It wasn't pretty but Bernard Hopkins and Oscar De La Hoya accomplished what they had to in order to preserve their highly anticipated middleweight title bout on Sept. 18. Hopkins fought cautiously and easily outpointed a lethargic Robert Allen over 12 one-sided rounds. De La Hoya had much more trouble with the undefeated but largely unknown Sturm. De La Hoya was more active throughout (throwing 792 punches to 541 for Sturm) but Sturm was the more accurate puncher, outlanding the Golden Boy by a 234 to 188 margin and doing enough to win in the eyes of many ringside observers. Nevertheless, in what should not come as no shock to anyone who understands the politics of boxing, all three judges awarded De La Hoya a 115-113 decision. Oscar would be wise to be better prepared for Hopkins or he might get knocked out for the first time in his Hall of Fame career.