Is Hopkins’ Boxing Record Really That Much Better Than Calzaghe’s?

19.04.08 - By James Barlow: I’ve read and heard a lot of talk on various boxing web sites debating the boxing records of Bernard Hopkins compared to Joe Calzaghe. Even Hopkins and Calzaghe have also been discussing each others records. Everyone has an opinion but I have been analyzing each boxer’s credentials and want to expel a few myths..

Firstly was Tito Trinidad comfortable at middleweight? Hopkins and his fans seem to talk the Trinidad fight up a lot. Hopkins has been quoted in identifying the fact that he was a major underdog in the fight and many class this fight as Hopkins overcoming a fellow boxing superstar and future hall of famer. However there are some out there who try and discredit this by stating that Tito was a natural welterweight and was never really comfortable at middle weight. So was Tito a middleweight? Yero Moody discussed this in his recent article on ESB (Hopklins v. Calzaghe: The Breakdown and the Prediction). Moody reasoned that Tito was natural at middleweight because he had beaten middleweight William Joppy. This for me is like saying Roy Jones Jr was a natural heavy weight because he beat John Ruiz. But let’s look at the facts. Tito spent his whole career up until 2000 below the light middle weight division. His last fight at welter weight was a victory over De La Hoya. He then fought at light Middle where his managed to take his power up with him and defeated David Reid who is 5”9 tall, Mamadou Thiam also 5”9 and Vargas 5”10. Then he moved up to take on Joppy who is 5”9. Then came the money spinner against Hopkins which he lost... Hopkins is 6”1 tall and is now very comfortable a light heavy weight. Tito carried on toiling above light middle and has won just 2 of his last 5. In my opinion in his last fight against Roy Jones Jr he gave a very good account of himself for a boxer who had been out of the ring for almost 3 years but you could see due to the size difference between him and Jones Jr he was never going to be effective. I don’t doubt for one second the skill of Trinidad, in fact I would love to see him get back down to light middle where he could be effective again and carry on boxing. But was he natural at middleweight? Clearly not.

Next up, Joe Calzaghe has only ever fought sub standard European opposition. I really don’t get this one. Calzaghe has fought Omar Sheika from the U.S, Charles Brewer (former I.B.F Super middleweight champion), Byron Mitchell (2 time W.B.A Champion and would be I.B.F champion were it not for a dreadful decision against Sven Otkke in Germany) and the supposed future of boxing and heavy favorite Jeff Lacey (was current I.B.F Champion). All of the above were in my opinion a good class of American opposition. And although Kessler was European anyone who might suggest he was sub standard does not know about boxing. Chris Eubank although past his peak, Robin Reid, Richie Woodall and Sakio Bika were all also in my opinion of a good standard, three of these have held versions of the super middleweight title at some point in their careers. So has Joe Calzaghe only fought sub standard European opposition clearly not.

So is Hopkins record is better than Calzaghe’s, or vise versa. I’ve got these to dead level in my opinion. Yes Hopkins has fought the better skilled boxers and future hall of famers in De La Hoya and Trinidad, but yes they were out of their weight classes. If B-Hop had have avenged his lose to Jones Jr and have beat Calzaghe around the same period instead of fighting these blown up Welters then I think his record to the boxing purist would look a lot better. However you still have to give him some credit for these victories as with their skills even out their comfort zones De La Hoya and Trinidad still posed a threat. Then you come to Calzaghe. No he has not fought any future hall of famers. But he has fought the best at his weight class and has never come unstuck.

Who’s got the best record? Who cares! These are both mega stars of boxing, with millions fans over both sides of the pond. This is boxing at its very best and I can’t wait!

Article posted on 19.04.2008

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