Boxing 2014: The Movers and Shakers (Part 1)
Milan Ordoņez on Dec 30, 2014 11:46 PM
Photo credit: Bernard "The Alien" Hopkins Official Facebook fan page
Boxing will always be the premiere form of prizefighting. While mixed martial arts and even Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are slowly taking over the mainstream, “The Sweet Science” will always be the revered art form that these two aforementioned sports have taken their cues from.
Befittingly, the sport bears more color than its counterparts, both among the people involved and the business itself. 2014 saw a great number of occurrences to prove this statement, and ABS-CBN Sports is rounding up the momentous ones that either went towards the path of fame or infamy.
10) Bernard Hopkins outsmarts Father Time
A boxer’s career length on average spans for a good 12 years, considering he played all his cards right. If he’s lucky, or he is simply has superb defense like Floyd Mayweather who gets rocked by punches very rarely compared to the next guy, his career can last for 17 years, max.
Of course, there will be the exceptions to the rule. Men like James Toney and Roy Jones Jr., among other greats, are still in active competition, proving that some can defy the old adage that boxing “is a young man’s game.”
But if there is one fighter that was able to go against conventional wisdom the most, it’s Bernard Hopkins.
At 49-years of age, the man now known as “The Alien” remains to be a respected figure in the sport. With a total of 66 professional bouts in his 26-year career, Hopkins did the impossible by winning a world title at the age of 45 years old.
Hopkins’ secret lies on the most obvious: defense. Like Mayweather, “B-Hop” takes very little damage every time he competes. Likewise, he keeps himself in tip-top shape through his physical regimen, veering away from the trap of drugs and other depravities that became the downfall of many of his contemporaries.
Hopkins did meet his match in November when he faced Russian knockout artist Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev. The fight did last for the entire 12 stanzas, but the elder Hopkins was simply outmatched from the get-go.
After the fight, the former light heavyweight world champion announced that he would be taking one more bout before hanging it up for good. And like lifelong the warrior that he is, Bernard Hopkins chooses to go out on his shield.
'I'm going to do it the way I've done it my whole career,” Hopkins told Daily Mail in a post-fight interview. “People respect you for fighting fights that others run away from. I want to fight the best no matter how it pans out.”
9) Canelo Alvarez jumps ship to HBO
Mexican boxing rockstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Showtime Sports have always been synonymous to each other since 2012. Prior to that, the former light middleweight world champion fought for the rival cable television giant, HBO Sports.
Alvarez’s move to Showtime was fueled by the conflict between his promoter Golden Boy Promotions and HBO, prompting the network to sever the business ties. But when HBO decided to recommence its broadcast partnership with Golden Boy with their work on the Hopkins-Kovalev fight in November, things began to run smoothly again.
It wasn’t until September when a major shake-up rocked boxing’s business world anew. Canelo decided to turn his back on Showtime and move over to HBO once again, and according to the 24-year old superstar, exposure was the main driving force.
"For all of my career, I have wanted to fight on HBO for one main reason -- I believe it will allow more of my fans to see me in action," said Alvarez. "Today marks a huge milestone for me, and I look forward to a long and successful partnership with HBO.”
Apart from this new development, Canelo also vowed to take back the “Mexican Dates” from Floyd Mayweather, who usually plots his fights during Cinco de Mayo weekend, and the country’s independence celebration at the second week of September. The first order of business: schedule a superbout against Miguel Cotto on May 2nd, the same day Mayweather wants his long-overdue face-off with Manny Pacquiao.
In boxing history, no two megafights have been broadcasted simultaneously in one night by two prominent sports cable networks. If things do pan out, May 2nd 2015 should be fun.
8) Gennady “GGG” Golovkin: Hammer Hands
Fighters with insane power in their hands do not come in bunches. While there are those who can score the occasional stoppage wins, only a handful can inflict a cranium-rattling, concussion-inducing blow that is guaranteed to take the lights out off anyone’s dome.
For this era of the sport, menacing knockouts are automatically attached to the name of Gennady Golovkin. A silver medalist in the 2004 Olympics representing Kazahkstan, the 32-year old undefeated fighter has taken the professional boxing world by storm, destroying 28 of his 31 opponents by knockout. 89% of those stoppage victories ended before the fifth round.
After a stellar year in 2014, Golovkin aims to carry over his streak onto the coming year. And along with it are the hopes of boxing fans for “GGG” to be given a shot at the limelight, possibly en route to a world title, finally.
7) Miguel Cotto keeps himself relevant
After losing to Austin Trout in 2012, most of the boxing world thought they had seen the last of the old Miguel Cotto. After all, being schooled by a younger opponent will always leave an indelible bruise on any fighter’s ego.
Then 32-years of age, Cotto chose not to heed retirement’s knocks on his door just yet, and instead, opted to reboot his seemingly fledgling career. In 2013, he sought the help of one of the sport’s great minds today, Freddie Roach. As he expected, it proved to be the best career decision he made as of late.
The two began working together for a comeback bout against Delvin Rodriguez in October of that year. Not being able to train in a full camp, Cotto still finished off his task in the third round of their non-title bout for his middleweight debut.
His bigger test came eight months later, when he was slated to face Argentine sensation Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez for the WBC and Ring Magazine 160-pound titles.
With a renewed sense of pugilistic spirit under Roach’s watch, Cotto put on a memorable performance that exorcised the ghosts of his most haunting defeats, as he stopped Martinez in the tenth. It also marked a coveted world title in his fourth weight class.
Miguel Cotto is now choosing between Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin, or a rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr. 2015 is indeed looking to flourish in this side of Puerto Rico.
6) Mickey Rourke makes a comeback
Kimbo Slice was a mere street brawler before jumping into professional fighting. Heavyweight boxer James Toney dared what was deemed impossible by crossing over to the UFC for one night.
Prizefighting needs the “freakshow” aspect once in a while, as part of its ever-fascinating culture. But Mickey Rourke’s boxing comeback was one that created a deafening buzz.
In November, the former pro boxer-turned actor-turned pro boxer for one night stepped back into the ring. At 62-years of age, “the Wrestler” star was evidently not aiming for a world title, he was merely trying to see what he has left, for old times’ sake.
He was pitted against journeyman boxer Elliot Seymour in a small-time exhibition bout in Moscow, Russia. Claiming to have lost 35-pounds in preparation for the fight, Rourke still managed to wow audiences around the world (or at least those who made an effort to catch the fight) by coming out victorious via a second round knockout.
The match was marred by controversy, however, after Seymour was alleged to have thrown the match for $3,000. Denying the allegations on the onset, the 29-year old fighter eventually admitted that he was indeed paid to take a dive.
At 62-years old, and after a 20-year absence, Mickey Rourke was able to bring himself back to fighting form, at least for one night. That should be inspirational enough.
Stay tuned for Part 2.
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