Perhaps the most highly anticipated matchup in boxing today is between middleweight champions Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Álvarez, but given all the potential roadblocks of catch-weights and purse splits seen thus far in negotiations, Team Golovkin has certainly been searching for a back-up opponent should things fall through. One of those opponents under consideration is none other than 51-year-old Bernard Hopkins.
Managing director of K2 Promotions Tom Loeffler told New York reporters last week that Golovkin could be facing off against Hopkins next should the more enticing bouts fail to materialize.
“The priority would be Canelo (Alvarez) or a unification fight with (WBO titleholder) Billy Joe Saunders but Bernard is another one,” Loeffler said. “If we can’t get one of those fights, if we can’t get a Danny Jacobs type-of-fight or (Gilberto) Ramirez then Bernard would certainly be a…He’s a legend. It would be a huge name for him.”
The proposed matchup would take place at the super-middleweight limit of 168, eight pounds north of where Golovkin currently fights and the same amount south of where Hopkins last competed. Hopkins, who is a serial Spartan between training camps, would likely have no issue with the weight.
As fans might remember, Hopkins last fought nearly two years ago in a disappointing decision loss against the rugged Russian destroyer Sergey Kovalev. Hopkins was thoroughly worked in a one-sided beating, and most observers felt time had finally caught up with the ageless wonder. Though there were rumblings late last year that his next and final bout would likely be against super middleweight titlist Arthur Abraham, things have not appeared to move forward between the two camps. In terms of whether or not Hopkins is interested in a fight with Golovkin, Golden Boy exec Eric Gomez told the RingTV.com’s Michael Woods that the future Hall-of-Famer is in fact open to the idea.
“I’ve had some talk with Tom,” Gomez said in the interview. “Bernard has not retired; he’s still got so much warrior in him. He’s the bigger guy, so scientific. He would give some problems to Golovkin.”
For Golovkin, the situation is a bit more complicated. While Hopkins is a living legend in the sport of boxing, taking on the fight could spark a number of reactions from the public, and presents almost no beneficial outcome for the middleweight champ. If Golovkin does well, he beats up an old man. If he wins in non-impressive fashion, his legitimacy is brought into question. And of course in the small chance that he loses, then who knows where his career will be headed, and the super-fight with Álvarez will likely be derailed. The Kazakh star gives the fight a “50/50” chance of actually taking place.
“First of all, he is a legend,” Golovkin said. “And, second part, maybe people say, ‘Hey Gennady, no please. It’s not good.’”
Given his disappointing performance against Kovalev, it would seem absurd for Hopkins to even consider taking on someone in such a ruthless prime of his career like Golovkin. But Hopkins had also bounced back from his loss against Jermaine Taylor by dominating Antonio Tarver in a two division jump, did it again against then heavy-hitter Kelly Pavlik after Hopkins dropped a close decision to Joe Calzaghe, and for a third time when he lost to Chad Dawson, then shortly after went on to win a legitimate light-heavyweight title against Tavoris Cloud. Each time fans had counted Hopkins out, and each time they were proven wrong. But could Hopkins pull it off once more, or is a fourth time pushing his luck? Time does catch up with everyone after all. To be honest, I’m not really sure, but what I do know is this:
The prospect of a 51-year-old fighter beating someone like Golovkin is pretty much an impossible feat, but if there’s anyone that could pull off the impossible in boxing, it’s Bernard Hopkins.
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