At 43, Age Only A Number For Hopkins

By Francis Walker
Updated: April 6, 2008

NEW YORK — Bernard Hopkins is 43 years old. He wants to prove that age is just a number. Just because an athlete like Hopkins is over 40 that doesn’t mean that they’re too old to compete and will lose to a younger athlete — especially to a fighter like an unbeaten world super middleweight champion like Joe Calzaghe.

“I mean Brett Farve out on top in his 40s,” Hopkins told BASN during an international conference call. “It’s not unusual but it is considered rare because people don’t fight to live to physically be on top of their game less they embarrass themselves past 35″.

“Understand that Joe Calzaghe is not 26 he’s 36. And that is considered not a spring chicken in boxing but we live in different times now.” Boxers today have increased longevity thanks to the help of nutrition programs, physical training modules, and high-tech/state-of-the-art equipment.

“When Ali and Joe Lewis and Ray Robinson and all those guys that come up — I mean they didn’t have the high tech sneaks and the high tech equipment, the vitamins, the this and that You know they didn’t have the Mackey Shilstone’s of the world at that particular time,” added Hopkins.

Hopkins also stated that it was his clean and healthy living that has allowed him to remain a dominant force inside the boxing ring.

The Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas will be the setting when Hopkins (48-4-1, 32 KOs) and Calzaghe (44-0, 32 KOs) face-off in a scheduled 12-round light-heavyweight bout on Saturday, April 19. HBO will televise at 9:45 pm ET (6:45 PT).

Hopkins is the most dominant middleweight champion Since Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Hopkins, during his 10-year reign as the world middleweight champion, became the first boxer to unify the IBF, WBC, WBA, and WBO championships at 160 pounds.

Hopkins, who has spectacular KO victories over Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya, also set a new record for consecutive defenses of the middleweight crown with 20.

However, although Hopkins is 2-0 since becoming a light-heavyweight and dominates Antonio Tarver and a blown-up middleweight in Winky Wright, a lot of people are picking Hopkins to lose to Calzaghe. Not because Calzaghe is the better fighter, but because Hopkins is seen as too old.

“Only that would be true only if I had a reckless living life,” Hopkins said. “I think that, you know, what I’ve done in the 20s, what I’ve done in the 30s prepared me to be able to stand out amongst the norm. No I don’t have no special magic, you know, and anybody just listening I’m letting, you know, from right now that I don’t have no special water in the bottle”.

“I don’t have no special resume that I do. I just live right, treat my body right like any other person, sports or non-sports, want to do it. I just take care of my body. The worst damage a person — a fighter or even a person that’s just everyday living — is shorten your life by your lifestyle.”

Hopkins added: “My lifestyle, yes and my talent, plays a role but I’m no fool. It’s not just I’m that good. Some would want me to think that but I ain’t a fool. It’s all above that comes with being a guy that has longevity in what he do.”

Hopkins-Calzaghe is a significant bout. Hopkins will be fighting Joe Calzaghe, the most dominant champion in the history of the 168-pound division. Calzaghe unified the WBO title by beating IBF champion Jeff Lacy in March 2005.

Calzaghe also beat Mikkel Kessler to seize the WBA/WBC titles in November.

Calzaghe has never fought in the United States. He’s leaving behind his United Kingdom faithful for the first time to fight professionally in the United States against one of the world’s greatest fighters.

Calzaghe is a southpaw (left-handed) fighter recognized for his hand speed and punching accuracy from various angles. In the two biggest fights of his career against Lacy and Kessler, two fast and aggressive fighters, Calzaghe’s hand speed was simply too overwhelming. The results — a pair of lopsided decision victories.

Hopkins, the expert in fighting slick and sneaky southpaws like Tarver (W 12), Wright (W 12), John David Jackson (TKO 7), Robert Allen (three times), Keith Holmes (W 12), Syd Vanderpool (W 12), Joe Lipsey (KO 4), will not be thrown off by Calzaghe’s style in what should be the toughest fight of Calzaghe’s career.