“I’m like fine wine, I get better with age.”
While most professional boxers’ careers are winding down as they near their mid-30’s, there are the select few who continue dominating their opponents despite flirting with, and even surpassing, the big 4-0.
45-year-old George Foreman won the world heavyweight championship by beating Michael Moorer in 1994; and Bernard Hopkins became the oldest world champion in boxing history at the age 48 by outpointing IBF champ Tavoris Cloud.
Genetics and lifestyle choices have a lot to do with it. As does fighting style– a highly defensive boxer like Floyd Mayweather Jr. will naturally have a longer shelf-life than a human punching bag like Ruslan Provodnikov.
World heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, 39 years old, shows no sign of slowing down as he nears middle age. Klitschko, who fights Bryant Jennings tonight at Madison Square Garden in New York City, is coming off one of his most exciting wins, pulverizing Kubrat Pulev with a fifth-round knockout in November 2014.
Klitschko’s eight-year reign as a titleholder is second only to Joe Louis’s record of 11 years. But how many fights does Dr Steelhammer have left?
“Boxing in the last decade, I was going from fight to fight,” Klitschko told SI NOW. “You cannot really plan long term. I think health and motivations are two points that are important in sports. If one of them is missing, then there will be no continuing.”
Check out these other champs that demonstrate that age is an issue mind over matter….if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter: