I’ve had one of those super busy weeks, and neglected the blog a bit. Last night I finally had a chance to watch the Hopkins-Pascal fight that I Tivoed on Monday (thanks for airing it Showtime). Sorry this took me until almost a week after the fight actually took place to write about it. It’s pretty impressive for any 46-year old to be in the ring, let alone a title fight. The Executioner was nothing short of brilliant in the fight, and became the oldest boxer ever to hold a title. He will also be the oldest boxer to have a title defense when he decides to fight again. He’s a genius in the ring as he gets into the head of his opponent as one of the best trash talkers/taunters the ring has ever seen.
Was this one of the greatest achievements of all time? I’d argue it is. We see ageless wonders like Jaime Moyer in baseball that somehow keep pitching, but boxing is a much different animal. Hell, you see the best professional athletes try to do boxing workouts and can’t even hang, so that’s got to say something about the sports ability to define athleticism. Fighting is and has always been the best way to tell how athletic any person is. You can’t fake anyone out or flop your way to a victory you have to stand toe to toe with the other man in the ring.
Why is this such a great feat when boxing seems to be in a constant state of flux and turmoil constantly losing popularity? I personally think that only the heavyweight ranks have lost their luster. The middleweights are scattered with a few quality boxers. I feel like if the NFL didn’t exist we’d have another good American heavyweight, but instead all those guys play football. Maybe if boxing had a commissioner like MMA does they’d be able to have better fight cards and be more organized.
Anyways, back to Hopkins. Pascal might not be the best fighter in the world, and many seem to discount Hopkins achievements simply because they say he’s boring to watch. Others discount him because he hasn’t beaten that many really good fighters throughout his career. Is that his fault that the middleweight division didn’t produce many quality opponents aside from Oscar and Trinidad? He beat everyone that challenged him for 20 straight title defenses. He moved up to the light heavy division, and won there too. Now he’s back on top of the middleweight division. He’s changed his fighting style since his younger days, and is now much more calculated than his early Executioner style. I still can’t get over how a 46-year-old can have more stamina and be more fit than someone 18 years younger. I’m actually more excited for Hopkins next fight than I am for Pacquiao’s next fight. 23 years of dominating the most physical sport you’ll ever come across is no small feat, so when Bernard has his next fight, you should be watching.