The Ghost of Youngstown Takes On Philly's ExecutionerS The sport of boxing is in the spotlight tonight with Kelly Pavlik, the emerging darling of the mainstream sports media and middleweight champion of the world, facing the legendary Bernard Hopkins in Atlantic City. No titles are on the line because the men are fighting at a catch weight of 170 pounds, but that does little to take away from what promises to be a huge night in the ring. As you may be aware, Pavlik is something of an inspiration to the downtrodden denizens of Youngstown, Ohio. Oh...and he's white! Yes, the fearless young middleweight with the fists of lead makes a great story, and anytime boxing gets positive coverage from the mainstream media it's a good thing. But for the love of God people, you need to stop comparing him to Rocky fucking Balboa. Pavlik is certainly a great young champion whose time has come, but his opponent tonight is also somewhat of a heroic figure, and he's actually a Philadelphian! Hopkins doesn't have the fighting style that endears him to the casual fan, yet the 43 year-old future hall of famer has been a hugely popular figure, especially in his hometown. Hopkins got into a life of crime from an early age, eventually landing in prison for five years as a young adult. However it was there that he discovered a passion for boxing, one that would carry him to heights he never could have imagined, inspiring young men all over the country during his rise. The Executioner has lost three of his last five fights, all by decision, but he hasn't been decisively defeated since his first major title fight against Roy Jones Jr. in 1993. He's still never been knocked out, in fact he's only been knocked down by one man in his career (Segundo Mercado in 1994 in a fight that would eventually end in a draw in Ecuador). Nobody doubts that Pavlik is the big favorite, so the real question is whether Hopkins can use his unparalleled defensive tactics to stay on his feet and keep things close against a dangerous young puncher.