Re: Bernard Hopkins vs Charley Burley
I was playing devil's advocate here. Old-school Bernard Hopkins is in a way our window into the past. Hopkins was fit his entire life in and out of the ring, and a premiere example of craft, and he has shown amazing longevity to the point where people aren't even sure when his prime was.
We can see firsthand that while he has physically dropped off, he has compensated with his craft. That class has seen him win over a punching workhorse like Pavlik, and a primed physically gifted Jean Pascal.
The lungs of Pavlik and the physical presence of Pascal couldn't bring them victory over this wily old man. Their numerous physical advantages were not enough, in Pavlik's case not by a long shot.
My honest opinion is that while athletes are definitely physically sharper than athletes in the past were on average on match day, that doesn't negate the wealth of experience they possessed. Boxing is funny that way. Seems so physical, but in reality it's such a mental sport. True toughness, the grit to see through to victory, the discipline to do the work in the gym, the craft to exploit your opponents weaknesses and the mental game to be a step ahead of your opponent.
This is what I love about the sport.
People look at me funny when I say I dislike Micky Ward against Arturo Gatti. It turns my stomach at times. Barrera against Morales, now we're talking.