WIP deserves a lot of credit for the GOAT of Broad Street list. They generated content and controversy by letting the fans do their thing.
There are plenty of issues with the list, but perhaps the most glaring is the omission of one of the premier Philadelphia athletes, whose career spanned 28 years. In that span he became one of his sport’s greatest champions and owns several records. Philadelphia forgot about Bernard Hopkins.
That’s right. Bernard Hopkins, according to the Philadelphia fan base, is not of one of the 20 greatest athletes of the last 50 years from the city. Frankly that’s just wrong. I’ve said so on Twitter, and I even called in (first time in a long time) to say that list was incomplete without Hopkins. The reasons as to why Bernard Hopkins belongs on the list is nearly is along as his career. So let’s go through some of the reasons.
After Hopkins was released from jail in 1988 he jumped into the ring, losing his pro debut. He wouldn’t lose again until 1993, against the legendary pound for pound great Roy Jones Jr. His career from then on would be mostly wins with a rare loss here and there. Through his 28 year long career he would only lose 8 times. Over his 67 pro fights, he had 36 fights that had a world title on the line. That means Hopkins spent 53% of his career with a title on the line. The majority of one of the longest careers of a pro athlete ever was spent at the top of the food chain in both the middleweight and light heavyweight division. He’s also the oldest boxer ever at the age of 49 to hold a world title.
Only Bobby Clarke can touch Hopkins’s career longevity, and that’s if you include his time as the Flyers general manager and senior vice president.
Strength of Competiton
We don’t need a ton of words of this one. It’s just a list of world champions that Bernard Hopkins faced in his career.
Sergey Kovalev, Beibut Shumenov, Tavoris Cloud, Chad Dawson twice, Jean Pascal twice, Roy Jones Jr. twice, Kelly Pavlik, Joe Calzaghe, Ronald “Winky” Wright, Antonio Tarver, Jermain Taylor, Oscar De La Hoya, Robert Allen three times, William Joppy, Felix Trinidad, Keith Holmes, Glen Johnson, and John David Jackson. That’s 23 fights against the very best competition has to offer.
Considering the nature of boxing, Hopkins facing this many quality opponents and beating the majority of them is astounding.
Records & Accolades
As mentioned before Hopkins is the oldest man to own a world title. During his time in the ring he was regarded as one of the smartest and best defensive fighters in boxing. He defended the IBF middleweight title 20 times against 17 different fighters, which are both records. He was named Fighter of the Year by The Ring Magazine and the Boxing Writers Association in 2001. In 2004 he defeated Oscar De Lay Hoya to become the first man ever to hold the world title of all four major sanctioning bodies of boxing. The Ring has him ranked 3rd on their list of best middleweights of the last 50 years, and Boxrec.com has Hopkins as their 7th best pound for pound fighter ever. He was also a lineal light heavyweight champion as well.
He along with Smokin Joe Fraizer, who should’ve finished higher than 13th should be remembered and revered more by the Philly faithful. Frazier was twice in the consensus fight of the year, (with the Thrilla in Manilla being one of the greatest fights of all time,) and was the winner of the Fight of the Century, where he beat Muhammad Ali. Both men excelled in ways against top competition in ways the other members of the GOAT list can’t possibly match.
On the next list, the fans must do better. Presently you can all start with supporting the Philly fighters all in line for world title opportunities like Tevin Farmer, Danny Garcia, Stephen Fulton, Jaron “Boots” Ennis, and Julian Williams who are all in line. You could also check out local shows and see some fantastic athletes at shows like Joe Hand’s Xcite Fight Night’s at Parx Casino, Ragin Babe’s “Philly Special”, and the others that pop up in and around the are.
Philadelphia was a boxing town, and it will be again.