Bernard Hopkins Dares To Dare, Floyd Mayweather Does Not

“To be the best, you fight the best, you prove you’re the best by continuing to do what? By continuing to be the best in that division. This is something that I want to make boxing get back to.”Bernard Hopkins

I can see where a 50 year old guy who is about to take on the biggest monster in the division might make that statement. Good for him.

Ask yourself something, when you read the statement, “To be the best, you fight the best, you prove you’re the best by continuing to do what? By continuing to be the best in that division.” Who is the fighter that immediately came to mind? I can only answer for myself and a few others that I’ve corresponded with….and we all agreed that Floyd Mayweather is the fighter we first thought of. In fact it’s not a reach to assume that Hopkins was taking a subtle shot at Mayweather with his pointed words.

And let’s face it, if there is one active fighter who is qualified and respected enough to take a shot at Mayweather, it’s Hopkins. In two months Hopkins 55-6-2 (32), who will be two months shy of his 50th birthday, will be swapping punches with the most dangerous fighter in the light heavyweight division, 31 year old Sergey Kovalev 25-0-1 (23), who just happens to be in his prime. And as Hopkins formulated his legacy fighting as a middleweight during his mid to late 30’s, everything he does as a light heavyweight is icing on the cake.

When Hopkins steps into the ring against Kovalev on November 8th, it has to be considered the biggest challenge that any fighter who’s closer to 50 than 40 has ever accepted. And it’s not like Hopkins has to do it to solidify his legacy as a great fighter – that was sealed a decade ago. But as Muhammad Ali used to say, great fighters “Dare-to-Dare.”

Hopkins has gone out of his way to fight every bad-arse around between middleweight and light heavyweight without any gimmicks attached. When Hopkins finally does retire, no one will ever say ‘he was great, but too bad he never fought so and so, that would’ve really erased all doubts about his true greatness as a fighter.’

On the other hand, there’s Mayweather. Floyd is no doubt a great fighter. He’s a terrifically versatile boxer with quick hands; he’s a great counter-puncher and is much tougher and physically stronger than most credit him for being. But if there’s one thing on the negative side that can be said about him, it’s did he ever really “Dare-to-Dare?” I believe that anyone who is intellectually honest has to say no. Undefeated records are great, but they are not the measuring stick of how great a fighter is. Fighters are measured by who they fought and beat.

Former super-middleweight champ Joe Calzaghe retired undefeated at 46-0 (32), but try and make the argument that he’s the greatest super-middleweight champ ever. Sure, he’s one of them. But his best opposition came against two past their prime greats named Roy Jones who was 37, and Bernard Hopkins who was 43 when they fought. And I had Hopkins beating Calzaghe by a point.

How about Rocky Marciano, who retired undefeated at 49-0 (43)? How many boxing observers whose last name doesn’t end in a vowel, or live outside of Boston, consider Marciano the greatest heavyweight ever because he never lost? Rocky is no doubt one of the greats, but the best fighters he beat, Joe Louis, Jersey Joe Walcott, Ezzard Charles and Archie Moore were old and on the decline when he fought them. Marciano didn’t duck anyone but he didn’t fight during one of the better eras in heavyweight history.

What if Muhammad Ali never came back after knocking out Zora Folley in 1967? He would’ve retired with a career record of 29-0 (23). At that time Nat Fleischer, the founder of Ring Magazine, who I think was very biased towards old school fighters, didn’t even consider Ali among the top-10 greatest heavyweight champs in history. And as much as I have my differences with Fleischer, I’m not sure Ali’s victories over an old Sonny Liston, Ernie Terrell, George Chuvalo, Floyd Patterson and Cleveland Williams merit him getting the nod over Jim Jeffries, Joe Louis, Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey and Marciano.

What solidified Ali’s greatness was getting up out of his grave after being decked by Joe Frazier and losing, only to come back and beat him twice. He also stopped a 25 year old monster in his prime named George Foreman who entered their fight 40-0 (37). In the interim he beat fighters the likes of Jerry Quarry twice, Oscar Bonavena, Ken Norton twice, Ron Lyle and Earnie Shavers among others. In addition to that, Muhammad Ali always sought out to fight the best fighters around when he had everything to lose and nothing to gain by beating them.

Since Ali, Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis have the best resumes regarding quality of opposition. They both fought every name heavyweight who was around, including each other twice. No, neither of them retired undefeated, but we know exactly how great and tough they were. Lewis never met a fighter he couldn’t beat and the only fighter who ever beat Holyfield during his prime was Riddick Bowe, who was three inches taller and 30 pounds heavier the night he dealt Evander his first loss. And Holyfield did come back and beat Bowe a year later when they met a second time.

