As fight fans are aware, world middleweight king Gennady Golovkin will break the world record of consecutive world title retentions at 160 pounds if he can defeat arch-rival Canelo Alvarez tomorrow night in Las Vegas. The record currently stands at an incredible 20 successful defences at middleweight and the holder of the record is Philly legend and all-time great Bernard Hopkins. And Hopkins will be right there to see if GGG can top his once seemingly all but untouchable record tomorrow.
But even if GGG does make a succesful 21st world title defence, will this have any impact on how history remembers Hopkins? Is there any chance Golovkin will go on to become recognised as a greater overall fighter than Hopkins?
Let’s take a look at some of Hopkins’ biggest and best wins that came when he was busy retaining his world middleweight crown, and let’s also take a look at Triple-G’s biggest and best whilst doing the same:
Hopkins, who won the IBF middleweight belt in 1995 by beating Segundo Mercado (after being held to a draw by Mercado in a previous fight that same year), has amongst his highlights, wins over: (chronological order) Glen Johnson (for the longest time Hopkins was the only man to have ever stopped the seriously tough Johnson), Keith Holmes, Felix Trinidad (arguably Hopkins’ finest hour), William Joppy and (in a huge fight) Oscar De La Hoya. Hopkins’ long reign was controversially ended by Jermain Taylor, with plenty of people feeling the decision that went Taylor’s way shouldn’t have.
Golovkin, who won the WBA middleweight title in 2010 by beating Nilson Julio Tapia, has amongst his highlights, wins over: Matthew Macklin, Daniel Geale, Martin Murray, David Lemieux, Kell Brook and Danny Jacobs – with the draw with Canelo (and most fans feeling this was really a win, or at least should have been).
It’s easy to see Hopkins has the far more impressive resume, with two wins over Hall of Famers (Trinidad and De La Hoya – both stoppage wins) and wins over very good fighters in Johnson and Holmes. GGG by comparison has no standout win and no win over a Hall of Fame fighter, not yet anyway. Right now, Golovkin’s biggest fight, his biggest name and his biggest result, is the draw with Canelo. It’s clear to see how badly Golovkin needs the win tomorrow, legacy wise.
Even if GGG does defeat Canelo in Vegas in just a few hours, the greatness of the, well, great Bernard Hopkins will not be affected much at all. In fact, some would say not in the slightest.