Boxing Fundamentals Never Expire

In my last entry, I discussed pursuing the sport of boxing at an older age. As mentioned, boxing is regarded as a young man’s sport but there are certainly fighters who have excelled despite a late start. On a similar note, there are also boxers who have defied age by continuing their careers far beyond what anyone could have predicted.

Bernard Hopkins and the Fundamentals

Bernard Hopkins is undoubtedly the poster child of this phenomenon. He has been fighting professionally for over 25 years. It is almost difficult to believe that Bernard is just a few months shy of 50 years old. His ability to continue fighting at such a high level is beyond impressive. It is awe inspiring.

As for the secrets to his success, Bernard has obviously taken care of himself outside the ring. He stays in shape, lives a clean life, and truly epitomizes the definition of a┬áconsummate professional fighter. These aspects of Bernard’s life are well documented and have been discussed many times before.

From a longevity perspective however, what does not get enough attention is Bernard’s boxing style. He is clearly a fighter who is well schooled in the fundamentals of the sweet science. Bernard’s 25+ year professional career is not based solely on athletic ability. He may have slowed down physically but his boxing IQ has allowed him to continue fighting at the highest level.

Roy Jones vs. Bernard Hopkins

In the video below, Naazim Richardson highlights this aspect of Bernard’s amazing career. He compares the contrasting styles of Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones. Roy was clearly a fighter who thrived on athleticism. As a young fighter, Roy had unique physical qualities that could not be taught.

As those physical gifts began to fade however, so did Roy’s effectiveness. The dominant Roy Jones who thrived in the 1990s has been gone for a long time. Conversely, Bernard Hopkins has had some of his best career moments as a 40+ year old fighter.

And while Bernard is certainly a rare case, all fighters can learn from him. It is always great to have natural athletic abilities, but it is even better when those abilities are combined with boxing intelligence. There will always be another fighter who is just as strong or just as fast as you. It is during those times when you must rely on the fundamental skills that have given boxing its well deserved title as the sweet science.

Final Thoughts

Bernard Hopkins is a testament to the fact that acquired boxing knowledge and skill will last much longer than any athletic abilities that you may have been blessed with as a youngster. If you wish to stick around, I suggest that you learn from his example. The blueprint is there to be followed and you will never outgrow the fundamentals.




  1. Enjoyed the article Ross, Ive been saying the exact same thing to people for years, its great to be blessed with 10/10 physical abilities for speed and power which are way above normal, but if thats what your style of boxing is primarily based on, then when you age and slow down, you tend to struggle. I think the same can be said for Pacquiao in my opinion, back when he was a step quicker, fundamental mistakes didnt cost him as much as they did now, and he looked alot more affect and dominant.

    The good thing about boxing is that its a weight category based sport, you dont need to be the size of an NFL player to be successful, because there is a weight category for everyone, and there are plenty of examples tall or short fighters being successful. There are also loads of fighters that seem more blessed with explosive and fast fast-twitch muscle fibres and use this to thier advantage, along with loads of successful fighters that seem more dominant with slow twitch, but have a high punch output and use this to their advantage. Along with that, there are plenty of examples where a very high skill level is the dominant characteristic of a boxers style, with tons of other variables also playing a role. I think thats the good thing about boxing, you dont need to be in the top 1-3% of the population with in terms of genetic gifts with a specific body type to part-take at a high level, like you do in some sports. Not to say that being physically gifted help alot tho!

  2. Heh, you know it makes a lot of sense why people in the tourney fighting community have better and better fights as they get more practice. Because in that community ALL that matters is how well you can execute technique consistently, not necessarily how fast you can input things (though obviously it matters for people who like to play characters with longer inputs for moves…) But enough off topic chatter, it’s the same in jiujitsu. Strength and speed aren’t going to consistently win matches there, technique will even when strength and speed give you what I like to call a spot of forgiveness.

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