Which brings us back to Mayweather. As great as Floyd has been, regardless of what he does hence forward, he’ll be partly remembered as a fighter who was reluctant to fight the best and the baddest when it really meant something. He fought Shane Mosley when he was shot and could only fight a minute a round. When welterweight title holders Antonio Margarito and Paul Williams were challenging him after many of their bouts, Floyd fought junior welterweight Ricky Hatton and then retired. It would’ve really said something about Floyd’s greatness if he would’ve gone on to thwart Margarito’s strength, toughness and pressure. And what if he could’ve navigated the reach and high punch output of Paul Williams? At least he could’ve claimed that he did beat a poor man’s Roberto Duran and Thomas Hearns – only we’ll never know.

And then there’s former lineal flyweight champ Manny Pacquiao, who Mayweather found every excuse in the world not to make the fight with. Personally, I believe Floyd will, and would’ve beat Pacquiao and it wouldn’t have been his toughest fight. However, I’ve been wrong before and Floyd has never “Dared-to-Dare!” And wrongly or rightly, many will remember that about him long after he’s retired.

Just because a fighter is undefeated doesn’t mean he is truly great until his greatness is tested. We can only guess how that fighter would fare without the competition to test him. What if Roy Jones retired after beating John Ruiz? He would be in the conversation with Sugar Ray Robinson as one of the greatest of the greats, only he’s not because we saw him against a better grade of opposition after fighting Ruiz.

Hopkins is spot on: “To be the best, you fight the best.”

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

Photo Credit: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

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COMMENTS

-amayseng :

My thoughts exactly.


-the Roast :

Yep. The best have a burning desire to face and beat the best to prove they are the best, not just to the world but to themselves.


-stormcentre :

Hard to argue with those facts.


-The Commish :

Changing the British song from a few years ago: "There's only one, Bernard Hopkins." -Randy G.


-brownsugar :

Who would you like for Mayweather to fight?


-deepwater2 :

That was a great song


-amayseng :

Why isn't this fight being advertised as a massive event? This is historic! Showtime what are you doing? Oscar get the commercials rolling... ESPN where the F*** are you????!!!! Bhop is 49 , forty-freaking-nine and will be months away from 50. Following the **** steroid MLB era this is a great story to teach the youth through proper nutrition and care you can live longer and healthier beyond anyone thought. I am disgusted at the lack of attention this fight is attracting...


-JustSayin :

I find this to be a poorly researched article, both from an empirical and factual standpoint. All one need do is go back and count the sheer number of title fights [U]ANY[/U] fighter has been engaged in, both from a challenger and champion position to gauge the quality of the competition that fighter has faced. (1) Five-division world champion. (2) Ten world titles. (3) Lineal championship in four different weight classes. (4) Ring magazine Fighter of the Year (winning the award in 1998 and 2007) (5) Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) Fighter of the Year award in 2007. (6) Best Fighter ESPY Award in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Currently: (1) Transnational Boxing Rankings Board junior middleweight champion. (2) WBC welterweight champion. (3) WBA (Super) super welterweight champion. (4) WBC Super welterweight champion. (5) WBC diamond super welterweight belt. (6) Ring #1 ranked welterweight. (7) Ring #1 ranked junior middleweight. (8) Rated as the best POUND-FOR-POUND boxer in the WORLD by Ring, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, BoxRec, Fox Sports, and Yahoo! Sports. Champions Faced: Angel Manfredy (42-8-1) (31 knockouts) Genaro Hernandez (38-2-1) (17 knockouts) Former WBC, WBA, & Lineal super featherweight champion. Jose Luis Castillo (2x) (64-11-1) (55 Knockouts) Former Ring and two-time WBC Lightweight champion. Arturo Gatti (40-9) (31 Knockouts) IBF Super Featherweight Champion WBC Light Welterweight Champion, IBA Welterweight Champion. Zab Judah (42-9) (29 Knockouts) Titles: Interim IBF Light Welterweight Champion IBF Light Welterweight Champion WBO Light Welterweight Champion WBC Welterweight Champion WBA (Super) Welterweight Champion IBF Welterweight Champion (2) IBF Light Welterweight Champion (Former Undisputed Welterweight Champion) Carlos Baldomir (49-15-6) WBC & The Ring Welterweight Champion. Oscar De La Hoya (39-6-0) (30 Knockouts) WBO Super Featherweight Champion WBO Lightweight Champion IBF Lightweight Champion WBC Light Welterweight Champion WBC Welterweight Champion WBC Light Middleweight Champion WBA (Super) Light Middleweight Champion WBO Middleweight Champion (2) WBC Light Middleweight Champion I could go on Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosely, Miguel Cotto, Saul Alvarez....... STOP IT PLEASE!!!!!!!! At least be a boxing fan before you right a story FOR boxing fans!!! But the truth of the matter is, unless you're talking about or writing about or suing FLOYD.....than you won't be making any money! (So I guess I understand)


