There’s been a trend in recent years in the sport of boxing. That trend starts at the light welterweight division and flows all the way up to, now, the light heavyweight division. It goes something like this. Win a big fight then call out Floyd Mayweather. Light Heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins is the latest to jump on the list after he successfully defended his title Saturday night in Atlantic City by defeating Karo Murat. Hopkins said he would be willing to face Floyd at 160. Most people called him crazy. Is it? When it comes to a possible fight between Mayweather and Hopkins there are some very obstacles in the way.
The first and biggest problem in even discussing this fight is the issue of weight. Hopkins has been fighting at 168-175 for the last six to seven years. He’s grown into that weight class. This isn’t the Bernard Hopkins that fought De La Hoya or Trinidad at 160. He’s bigger, stronger, and though he claims he can make 160 to fight Mayweather, the truth is he would very big in that ring going up against Floyd Mayweather. Unfairly big in most people’s eyes. By building his body up for the light heavyweight division he has been taking shots from bigger opponents, and dishing out some heavy ones as well. He has legit 175 power now.
It’s not just Hopkins size that poses a problem, it’s Floyd weight and size as well. At 5’8, Mayweather is a legitimate 147 pound fighter. He doesn’t suck water weight to make weight nor does he gain an obscene amount of weight overnight after the weigh-ins. Mayweather’s camp says that he struggled to get to 151 to face Canelo. The morning of the fight against Canelo he had actually lost four pounds overnight. If Mayweather dieted and sucked water weight like most fighters do he would be fighting at 140, maybe even 135. Mayweather has had three fights at 154, and in none of them as he come in over 151. So even if Hopkins could make 160 Floyd wouldn’t be able to get to 155 to be a legit middleweight.
It’s not just the ability to get Mayweather and Hopkins the same weight that makes this fight nearly impossible to make but it’s the power that it has among boxing fans to make it a fight that people will want to buy. Hopkins definitely has the size and style to give Floyd a problem in the ring. The problem is that most of Hopkins’s fights come off to people as boring. (Although Saturday night he probably had one of the most exciting fights that anyone has seen from him in years). The general consensus though is that a Mayweather-Hopkins fight puts two very tactical, boring styles up against each other that no one would want to see. Would people “buy” into it?
If by some miracle Floyd’s camp did say they could make 160 then the biggest question of all comes to light. Is Hopkins the best available opponent there? Does he draw the interest of the fans more than anyone else at 160? By opening up the floor to opponents at the 160 weight class the door opens widely for guys like Sergio Martinez, Gennady Golovkin, and Andre Ward. And while all those fighters fight on HBO, they are not with Top Rank Promotions and could easily jump over to Showtime for a Floyd fight if the opportunity presented itself. While a Hopkins fight would likely sell well, chances are all the above opponents would sell a lot better. Mayweather-Martinez, Mayweather-Golovkin, and Mayweather-Ward are all fights that most people would rather see over a fight against Hopkins. The fans would not be happy if Floyd jumped to 160 to face someone like Hopkins when there are better opponent available for him there. If Mayweather’s camp did say he could make 160 and he wants to fight at that weight, Hopkins isn’t going to be the fight that people will be calling for.
Another thing that people need to think about is that is this a fight Floyd actually wants? Mayweather likely knows about Hopkins’ dirty tactics, unorthodox style, and his defensive tricks. The size and height alone is enough to make him not interested. Now add his style of fighting and Floyd is likely to say “no thanks”. Floyd isn’t exactly known for his “I’ll take a chance on this fight” mentality. It’s always been about the more money, less risk factor. There are less complicated fights out there to make with just as much money on the table.
Is the fight impossible to make? No, not impossible. Both are with Golden Boy and Showtime and if Floyd did say he would fight at 160 the door is open. Would it sell? It could probably do 1.5 million PPV buys. Hopkins is a known name and even though the styles against each other would likely be boring, it would be intriguing. Is it absurd to think it can happen? Not really. Is it likely that it’ll happen? No. At least not anytime soon. Floyd isn’t going to fight at 160 in 2014. Maybe a few years down the road Floyd won’t be able to hold the weight down and he will start fighting at 154-160 where the fight could be talked about. Right now though any talk of a Mayweather-Hopkins fight is nonsense.