Bernard Hopkins on the other hand is a “throwback’. This is in stark contrast to Floyd and Hopkins happens to be a rarity in boxing today. He hasn't lost a bout in 11 years and while it is true that he did lose to RJJ 8 rounds to 4, he was nowhere near the fighter that he has become today. And of course Roy has gone in the other direction as of lateâ€¦
Since that loss, “Hard Nard’ has become the most deliberate and diligent student of the fight game in recent time. That loss to Jones left him barely damaged and as a result served to open his eyes to what a great fighter needs to do in order to be historically successful.
In the 11 years to follow he has turned his slightly limited athleticism and strong will into one of the most deft and successful middleweights of all time. When it is all said and done and if Nard has his way, he may eventually be remembered as THE greatest middleweight of all time (although not likely). Only time will tell what his legacy will be.
The most amazing aspect of Hopkins is his incredible stamina. Most middleweights weigh above or around the light heavyweight limit when not in training. They continue to cycle their training schedule and body weight in what can be a deteriorating process for an aging pugilist. Hopkins on the other hand began his career at 177 pounds and lost that fight because of his lack of conditioning. That has also helped transform him; employing an unending and manic pursuit to be the greatest conditioned athlete in boxing.
He routinely steps into the ring under the 160 pound limit. After 10 rounds against William “*Sloth*’ Joppy, Hard Nard threw punches ceaselessly for the last two rounds. Is that impressive at 39? Sure it is but when you consider he was not even out of breath, it actually is nothing short of amazing.
17 straight title defenses over 8+ years versus many potential 'next big things' is proof enough for his legitimate claim as the best fighter in the world today (pound for pound). Felix Trinidad, William Joppy, Antwon Echols, Fernando Vargas, Lonnie Bradley, David Reid, and Andrew Council were all touted by countless pundits, fans, and critics as the heir apparent to Hopkins’ throne. All were dispatched rather rudely some before getting their chance, and others by the freight train known as Bernard Hopkins.
Next on his list? Robert Allen: assuming he doesn’t pull out of the fight due to a case of Cortez-it. If all things fall in place for Bernard DLH will be number 19; leaving only one more would be opponent in Nard’s quest to reach his goal of 20 defenses before retiring. It seems like common sense to say Hopkins has done more to deserve this mythical mantle-piece called “Pound for Pound king’, but that’s just one man’s opinion.
So without further ado, here is something we all can argue about.
** My Current Top Ten List **
1. Bernard Hopkins - 11 years of domination.
2. Floyd Mayweather - Looks like the heir apparent
3. Eric Morales - Just keeps winning
4. RJJ - still this high because he has only lost one legitimate fight in his career. Another loss would against someone other than Tarver would get him kicked off this list.
5. Oscar DeLahoya - never been beaten decisively in the ring by anyone. Has done more overall than many fighters on this list.
6. Ronald Wright - the best 154 pound fighter out there. Beat Mosley decisively and has transformed himself into quite a complete package.
7A. Manny Pacquiao - Still recognized by The Ring as the 126 pound champion. Still hasn’t accomplished what Morales has yet
7B. Juan Manuel Marquez - Besides Hopkins may be the best technical boxer on the list.
9. Antonio Tarver - a close loss coupled with a KO win versus this era’s greatest fighter lands him here for now. Needs more big W’s to break the top 5 in my opinion. I know he beat Roy, but his accomplishments pale in comparison.
10. Spinks - wins over Mayorga and Judah and a couple of bum decisions are the only thing from keeping him from being unbeaten
** Tszu and Toney left off because of injury and inactivity. **
* “Goonies” movie reference. I’m not busting on him. Merely his grotesquely swollen head after the fight with Hopkins. *