-brownsugar :

I find this to be a poorly researched article, both from an empirical and factual standpoint. All one need do is go back and count the sheer number of title fights [U]ANY[/U] fighter has been engaged in, both from a challenger and champion position to gauge the quality of the competition that fighter has faced. (1) Five-division world champion. (2) Ten world titles. (3) Lineal championship in four different weight classes. (4) Ring magazine Fighter of the Year (winning the award in 1998 and 2007) (5) Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) Fighter of the Year award in 2007. (6) Best Fighter ESPY Award in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Currently: (1) Transnational Boxing Rankings Board junior middleweight champion. (2) WBC welterweight champion. (3) WBA (Super) super welterweight champion. (4) WBC Super welterweight champion. (5) WBC diamond super welterweight belt. (6) Ring #1 ranked welterweight. (7) Ring #1 ranked junior middleweight. (8) Rated as the best POUND-FOR-POUND boxer in the WORLD by Ring, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, BoxRec, Fox Sports, and Yahoo! Sports. Champions Faced: Angel Manfredy (42-8-1) (31 knockouts) Genaro Hernandez (38-2-1) (17 knockouts) Former WBC, WBA, & Lineal super featherweight champion. Jose Luis Castillo (2x) (64-11-1) (55 Knockouts) Former Ring and two-time WBC Lightweight champion. Arturo Gatti (40-9) (31 Knockouts) IBF Super Featherweight Champion WBC Light Welterweight Champion, IBA Welterweight Champion. Zab Judah (42-9) (29 Knockouts) Titles: Interim IBF Light Welterweight Champion IBF Light Welterweight Champion WBO Light Welterweight Champion WBC Welterweight Champion WBA (Super) Welterweight Champion IBF Welterweight Champion (2) IBF Light Welterweight Champion (Former Undisputed Welterweight Champion) Carlos Baldomir (49-15-6) WBC & The Ring Welterweight Champion. Oscar De La Hoya (39-6-0) (30 Knockouts) WBO Super Featherweight Champion WBO Lightweight Champion IBF Lightweight Champion WBC Light Welterweight Champion WBC Welterweight Champion WBC Light Middleweight Champion WBA (Super) Light Middleweight Champion WBO Middleweight Champion (2) WBC Light Middleweight Champion I could go on Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosely, Miguel Cotto, Saul Alvarez....... STOP IT PLEASE!!!!!!!! At least be a boxing fan before you right a story FOR boxing fans!!! But the truth of the matter is, unless you're talking about or writing about or suing FLOYD.....than you won't be making any money! (So I guess I understand)
Welcome to the TSS JustSaying That was a very well researched comment.


-deepwater2 :

Only one thing left to do, fight the fighter of the decade and close the show.


-michigan400 :

Did the fans have to "ask" Bernard to challange SK? Or Pavlik, or Tarvar? No, we did not have to because he wanted it. Did Duran get "begged" and offered career high payday to fight Leonard? Nope, he might of did it for free. The fact that we beg Floyd to take a real challenge is 100% proof he never will. Hes had some good fights but none where you actually scared for him beforehand. Thats challenging yourself and daring to dare!! Floyd is all flash, no substance.


-mortcola :

ed Welterweight Champion) Carlos Baldomir (49-15-6) WBC & The Ring Welterweight Champion. Oscar De La Hoya (39-6-0) (30 Knockouts) WBO Super Featherweight Champion WBO Lightweight Champion IBF Lightweight Champion WBC Light Welterweight Champion WBC Welterweight Champion WBC Light Middleweight Champion WBA (Super) Light Middleweight Champion WBO Middleweight Champion (2) WBC Light Middleweight Champion I could go on Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosely, Miguel Cotto, Saul Alvarez....... STOP IT PLEASE!!!!!!!! At least be a boxing fan before you right a story FOR boxing fans!!! But the truth of the matter is, unless you're talking about or writing about or suing FLOYD.....than you won't be making any money! (So I guess I understand)


-Froggy :

I think another reason Floyd is giving Maidana a rematch is it gets him one fight closer to fulfilling his contract with Showtime while having a fight he knows will be easier than last time and avoiding anyone dangerous for one more fight ! One of the smartest things Leonard ever did was getting the rematch wit Duran so fast, knowing Duran would spend all the time in training camp just taking off the weight he put on partying after the victory in Montreal !


