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Boxing’s Ageless Wonder’s
In the boxing game you are supposed to be over-the-top by the age of 40, but try telling that to the remarkable American fighter Bernard Hopkins who, when he was in his 30’s held the world middleweight title for 10 year, during which he successfully defended his title on 20 occasions, ducking none of the young contenders who challenged him for his title.

14.10.2013 - Then in 2006 at the age of 42 ‘The Executioner’, as Hopkins is nicknamed, decided to move up two weight divisions and take on the reigning light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver and surprised the boxing world with a one-sided decision over the champion.

Now in his 48th year, this amazing athlete, who has always kept himself in peak physical condition throughout his boxing career, has probably been the most underrated fighter when it came to defense, when it came to offence and when it came to his heart. But, even though his reflex actions and his speed of punch is slowing down, he has fooled his critics once again and they have all had to eat humble-pie.  For Hopkins, the ‘Golden Oldie’ is currently rated the ‘Number One’ light heavyweight in the world, and holder of the I.B.F. world title belt.  Whatever happens in the future The Executioner has finally established himself among the Greats in the history of boxing, although it’s taken him 25 years as a professional fighter to prove it and 63 ring battles.  A few years ago Hopkins commented that he planned to emulate Archie Moore by making light heavyweight title defenses while in his 40’s, which he succeeded in doing.  

The name Archie Moore brought back memories of my youth when Archie was one of my boxing heroes.  He became a big name in America during the 1950’s which were the golden boom years, with fights being shown on prime time television every night except Sundays.  T.V. not only opened up boxing like a flowering rose to millions of fans, but it also introduced viewers to lots of fighters with colorful nicknames, the Old Mongoose and Ancient Archie were the ones given to the amazing Archie Moore, who had one of the most bizarre careers in ring history.  When assessing the extraordinary career of the man, you eventually run out of superlatives, for he broke so many boxing records and achieved so much in a career which spanned three decades that he must rank as one of boxing genuine legends.

As a middleweight in the early part of his career, he got such a reputation as a knockout specialist that champions were reluctant to give him a shot at their title.  Disgracefully side-tracked for years, he eventually got his first world title chance against Joey Maxim for the light heavyweight crown in 1952 and won on points, having waited 17 years for the opportunity.  Moore was the complete boxer by that time and at the age of 39 had vast experience after 159 fights.  He was brilliant defensively, as well as a K.O. specialist, and throughout his career of 234 professional bouts he produced a staggering 145 knockouts, by far the record for any boxer.  However, he was anything but an out-and-out slugger; he was also one of boxings great craftsmen.

If good things indeed happen to those who wait, Ancient Archie is the classic example, for he held the world light heavyweight title for over nine years, which is also a record. During those early days of his reign as light heavyweight king he even fancied his chance against the then heavyweight King Rocky Marciano, but even he didn’t fancy taking on the Old Mongoose. However, under heavy pressure from Archie and the media, Marciano agreed to defend his title against the ageing Moore at Yankee Stadium, New York, in September 1955.  Moore floored the rough, tough champion in the second round, but the age and weight difference was too much for Archie who was stopped in the 9th round.  Yet seven years later Moore was still rolling along like ‘Old Man River’, as light heavyweight champion, when he stepped into the ring with the young Cassius Clay the 20-year-old Olympic Gold medalist.  Moore was believed to be 49.  Clay’s dazzling speed and ripping punches was the decider and Archie was stopped in the 4th round.  He had one more fight and K.Od his opponent before closing the curtains on a long and brilliant career.

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