And they call it “Pound for Pound”?
14.02.05 - By The Brown Bomber: Pending the results of Saturdays fight between Bernard Hopkins and Howard Eastman, Bernard continues to be regarded by most boxing institutions as the “pound for pound” best boxer out there. But is the term that was coined from the great Sugar Ray Robinson really applicable today? Two weeks ago I had a chance to chat with former WBA Light Weight Champ Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini on this very subject.. He pointed out that during his career he had 8 title defenses in 19 months. That’s an average of 1 fight every 2 months. In 1981 alone Ray fought “6” times.
Article posted on 15.02.2005
Today it is a rarity if a champ fights three times per year, and one of the three is usually a warm up fight.
RM- “A champion, a true champion is to take on all capable challengers. A true champion defends his title, and looks for matches that pose a threat in order to prove to the world he deserves to be called “the best of the best.”
Looking back to the late 90’s and early 2000 millennium when Felix Trinidad was publicly referred to as the “pound for pound” best, he moved from the 140lbs class to the low 150’s, then to 158lbs, before being beat by Bernard Hopkins.
The same drive could be said for the other contender of the “pound for pound” title at that time Roy Jones Jr. Who began his career at the mid 150’s, then to the 160’s, and 170’s only to finally fight and win the WBA Heavy Weight title form John Ruiz who was 226lbs at the time.
Bernard who has only fought twice a year for the past seven years has always fought in the high 150’s to low 160’s. But is quick to call on many Welter Weights and Light Middle Weights to come up to his weight for a match. Of course Howard Eastman is no wash-up. But lets not forget that Eastman lost to William Joppy in 2001 when Joppy was on the decline after loosing to Trinidad. That being said, by no means should Eastman be a career achievement marker for reigning champion on his way to retirement. Even Oscar De La Hoya in his current motion towards retirement has taken on risky dangerous opponents. Who could forget Trinidad, Mosley, Gatti, Vargas, Castillejo, Sturm, and Hopkins?
I for one would like to see Bernard step up to the plate and fight Super Middle Weights like Jeff Lacy or Joe Calzaghe. That in my book would prove to the hardcore fight fans that he is capable of the crown. But something tells me that a match against Antonio Tarver or Glen Johnson is around the corner, only to prelude a super re-match against Felix Trinidad and then retirement.
Don’t get me wrong, Bernard is good, very good, but “the best of the best” can only be categorized by Ray Mancini’s above definition.
-The Brown Bomber
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