-Chris L :

Mayweather gets these sort of criticisms a lot. He has fought most legitimate champions in his weight since he has been champion. Apart from Pacquiao (and Margarito/Williams, but they never get mentioned, and I'm sure that the writer of this article wasn't thinking of them when he wrote this) who could he have fought? I think that he is the guy everyone loves to hate, I'm not saying he's tbe or any of this other rubbish that he spouts to promote himself, but he is the best of this era, and would have been in competitive fights in any era. Anything that he does achieve will always be criticised because of the way that he promotes himself. On the other subject of the article this fight is a real treat to fans, if Bhop beats Kovalev (which I think he will) then I believe it's only a matter of time till he whoops Supermans behind and makes history.


-Skibbz :

Floyd doesn’t suck. He is competitive at the top level in any era. But lists also prove the point you’re disputing: above 135 lbs, not a single fight against a historic-level fighter who wasn’t either much smaller, years removed from his prime, or green and untested. More negotiation table BS than anyone in history - and yes, Leonard was no angel in that department, but in the ring he was a stone killer, not just a skilled pot-shotter. Hearns, Hagler, Leonard, and Duran SOUGHT to fight and destroy each other and anyone else with a claim to greatness. Floyd has actively avoided ALL such challenges since his beautiful early days. All. Every. He offers a rematch to a B-level Maidana in order to repair the perception that he was able to be roughed up and arguably beaten by a tough mauler who poses little risk of ever landing a clean punch. Leonard begged for a rematch against one of the greatest in history, who hurt and humiliated him, and got it within 6 months - and not only won, but turned the tables of pride on Duran. Leonard or Hearns would never have gotten past the negotiations for a fight with Mayweather. Either one would have prevailed in the ring due to a combination of greatness and the HUNGER to destroy the opponent. With a different, more developed character, Mayweather would have BELONGED in the ring with any of them. But the real Mayweather just wouldn’t have let it happen. A great fighter forever short of the promised land, like Moses, due to his own character failings. In this case, the only failing being a lack of desire to BE the greatest, not just to create the perception of greatness. Inner fire....killer instinct...a love of challenge. In any other way, Mayweather is tougher than any one of us. But not on that rung occupied by the greats of all boxing eras who lived to face adversity, not minimize it.
Very well said Mort. Sometimes what's written in black and white doesn't tell the whole truth. More negotiating table bs than anyone in history indeed. He certainly won't be remembered as a fighter's fighter that's for sure.


-The Shadow :

Welcome to the TSS JustSaying That was a very well researched comment.
Indeed it was! I've been staying away from this thread because the title in itself had an inherent slant, which lent itself to a controversial topic and I didn't want to get involved with that. But I gotta appreciate someone telling the truth. Like you said Suge, who do people want him to fight? Manny Pacquiao? No matter who you want to blame, it's a fact that Pacquiao (and/or his handlers) has turned Mayweather down (ducked?) at least twice -- and understandably so. But they've lied to the public in the process. There's no argument, no ifs, ands or buts about it. Only butts who believe the nonsense. Arum doesn't want it. He doesn't need it. He makes more without it. There's literally nothing Mayweather can do about that except wait for Pacquiao's contract with Arum to expire. Dude chose to extend AND sign with HBO, knowing the dude is locked up long-term with SHO. (And don't start with this garbage of CEOs agreeing to air it like Lewis-Tyson. He's lying. Everyone knows it. Now y'all know it.) I kind of get the idea of what people want. I saw this guy Carl Frampton upload a picture of him all bruised up in the hospital praising his noble opponent. Fans LOVED it! "This is what boxing is all about!" Blah, blah, blah... Then I saw another picture of the two bruised warriors standing next to each other. "I'm honored to share the ring with such a warrior," or something along those lines. I've seen people use this quote --supposedly attributed to Carl Froch, though I doubt its veracity-- as if it is some profound statement: “If you retire undefeated it means you didn’t fight everyone you were supposed to”. Such rubbish. Andre Ward fought everyone in his weight class, including Froch. He's undefeated. Froch just sucks, is a career overachiever and if he indeed said this, which I doubt, he is simply rationalizing to reduce dissonance and protect his self image which is what he does and does often. Just like how he said that if he and Ward fought 10 times, it would be 5-5 or 6-4 either way. Yeah, right. (I like Carl Froch, by the way. Just keeping it real.) This is what I think fans love -- to see a guy go through hell and back before getting the victory. It seems as if there is more honor to that in the minds of the fans for some reason. "That's what people really wanna see. Me with a cut eye, busted lip and a broken rib and then getting my hand raised," Mayweather said in one interview. "Ain't nothing cool about that." And he's right. We crave vulnerability in our heroes. To see the rise from adversity, to inspire. Mayweather? He just dominates. And as long as he dominates, no one will really, truly give him the credit he's earned. People don't realize this is a freakin' featherweight-to-lightweight fighting guys who outweigh him by almost 20 pounds on a regular basis. He's really capped out at welterweight but will "sometimes" play with fire by going to junior middleweight. Any time he has done so he's left the ring injured. Not from punches but just from the physical contact. He's not knocking anyone out because his punches are meant to hurt lightweights not super middleweights like Maidana and Canelo (both 165 pounds). Canelo hit him once on the thigh -- which in fairness to Canelo was retaliation for Mayweather using one of his old school dirty tricks, the left thumb to the eye while leaning on 'Nelo's back with the ref on the right side -- that left his skinny leg stiff for days. Then you got straight-up media chumps at WWL who say he should go fight Peter Quillin at middleweight for that fringe, secondary, completely useless and worthless WBO title. At this point, I don't think it's a matter of who he fights. It's a matter of seeing him beat. And until he's beat, people will long for him to "challenge himself" in all these unreasonable ways. Even though he challenges himself like a crazy person in training. For his media workout (!), this dude threw hard, fast punches non-stop for an HOUR without a break, switching between Nate Jones, Roger Mayweather's mitts, the heavy bag. The he goes and runs seven miles. Then comes back and spars with a cruiserweight and beats him bloody. All without taking a single break. Like they say, the more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle. Challenge himself? Dare?! People can't see the forest for trees, man. He just doesn't do it like Carl Frampton. Which I understand. It's not fun getting punched in the face. And there's a life after boxing.


