Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Our columnist reckons he can take on Bernard Hopkins, the world's oldest boxing champion, with a little bit of preparation.
Our columnist reckons he can take on Bernard Hopkins, the world's oldest boxing champion, with a little bit of preparation.

Bernard Hopkins as champion is absurd comedy best left to Rocky

I'm all for nonsensical movies like Rocky but it's not funny when a 46 year old wins a boxing fight in reality.

Did you catch the last Rocky film when it came out a few years ago? If not, don't worry. It's rubbish.

Now, I like a good nonsensical sporting movie as much as the next guy. The sillier, the better.

Take Escape to Victory, for example. A group of Allied POWs get a chance to play the Germans in a football match at the height of World War 2. Guess who wins. Complete drivel, yet great fun.

But you have to draw the line at Sylvester Stallone's most famous character getting one last crack at a world heavyweight belt when he should have been drawing a pension.

The idea of some codger putting on the gloves for one final fight is just ridiculous.

Then at the weekend, an American named Bernard Hopkins became the oldest boxing world champion, at the age of 46.

What does it say about the state of supposedly the hardest game in the world when one of its best is a middle-aged bloke? Not a lot, as it happens.

Please don't think I'm being ageist. If Tom Watson, at 64, had won the British Open two years ago, it would have been arguably the greatest sporting achievement of them all.

But that's golf. It's not out of the realms of reality that a veteran such as Watson would still have four good rounds in him. A boxer at 46 shouldn't be allowed to have four average rounds in him before he was knocked cold to the canvas.

Yet Hopkins, six months older than George Foreman when he became heavyweight champion of the world in 1994, beat Canada's Jean Pascal at the weekend to win the WBC and IBO light-heavyweight titles. He won by a unanimous decision after 12 less-than-engrossing rounds.

Pascal, 28, was the reigning four-time champion, no less, and was well beaten. The guy is clearly a clown and while boxing has always had its paper champions, surely at this level there should not be room for someone who loses to a supposed has-been 18 years older than him.

Oh, and did I mention that before the bell sounded for Round 7, Hopkins goaded his young opponent by doing press-ups in the middle of the ring? That's not boxing, that's a scene cut from that last Rocky film because even Sly thought it a bit much.

Said Hopkins: "I knew it was going to be tough, but I wasn't going to be denied. You're meant to win titles in your 20s, not 46."

And that is the point.

There is nothing wrong with fairy-tale endings, but the pugilist art form is struggling when this can happen.

Hopkins, who comes across as a nice man, has enjoyed a decent career and fought, among others, Roy Jones Jr, Felix Trinidad, Oscar de la Hoya and Joe Calzaghe. Most of these guys have since retired, incidentally.

Nothing personal, Bernard, it's just that with a bit of training I reckon I could give you a fight. There's probably a decent film in that idea.

>>>

European club rugby has never been stronger. Saturday's Heineken Cup Final was the best in the competition's history. It had a bit of everything; the players of both champions Leinster and gallant losers Northampton should take a bow - if they have the energy.

The English side were 22-6 ahead at half-time after a thrilling, 40-minute display of superb rugby union that culminated in three tries.

But in what will surely go down as the game's greatest comeback, the men from Dublin racked up 26 unanswered points after half time with three tries of their own. They won 33-22. It was amazing stuff.

And why was this such a classic? Because both teams played quick passing and attacking rugby in an attempt to get over the game line.

Neither was content to take the ball to ground in the hope of winning a penalty, which has been the tactic of far too many international teams. This year's Six Nations was full of such negative play.

Rugby is at its best when the ball is moved around the backs, players try to run past opponents and dummies are sold all over the place. Rugby was at its best at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

If Manchester United and Barcelona can come close to reaching these heights in the football equivalent this Saturday, then we are in for a treat.

 

ncameron@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

 Rolling out the structure for the set. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

Star Wars: Episode VII evidence in Abu Dhabi desert

After more than a week of speculation, The National has what are believed to be the first photos of a Star Wars shoot in the Abu Dhabi desert.

 Children walk past an Indian voter awareness mural in Mumbai ahead of the sixth phase of India’s national elections. Indranil Mukherjee / AFP

Inside India: Election, Promoting the Vote

A view of news and daily life on the Indian subcontinent for the week of April 10, 2014.

 INVERNESS, SCOTLAND - APRIL 16:  A general view of Urquhart Castle, Drumnadrochit on April 16, 2014 in Scotland. A referendum on whether Scotland should be an independent country will take place on September 18, 2014.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Map of seperatist movements around the world

The conflict in Ukraine is a classic example of competing aspirations and identities – here’s a look at seperatist movements around the world.

 Hassan Abdullah, who goes by the name Abu Mahmoud, an Emirati fisherman, poses for a portrait at the Al Rughayalat Port. Abu Mahmoud was born and raised in Fujairah city and has been working as a fisherman since 1968. “I’m a shark man”, he says, “I was born in the sea.” Silvia Razgova / The National

In pictures: Fishing communities in the Northern Emirates

Fishermen in Fujairah and Umm Al Qaiwain worry that new regulations to protect fish stocks are harming their trade. We look at both communities through the lens of our photographers.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National