Monday, 28 October 2013 04:00

Floyd Mayweather vs Bernard Hopkins? Maybe, but not at 160 lbs

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IBF Light heavyweight title holder Bernard Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KOs ) has issued a challenge to pound-for-pound legend Floyd Mayweather.
And the 48 year old fight legend insists he'll drop all the way down to 160 lbs to make Mayweather vs Hopkins happen.

Perhaps Hopkins is trying to ride Floyd's coattails in an effort to get more attention for his October defense against the unheralded Karo Murat because Mayweather vs Hopkins at middleweight isn't happening.

If Hopkins is serious, perhaps it's the money he covets?

Given Saul Alvarez received $12 Million for fighting Floyd, perhaps Hopkins, a more accomplished legend, believes he'd earn that much or more?

Here's the reality: At 160 lbs, B-HOP's near-49 year old body would be gaunt and sickly. As a matter of fact, he lived in that division several years after having outgrown it. Had it not been for his presumed desire to break the middleweight record for title defenses, Hopkins would have probably moved to super middleweight or even lightweight by 2002 or 2003.

He was only a youthful 38 back then.



The late, great trainer Emanuel Steward would often comment on how Hopkins' face looked drawn and skeleteton-like at weigh-ins towards the end of his middleweight reign (roughly 2003-2005).

Hopkins dropping down to 160 lbs would be tantamount to Manny Pacquiao (a 147 lb welterweight) attempting to fight at lightweight (135 lbs) or super featherweight (130 lbs) again. Keep in mind, Manny is 14 years younger yet it would still be quite a stretch.

Bernard Hopkins, at 160 lbs, would no longer be strong enough to compete with a top 10 middleweight, not to mention a fighter like Floyd Mayweather.

The more intriguing fight would be Hopkins at 175 lbs vs "Money May" at 150-154 lbs.

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For all you boxers: How often have we seen a welterweight box rings around much bigger foes in sparring?  

Having an advantage in punching power does a fighter no good if he can't find the target. 

Anyone who has boxed before understands Mayweather's speed and ring guile would be a credible threat to any light heavyweight - Especially one who isn't:

a) an explosive knockout artist (a la Michael Moorer and Bob Foster) or

b) a supremely skilled, very quick technician (a la Virgil Hill and Roy Jones Jr)

Fact: Floyd Mayweather at 150 lbs defeats a bunch of light heavyweights in the top 20 today.

Is B-HOP one of them?

You can't hit what you can't see.

If a young, very sharp, extremely explosive jr middleweight like Canelo Alvarez couldn't find the target against Mayweather, what'll happen against a bigger, slower light heavyweight who only boasts a 1 or 2 inch reach advantage?

Would the legendary B-HOP be reduced to a plodder?

While Floyd Mayweather vs Sergei Kovalev or Adonis Stevenson would be a bad style match-up for 'Money,' given their size, power and lack of name recognition, Hopkins vs Mayweather may be palatable because Hopkins boasts mainstream popularity and is neither explosive nor powerful, or particularly fast at 175 lbs.

He is extremely crafty though and his timing and ring instincts are awesome.

There's an old adage in boxing:  A good "big man" beats a good "little man."

But Floyd Mayweather is an "exceptional" little man.

Floyd Mayweather... Welterweight, Jr Middleweight and Light Heavyweight Champion?

Would fans pay to see Mayweather, at his prime weight (probably 147-150 lbs), challenge Bernard Hopkins for B-HOP's IBF light heavyweight crown, and attempt to make history?

Legend vs legend.
Lee Cleveland

Lee is Managing Editor of, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.