As one of the greatest champions in the history of prizefighting, Bernard Hopkins has achieved so much that he has nothing to prove in the ring any more. But he clearly is still one of the best in the business and still has a hunger to compete against the best and earn those prizes.
George Foreman, Brett Favre, George Blanda, Gaylord Perry, Phil Neikro, Pete Rose, Michael Jordan, Greg Norman, Martina Navratilova and many other top athletes from other sports were allowed to continue to compete in their sports in their late 30s and 40’s and they achieved successes. If Bernard Hopkins wishes to do the same and is willing to take the risks, he should be allowed to do it. He absolutely deserves to be celebrated, promoted and televised for what he is – an amazing, incredible, inspriring grand master of the boxing ring.
At this point in his career, the 45-year old wonder man from Philadelphia has several potential options to choose from:
James Toney: If these two all timers with big personalities can agree on money and a catch-weight, this would be an extremely intriguing clash of living legends.
Evander Holyfield: Hopkins has expressed an interest to win a heavyweight title. Holyfield just won the WBF from Botha and a duel between these two 40-somethings would certainly be an attraction to hardcore fans. To see those two marvels in the ring as well-conditioned, technically experienced and athletic as they are, it would be fascinating competition.
Paul Williams: The Punisher has voiced his interest in the recent past, to fight Hopkins or any other big names. If Williams gets by Cintron in May, a Williams vs. Hopkins match would be interesting. Not sure if Hopkins would accept a challenge from Williams but if he did, HBO might likely buy it (Williams manager All Haymon never seems to have any problems getting his fighters HBO dates).
Lucien Bute: Hopkins says he’ll meet 168-pound champ Bute at 170. If Hopkins is willing to go to the Bell Centre in Montreal, this would surely be a sellout, and HBO and Showtime would be mistaken to not televise this. No word yet though from the Bute camp, if they have any interest in Hopkins.
David Haye: Nobody in boxing from the media, fans and industry insiders have anything positive to say about this highly unlikely match-up. Forget it.
Chad Dawson: For years and years Hopkins never got any favors or breaks from the powers that be, or established superstars. Hopkins was in his late 30s when he finally got the BIG fight with Oscar. Why should Hopkins do any favors now to help pump up the career of the talented but minimally popular Dawson and his backers – especially when the reward does not correlate with the risk. Forget about this fight. It’s very understandable why Hopkins isn’t exactly eager to help the talented Dawson right now. Whoever gave Hopkins a break?
Joe Calzaghe rematch: A huge longshot. But if Calzaghe wants to return to boxing to help reorganize his personal life by doing something positive and constructive with his time instead of those recently publicized lifestyle choices, a Hopkins rematch would be big business and a heckuva fight.
Danny Green: Very dangerous fight but if it’s staged in Australia, it could be worth millions for Hopkins bank account.
Tavoris Cloud: The new IBF Light Heavyweight champ from Florida is a flat-out beast and one of the best American talents on the scene, but he’s even less popular than Dawson.
Any name heavweight contender: During the later years of his career, Roberto Duran expressed an interest to have one fight at heavyweight. Unfortunately for Duran he had that bad car accident which prevented him from boxing against a heavyweight. Hopkins in a farewell fight against someone like Monte Barrett, Owen Beck, Vinny Maddalone, Frans Botha, Andrew Golota, Oleg Maskaev would be a curiosity that could be profitable.
Bottom Line: One thing is for sure and that’s the fact that Bernard Hopkins is not ready to leave the sport of boxing just yet…no matter how many members of “the mob” may want to drag him out once and for all. Bernard Hopkins marches to the beat of his own drum and he always will. He has certainly earned the right to exit the sport on his own terms. The boxing powers should appreciate the perogative of Bernard Hopkins and how much he still wants to box on.