Immediately after his split decision victory over Beibut Shumenov last April 20, Bernard Hopkins made known his future plans: He wants to be the undisputed light heavyweight champion and then he wants to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a super bout that he’s already dubbed as 50-50. Hopkins is a legend, and with those statements, you would never think that he is 49 years old.
Back in his younger days, Bernard Hopkins was nicknamed “The Executioner” because he not only executed his game plans during fight night, he executed champions and contenders one after the other. But before his October 2013 fight against Karo Murat, Hopkins told the world that the Executioner had retired at 48. In his place now is The Alien, the one which Hopkins said is” of this world but not from this world”
Hopkins is the oldest boxer in history to win a major championship. He set that record at age 46 back in 2011 and he set the bar higher when he beat Tavoris Cloud in 2013 for the IBF light heavyweight belt. In his next bout of 2013, he became the oldest person to defend a world title. Then last April 20, he added another feather by becoming the oldest boxing champion to unify a weight division.
Hopkins has every reason to call himself an alien, because he’s done what no one in this planet has ever done. And he’s done it at such and advanced age where many people would have gone fishing with their grand kids. But at age 49, Hopkins is looking ahead to 50-50.
The reason Hopkins calls it 50-50 is because Floyd Mayweather Jr is setting his sights at the 49-0 unbeaten record of the great Rocky Marciano. Mayweather is at 45-0 right now, and is looking for win number 46 on May 3 against Marcos Maidana. For Mayweather to surpass Marciano in the books, he’s got to tally 50 wins. Hopkins is 49 and will turn 50 years old in January 2015.
So as Floyd continues to move closer to 50 wins, he’s got to beat the 50 year old legend. And Hopkins has set a timetable of between “now and January 2015” to do it. And he also added that it will happen in “a stadium”. But here’s one hitch: He wants to unify the light heavyweight belts by the end of 2014. This means that he wants to fight superman Adonis Stevenson first.
Superman is Adonis Stevenson, the Haitian-born Canadian who holds the WBC light heavyweight belt, the only major alphabet title missing from Hopkins’ waist. Stevenson is slated to make a title defense on May 24, which he is expected to win. After that, Hopkins is hoping to land the next shot at Superman. Stevenson is 24-1 with 20 knockouts. But Hopkins is the alien, and he is unfazed. He has set his sights at being undisputed by December 2014.
Hopkins will turn 50 years old on January 15,2015. So one half of the 50-50 condition will be satisfied on that date. The problem will be the other 50 percent.
This is not the first time that Hopkins has flirted with the idea of fighting Mayweather. After beating Murat last October, he publicly stated that he can easily make 160 lbs if the negotiations were serious. But the only Mayweather who responded to this was Floyd Sr. who said that it was a crazy idea because Hopkins is too big.
Then last week, Hopkins made the pitch again. The only response Money gave was that Hopkins, like everyone else from flyweight to heavyweight, is trying to cash in on the Floyd Mayweather Jr. jackpot. Of course, Floyd has to worry first about his May 3 bout with Maidana. And although the odds are at 11/1 in his favor, Maidana is a tough customer. But barring any major accident, Mayweather is a given at 46-0.
Floyd is set to fight again in October or November. Hopkins wants to take care of Stevenson first. If they both win their last fight of 2014, then the 50-50 talk will smoke out once again.
A Hopkins-Mayweather bout would be intriguing yet stellar. While it will surely turn out to be a boring chess match, it’s one that will break the barriers of boxing. Hopkins is naturally bigger, and he has publicly stated that he can make 160 lbs easily. Mayweather has fought in the 154 lbs division thrice in his career: Against De la Hoya, Cotto and Canelo. But his heaviest weight was at 151 lbs against Cotto.
It doesn’t seem like Mayweather will make 160 lbs because he didn’t even make 154 in all his bouts at light middleweight. Hopkins, on the other hand has hinted only at 160 lbs. So there may be no catch weight if this fight were to happen because their weights will never meet. It would be a super fight- a bout usually fought in mixed martial arts where the fighters fight in an open weight category.
The sport of boxing is dedicated to its weight classes. Although it allows catch weights for title fights, there has never been a super fight in boxing. The UFC is boxing’s chief rival in the sport of fighting. They have recently broached the idea of reviving their Super Fights. Their light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones has hinted that he is willing to fight heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez or middleweight king Chris Weidman in a super bout.
The UFC is eons away from snatching the PPV buys from boxing, but it’s gaining popularity worldwide. So a Mayweather vs Hopkins super fight will cement boxing as the world’s top prize fighting sport.
But this fight has a lot of complications. First of all this matchup is close to impossible, physically. Mayweather is 5’8″ while Hopkins is 6’1″ Hopkins has not fought as a middleweight since 2005 while Mayweather has not even weighed in at light middleweight. Second, Floyd Mayweather makes decisions on his fights, he will not be dictated by Bernard Hopkins the promoter. Floyd Mayweather Jr has always decided based on the interest of business, not the fans. Although it has a potential to be a hit, it is a totally unnecessary business risk. Floyd is right, Hopkins may be chasing a lottery.
As of now, there isn’t even a 50-50 chance that the Mayweather vs Hopkins bout will happen in the near future. It may never happen at all. But remember that the Dream Match between De La Hoya and Pacquiao started as wishful thinking in the fickle mind of Larry Merchant. Hopkins may be talking like the king of wishful thinking. But he is also a promoter. Boxing is a business and PPV numbers do a lot of talking and match making.