-The Shadow :

Floyd doesn’t suck. He is competitive at the top level in any era. But lists also prove the point you’re disputing: above 135 lbs, not a single fight against a historic-level fighter who wasn’t either much smaller, years removed from his prime, or green and untested. More negotiation table BS than anyone in history - and yes, Leonard was no angel in that department, but in the ring he was a stone killer, not just a skilled pot-shotter. Hearns, Hagler, Leonard, and Duran SOUGHT to fight and destroy each other and anyone else with a claim to greatness. Floyd has actively avoided ALL such challenges since his beautiful early days. All. Every. He offers a rematch to a B-level Maidana in order to repair the perception that he was able to be roughed up and arguably beaten by a tough mauler who poses little risk of ever landing a clean punch. Leonard begged for a rematch against one of the greatest in history, who hurt and humiliated him, and got it within 6 months - and not only won, but turned the tables of pride on Duran. Leonard or Hearns would never have gotten past the negotiations for a fight with Mayweather. Either one would have prevailed in the ring due to a combination of greatness and the HUNGER to destroy the opponent. With a different, more developed character, Mayweather would have BELONGED in the ring with any of them. But the real Mayweather just wouldn’t have let it happen. A great fighter forever short of the promised land, like Moses, due to his own character failings. In this case, the only failing being a lack of desire to BE the greatest, not just to create the perception of greatness. Inner fire....killer instinct...a love of challenge. In any other way, Mayweather is tougher than any one of us. But not on that rung occupied by the greats of all boxing eras who lived to face adversity, not minimize it.
I love your input but I don't agree with that statement that he brings negotiating BS, Mortcola. Not saying he's easy to deal with but he's far from the worst in boxing. There are many other guys who are much, much worse. Pacquiao is far worse, which is well-documented. Miguel Cotto is far worse. Antonio Margarito is worse. Andre Ward is worse. Bernard Hopkins may even be more difficult. I'm not sure what you're referring to but the blood-testing request I will never, ever hold against him ever. Though I found it odd and weird at the time, with what I know now, with all the guys getting popped left and right he was right to demand it.


-The Shadow :

Did the fans have to "ask" Bernard to challange SK? Or Pavlik, or Tarvar? No, we did not have to because he wanted it. Did Duran get "begged" and offered career high payday to fight Leonard? Nope, he might of did it for free. The fact that we beg Floyd to take a real challenge is 100% proof he never will. Hes had some good fights but none where you actually scared for him beforehand. Thats challenging yourself and daring to dare!! Floyd is all flash, no substance.
What fight is out there where you'd be scared for Floyd beforehand? (Don't say GGG because dude is locked up with HBO.) I can't think of any. So if there's no fight out there for him like that, what can he do? Is that his fault/problem?