One for the ages: 48-year-old Bernard Hopkins believes he could defeat Floyd Mayweather if given the chance. (AP)
LAS VEGAS -- The pool of prospective opponents for Floyd Mayweather’s next fight already includes Danny Garcia and Amir Khan. Late Saturday night, another fighter tossed his name into the mix: Bernard Hopkins. The 48-year old light heavyweight champion said he would be willing to drop down to 160 pounds for a fight with Mayweather.
“Floyd, his skills are so out there that he can risk going up to 160,” Hopkins said. “It isn’t the weight that is going to win the fight, it’s the skills. The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. The only guy who is going to beat a guy like Floyd Mayweather is a master chess player. And who is the master chess player? I’ll go back to 160. It’s the biggest old [man] fight. Everyone from the nursing home will be watching.”
It’s certainly conceivable that Hopkins, who has fought at light heavyweight since 2006, could make a 160-pound weight limit. Hopkins is a finely conditioned athlete. He doesn’t drink or smoke and rarely strays from a disciplined diet. He says he walks around 10 pounds heavier than his fighting weight and if given until May, he could make the weight.
“I will go to New Orleans or some place hot, I will train like a dog, and I will make an extraordinary fight,” Hopkins said. “If I was coming from [heavyweight] to [light heavyweight] like Roy Jones did, then it would be a problem. But being a guy who lives the way I live... for me to come down to 160, it’s doable.”
For Hopkins, 160 pounds would be familiar territory. He was one of the greatest middleweights in boxing history, dominating the division for the better part of a decade, making a record 20 title defenses along the way.
Mayweather, though, may not share Hopkins’s enthusiasm for a middleweight fight. Mayweather’s win over Saul Alvarez was just the third time he has fought above 147 pounds. On the day of the fight Mayweather “rehydrated” to half a pound lighter than what he weighed in at the day before. Moreover, even if Hopkins weighed in at 160, it’s likely he would balloon into the 170’s on fight night, creating an enormous size advantage.
Still, Hopkins believes Mayweather could be interested.
“When your name is Money, money moves you,” Hopkins said. “It would be a chess game. He would have the burden. You can’t let a 49-year-old go the distance with you. It would have to be a rumble. It wouldn’t be easy, This man has a defense that it would be a counterpunching fight.”
For now, Hopkins says, he is focused on October 26, when he will defend his IBF title against Karo Murat. After that, it will be Mayweather’s call.
“You can be 200 pounds [but] if you can’t fight, I could be 115 [pounds] and I will still kick your a--,” Hopkins said. “And Floyd can fight. I was one of his critics. When he beat Shane Mosley, remember I sort of instigated that fight. But when I saw him recover [from a Mosley punch], when I saw him make Shane Mosley want to shake hands and talk, I was converted. You give me until May, I will make that weight.”
-- Chris Mannix