Peyton Manning became the oldest player ever to win a Super Bowl last night. He’s been god-awful this year (and he was again last night), but Denver’s ridiculous defense carried him through. He’s 39 years old, and his spine is fastened tight with whatever they used to put Ultron together, but he pulled it off. It reminded me of another old fella, boxing’s own Bernard Hopkins. If Manning’s feat was impressive, Hopkins’ should be considered goddamn heroic. The oldest fighter to ever own a lineal championship belt, “The Alien” is preparing for his swan song at 51. Thing is, he won’t be fighting in some remote village in Bulgaria like so many past-their-prime fighters do to relive some of the old glory. He’ll be in a major fight, likely with championship implications. HE IS 51. He’s also the only guy lately to have gone the full 12 rounds with Sergey Kovalev, who has walked right through everyone else in short order with a homicidal grin.
Manning and Hopkins actually have quite a bit in common. Both are considered all-time-greats, and while neither were ever considered the strongest or fastest, they both mastered their crafts to such an extent that they often knew what their opponents were going to do before THEY did. At his peak, Manning could carve a defense apart without hesitation, much like Hopkins could take the most dangerous offense and render it neutered. Somebody else might have had more pure talent, but nobody was going to outsmart either of these legends. They’re easier to root for now that age has stripped them of their physical gifts, where they’re more vulnerable than ever, where they’re simply left with a bit of the magic and a guile that never leaves.
Most of the time, the old guys end up battered and dazed, with fans wondering why they didn’t leave the game before the game left them.
But sometimes, the old guy wins one last rodeo.
I ripped it apart at first, because it seems ridiculous–Amir Khan, who was knocked out at 135 and 140 lbs. and whose chin issues are always apparent, is trying to fight a guy who will be probably 170 pounds on fight night. Also, after doing very little to warrant a big fight other than complaining incessantly about not getting a big fight, he is getting a massive bout, with a chance to become the lineal Middleweight champion.
Does he deserve it? Good lord no. He barely deserves a championship fight in his own division, much less Middleweight, or, at 155 lbs, “Canelo weight.” Canelo doesn’t hit like Gennady Golovkin, but seeing as Khan got buzzed and wobbled by Chris freakin’ Algieri, that won’t matter much.
The odds of him making it through to the final bell seems ridiculously low, and we’re supposed to swallow this as a goddamn 75 dollar Pay-Per-View event???
But… I don’t hate it. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think it might be a fun little scrap. Khan, for all of his faults, is rarely in a bad fight, same as Canelo. And he possesses decent pop himself, along with wicked-fast hands. Canelo wasn’t going to fight Golovkin in May. He might never fight him.
But I don’t know how many people were going to jump for joy if he signed to fight Gabe Rosado. The fight isn’t great, but as far as excitement and name recognition, you could do a lot worse than Amir Khan. Let’s hope he can stay on his feet long enough to give us our money’s worth…
Who is your favorite all time fighter?
I have always loved watching Juan Manuel Marquez. I think he’s brilliant, and one of the most devastatingly accurate punchers of all time. Of course the 2005-2010 version of Manny Pacquiao was a blast to watch as well. And I loved watching the 130-135 lb. version of Floyd Mayweather. But the guy who made me fall in love with the sport, the one fighter whose bouts were like performance-art pieces, was Roy Jones Jr.
He was, at his peak, stunning to watch. He combined incredible speed and reflexes with power in both hands. His late-90’s resume is often ripped apart, and he did put things on cruise control once he had established his dominance. Still, he defeated Bernard Hopkins easily with one hand, and he completely embarrassed James Toney, another all-time-great, at a time when Toney was King Shit.
His post-fight interviews were often brutal–my girlfriend (now my wife) exclaimed after Roy’s win against David Telesco, “I like him so much better when he’s not talking,” but still, he was the man. Ya’ll Musta Forgot.
Another guy declined a fight with Luis Ortiz. Is he boxing’s new Boogeyman? How does he fare against Wilder, Fury, Povetkin?
Ortiz is a bad motherfucker. It’s pretty easy to see why he’s being avoided–he doesn’t have a household name, and he’s a rare breed–a southpaw with monster power. He’s no spring chicken–he’ll be 37 in a month–and he came from out of nowhere, but he might be the best damn Heavyweight in the world.
He took Bryant Jennings, a guy who put up a decent fight against Wladimir Klitschko before losing a decision, to the woodshed, hurting him with every punch he threw before stopping him. I don’t see anybody lining up to fight him anytime soon. In fact, I can see the top dogs swerving away from him like roadkill. As for the three you mentioned, I’d pick Ortiz to stop all of them.
He can be out-boxed, but that left hand would find the mark on all three guys. This is a badly-flawed division that has been cracked wide-open, and if he can get the fights, Ortiz will be a nightmare for anybody.