Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather and Wladimir Klitschko: How being 35+ can be a powerful advantageWritten by Leroy Cleveland
When HBO's Jim Lampley dissects the Tale of the Tape prior to a boxing match, he'll usually eqaute a fighter's youth to some sort of an advantage.
For example, in a bout between fighters who are 24 and 36, he would insist the younger man had "12 year age advantage."
Did Brandon Rios have an eight year advantage over Manny Pacquiao? Did Kubrat Pulev have a five year advantage over Wladimir Klitschko? And did Canelo Alvarez have a thirteen year advantage over Floyd Mayweather?
To most, if not nearly everyone, Rios, Pulev and Canelo appeared severely "disadvantaged."
Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and Wladimir Klitschko are, arguably, boxing's top three fighters pound-for-pound.
... But they share at least one more thing in common.
They are all north of 35 years old.
Prior to the 1970s, a fighter in his 30s was often viewed as boxer on the decline. And anyone older than 35 was labeled 'ancient.'
Even as late as 1990, critics labeled the January PPV superfight between George Foreman, 41, and his 33 year old opponent, Gerry Cooney, "The Geezers at Caesars."
Nowadays, there aren't many vocations where a 33 year old can be widely accepted a "geezer." Perhaps gymnastics is one of the few?
Is 40 the new 30?
Thanks to enhancements in training and nutrition as well as more few open minds, today's professional boxers are able to thrive at ages that were once unimaginable.
How often have we heard knowledgeable trainers say something like, "If I had one-third of the knowledge as a fighter that I now possess as trainer, I would have been a star."
Boxing is a sport of constant growth. It's a lot like life because there is always more to learn.
With their reflexes, strength and stamina well in-tact, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather and Wladimir Klitschko have the best of both worlds.
Not only are they among the most physically-capable in the sport, they also possess years of precious wisdom, in boxing and in life.
They have seen everything in the ring and experienced a great deal outside the ring. As a result, they are better equipped than 20 somethings to deal with challenges, inside and outside the ring.
How many times have you heard a woman in her mid or late thirties insist she is far more in tune with her body when having sex now versus her twenties?
It's not much different with fighters in the ring. Not only are they more experienced on the strategic and technical ends, they understand their bodies a lot better at advanced ages, and won't make the same mistakes a 25 year old would.
Are Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather and Wladimir Klitschko really at an age deficit when facing younger foes?
... Perhaps they are the world's top fighters because they are "age-advantaged?"
Top 15 pound for pound fighters 35 or older include:
- Floyd Mayweather: 37
- Manny Pacquiao: 36
- Wladimir Klitschko: 38
- Juan Manuel Marquez: 41
- Carl Froch: 37
- Adonis Stevenson: 37
Guillermo Rigondeaux and Miguel Cotto will turn 35 this fall