Convicted Artist Magazine

Oct 17th
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older-fightersWe are all motivated when a hall-of-fame fighter can turn back the clock for one last great performance… but more often than not, they do not simply take a bow, and move on.  Much of my writing has to do with when to say when.  It may seem like an odd thing for a fight fan to care about, but I‘ll tell you this.  There are many good fighters out there not getting TV or promoter attention, which translates to fan attention.  Much of that has to do with older, more well-known fighters, never stepping aside.  The meal is over, and the check is paid, so get up!  We need the table!  Erik Morales should be listening now.  His “belt”-winning win in his last fight should be his exit.  Instead he will most certainly go on until he embarrasses himself.  When will they learn?  Here are a few who didn’t.

Mark Too Sharp Johnson – After dominating the Flyweight division for years, the D.C. slickster moved up to Super Fly and continued to dominate.  After suffering two defeats at the hands of then unheralded Rafael Marquez, he rebounded with a win over then unbeaten Fernando Montiel for another world title belt.  This HBO-televised victory would have been a fitting end to his great career.  He was in his mid-30's, had successful businesses running, and did not need the fight game.  Instead, he hung out a bit too long.  Plagued by weight problems and inacitivity, he ended his career with two stoppage losses to Ivan Hernandez and Jhonny Gonzalez.

George Foreman – His record for 'oldest champion' may be gone, but the events that surrounded it guaranteed that his triumph remains one of the greatest in boxing history.  Nearly 20 years to the day after his epic loss to Muhammad Ali, and after a ten year hiatus from the ring, 45 year old “Big” George KO’s Michael Moorer to win the legit heavyweight title.   His career momentum afterwards, however, was bizarre.  Questionable decision wins over Axel Schulz and Lou Savarese followed, in addition to one dominating win over Crawford Grimsley.  This path sullied the heavyweight championship.  His belts were stripped for not defending against more legit contenders, and he finally lost on a lousy decision to Shannon Briggs.  His post-Moorer opponents almost universally embarrassed themselves in their very next fight, usually suffering humiliating KO defeats.  He never even got to announce a retirement… instead having his lack of activity speak for itself.

Bernard Hopkins – While he never had a crushing defeat to tell him time was wearing thin, Father Time was supposed to have done it for him.  Longer gaps of inactivity were becoming the norm for “The Executioner”.  When he did fight, he beat Winky Wright and Kelly Pavlik when no one else was able to, and even his losses to Taylor (2) and Calzaghe were competitive.  However, at a certain point, it isn’t going to get any better than a certain accolade.  Winning the light heavyweight championship from Jean Pascal at age 46 was that moment.  He stood to gain nothing by fighting Chad Dawson, and still does not.  If they get a legit champion at Super Middle or Cruiser, maybe he has a reason to fight again.  Even so, will it move his mark in history if he wins more titles?

Who did it right: Michael Carbajal, Joe Calzaghe.  Ivan Calderon and Jorge Arce if they quit now!

Chris Strait

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