Monday, March 04, 2013

No Holds Barred: Bernard Hopkins, Tavoris Cloud, Don King, and Reflections on Real Steel

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman previews the fight between the unbeaten IBF champion Tavoris Cloud (24-0, 19 KOs) and the 48-year-old legend Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins (52-6, 32 KOs), and discusses its significance in the context of the lessons of the 2011 science fiction film "Real Steel".

The Cloud-Hopkins fight takes place Saturday, March 9, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, and will be televised live in the U.S. on HBO.

In "Real Steel", set in the year 2020, robot boxing has replaced human boxing and, apparently, MMA. This film was just repeated on Showtime in the U.S. on Saturday, March 2 -- right before the live Showtime boxing card headlined by the wild Abril-Bogere fight.

The film "Real Steel" is loosely based on the 1956 short story "Steel" by Richard Matheson, which was made into a 1963 episode of "The Twilight Zone" TV series starring Lee Marvin. In both the short story and the TV show, boxing had been banned; the movie is more ambiguous about the future legal status of the human fighting sports. In the U.S., the debut show of the Robot Combat League on the Syfy network last Tuesday, February 26, featuring 12 eight-foot robot boxers in a tournament format, drew over 1.35 million viewers, with a total of nine weekly episodes already filmed.

Even before all this buzz about robot fighting, boxing has long been a largely tragic sport. It is a slowly dying sport that is killing its own people, but which we still sometimes love. Therein lies the degree of sadness with which we approach it, especially when a 48-year-old fighter is involved.

We spoke with Bernard Hopkins, Tavoris Cloud, Cloud's new trainer Abel Sanchez, and Cloud's promoter, the one and only Don King, about this fight on a media conference call this past Wednesday.

"It's going to be a barnburner on March the 9th," promised Don King on this conference call. "Get ready. We coming. We coming to Brooklyn. And no one could be prouder. And if you cannot hear us, we'll say it a little louder."

We shall see whose barn burns down Saturday night.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link doesn't work, please try another.

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Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

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