Boxing: Eastman bullish as Hopkins throws all four titles on line - More Sports - Sport - The Independent

Boxing: Eastman bullish as Hopkins throws all four titles on line

Howard Eastman will leave Los Angeles tomorrow morning with nearly $1m [£530,000] as recompense for tonight's fight against Bernard Hopkins.

The 34-year-old Eastman has come a very long way since his days as a vagrant on the streets of south London and the frustrating years as the best but untested middleweight in Britain. It is not quite a fairytale because that requires a happy ending - and that is, sadly, unlikely against Hopkins.

The pair will meet at the Staples Center to fight for the undisputed middleweight title, despite the American originally deciding that for cash reasons he would only risk the World Boxing Council belt. At the last minute, the International Boxing Federation, the World Boxing Association and the World Boxing Organisation all agreed to add their sanction to that of the WBC.

According to Eastman, whose eccentric life has narrowly failed to make him a character, the belts and the title and the money are not what matters. He insists it is all about proving that he is the best middleweight in the world, which is a strange and rather alarming attitude for an honest boxer to take.

Hopkins, on the other hand, is one of the sport's most mercenary figures, having devoted himself to making as much money and surrendering as little of himself as possible during a career that has been bizarrely neglected by most of the sport's media.

Hopkins is now 40 - this will be his 20th defence in the 10th year of his reign but the truth is that so many of his defences have just come and gone without raising either his profile or having much of an impact on his bank account. Some call him awkward, some use stronger language but Hopkins likes to insist that he is just independent.

During his 10 years as champion Hopkins has never refused a fight and on two occasions he made the type of decision that few boxers in the modern and often pathetic business of boxing make. When he met Felix Trinidad in 2001 and Oscar De La Hoya last year he took a small percentage of the purse because he knew that he would win and acquire a degree of respectability by claiming the better known and better paid scalps of his two opponents.

"I'm in the Bernard Hopkins business and that is what has upset so many promoters for so long,'' said Hopkins. Tonight's fight is promoted by his old opponent and current business partner De La Hoya.

Eastman enters the ring having lost only once in 41 fights and with a reputation for meticulous planning but unfortunately an equally justified reputation for falling asleep on the job. In November 2001 he came within a whisker of beating the American William Joppy for the vacant World Boxing Association title in Las Vegas but he had a slow start and when he did increase the pace it was simply not enough.

He has admitted that he made mistakes that night and has promised to put right the wrongs of that fight once he steps in the ring against Hopkins. He has also, perhaps foolishly, claimed that he will knock out Hopkins in five rounds which is both bold and a bit stupid.

"I get my information from God and I'm just telling you what God told me," he said. "Number five is in my head and so that number five is the round in which I am going to take him out."

Hopkins, though, is the best fighter in the world at the moment, even at such a ripe old age, and tonight he will be given a test. However, Eastman needs to be pushed and Hopkins is adept at doing just enough and winning potentially exciting fights by boxing to a plan and sticking with the schedule.

Eastman will get on that plane tomorrow morning with the cash - but the mood of the moment is that it is very unlikely that he will be carrying four shining belts in his baggage.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news

Watch this commuter make a mad 320-metre, 75-step dash to work
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK edition of wedding show forced to recast after wave of drop-outs
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Top conservatoire offers ‘groundbreaking’ arts degree

Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Teaching Assistants

£50 - £85 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Rapidly developing and growing ...

Supply Teachers needed in Stowmarket

£1034496 - £1516224 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: The Job:Randstad ...

Primary Teacher EYFS, KS1 and KS2

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are urgentl...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week