLOR MEETS VICTOR CAYO ON FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS
In an event being promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz’s Sampson Boxing on ESPN2 on Friday in association with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, lightweight contender Victor “Mermelada” Cayo (31-3, 22 KOs), of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic will face Emanuel “Tranzformer” Taylor (16-1, 11 KOs), of Edgewood, Md, in a 142.5-pound bout.
In the co-featured heavyweight bout, Russian Magomed “Mago” Abdusalamov (16-0, 16 KOs) will take on former Puerto Rican Olympian Victor Bisbal (21-1, 15 KOs).
The fights will take place at Resorts Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City.
“It is my first time on this property and I love it. It is one of the best in Atlantic City for boxing. Thank you to all the staff here at Resorts and to Doug Loughrey and ESPN. Victor Cayo is an idol in his country and he’s taking a big chance fighting Taylor, but the winner of this fight goes onto an eliminator to fight for the IBF No. 1 position,” said Lewkowicz.
“In the co-main, we have a very special fight. Mago is one of the best heavyweights in the world because he brings punches from all angles and nobody can see them coming. It shows what he is made of by taking on a Puerto Rican Olympian, who is beloved by his people. The winner of this fight will enter a WBC tournament of regional champions where the winner will win half a million dollars.”
Taylor has won two straight since falling by split-decision to Prenice Brewer in November of 2001, and Cayo, four consecutively, three of them by knockout.
Taylor, 22, has sparred with Peterson, who is now the IBF 140-pound titleholder, and learned from both his loss to Brewer and video of Cayo’s fights.
“In the Prenice Brewer fight, I thought that did enough to win that fight. I felt like I got ripped off by the Washington, D.C. judges,” said Taylor. “I felt like I let my hands go, but what I learned was to use the jab more to get inside, and to work the body more. I won’t leave it in the judges’ hands anymore,” said Taylor.
“I watched Lamont’s fight on television. He’s kind of awkward,” said Taylor. “But Lamont said that I should be able to get him,” said Taylor. “He told me that Cayo is kind of awkward and that he throws a lot of wild punches from different angles, so I’ll look out for those.”
Taylor is promoted by Star Boxing and managed by David Price and Doc Nowicki.
On the undercard will be the Virgin Islands-based son of former middleweight titleholder Julian “The Hawk” Jackson.
Junior middleweight John “Dah Rock” Jackson (14-1, 13 KOs), who is 24, faces Sinaloa, México’s Francisco Alexis Pena (7-1, 5 KOs), and 154.5-pounders Samuel “Rock City Cobra” Rogers (12-0, 7 KOs) and Virginia Beach’s Ivan Ziglar (7-2-1, 4 KOs) will meet.
Also scheduled to appear in separate bouts are local favorites such as Brooklyn junior welterweight Scott “Bang Bang” Burrell (6-1, 5 KOs) facing Vineland, New Jersey’s Edgardo Torres 2-1 (2 KOs) and Millville, New Jersey’s undefeated middleweight Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna (10-0, 6 KOs) will go against Joshua Snyder of Berlin, Maryland, (9-8-1, 3 KOs).
Below are the weights from Thursday’s weigh-in:
Scott Burrel 138 vs. Edgardo Torres 136
Thomas LaManna 157 vs. Joshua Snyder 160
Samuel Rogers 153 vs. Ivan Ziglar 154.5
John Jackson 154 vs. Francisco Alexis Pena 153
Magomed Abdusalamov 226 vs. Víctor Bisbal 245
Víctor Cayo 142.5 vs. Emmanuel Taylor 142
Photo by Rich Kane, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org