Convicted Artist Magazine

Dec 14th
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boxing-veteran-starsThere are a handful of fighters today, who happily surprise me, by continuing on.  I don’t mean fighters like Antwun Echols, Evander Holyfield, or Vivian Harris.  Those are fighters who should stop, but can’t get the hint.  I am talking about fighters that remain vital, long after we thought they would slip, and stop.  Let’s look at a few:

Bernard Hopkins – Not only did we think he’d be done by now, we thought he’d be in the hall by now!  It was impressive that he was able to beat Trinidad at 36!  That was his career starting, not culminating nicely, as we all thought might be happening.  His impressive credentials since then include reaching 20 defenses, stopping the hot streaks of Winky Wright and Kelly Pavlik, and twice winning the legitimate Light Heavyweight championship.  He’s not even done yet.  It may look as if he is, but we’ve made that mistake too many times before.

Guillermo Jones - Most inactive Don King fighters, would have rotted on the vine long ago.  Jones has never been a picture of activity, but it took him 3 years to receive a mandated shot at the WBA Cruiserweight title, and 2 more years to make his first defense.  Yet he continues to win, and win impressively.  He tops it off by continuously looking as if the layoffs do not affect him at all.  The tall Panamanian came closer than anyone, except maybe Victor Polo, to winning a world title 3 times (1 Sd, 2 draws), and now that he has won a belt, he seems to only be hitting his stride at 38.  Too bad the Sauerlands control the top 2 fighters in the division, neither of whom seems likely to risk anything for a bout with Jones.

Juan Manuel Marquez – This is a man approaching his 20th year in boxing, and we’ve been anticipating his downslide for quite a while now.  Like Jones, he was ducked for many years.  He may have seen his peak disappear, but for genetics, defensive ability, and conditioning, he has not.  Marquez has shown the ability to be in barn-burners at the top level, and come back even stronger the next time.  He also is entertaining, while not sacrificing his craft.  Anyone who is still giving a pound-for-pound great a close, even fight is doing something right.  There are those who feel his only legitimate (and certainly his only clear-cut) loss was to Floyd Mayweather, which does not dimish his standing in the least.

Chris Strait

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