Home Columns Middleweight Fantasy Fight: Marvin Hagler vs Bernard Hopkins

Middleweight Fantasy Fight: Marvin Hagler vs Bernard Hopkins

This is the first in a series of fantasy fight matchups that we will be taking a look at. The goal? Match up a fighter from this generation with a fighter in his weight class from a past generation and see who would have the edge. The fight is to be held at their common weight class, with both fighters in their prime. First up, is one of the classic weight divisions in boxing, the middleweight division, and two of the greatest to ever reign as champion there, Marvin Hagler and Bernard Hopkins.

The Fighters:

Marvelous Marvin Hagler

  • Height: 5’9 ½” Reach: 75”
  • Record: 62 (52) – 3 – 2
  • Middleweight Title Reign: 7 years, 12 successful defenses, including wins over Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran, Mustafo Hamso, Vito Antuofermo and John Mugabi

Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins

  • Height: 6’1’” Reach: 75”
  • Record: 49 (32) – 5 – 1
  • Middleweight Title Reign: 10 years, 20 successful defenses, including wins over Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya, Glen Johnson, Simon Brown, Antwun Echols and William Joppy

The Fight

Both men were great champions and both would have something in their game that could challenge the other one greatly. Hopkins reign was longer, but Hagler fought the far tougher opposition.

Whereas most fighters struggle against southpaws, Hopkins thrives against them. So he would surely have a sound game plan to counteract Hagler’s southpaw stance. However, Hagler often mixed it up as a righty and was nearly equally comfortable in either position.

Hopkins has a large height advantage, but does not have any reach advantage. What he does have in his favor is defensive ability, guile and all around boxing ability. Hagler on the other hand is a far superior puncher and a more aggressive fighter.

Hagler, knowing that Hopkins fares well against lefties, would undoubtedly open up the fight in an orthodox posture. Hopkins though would likely be prepared for this as well, and both men would start off the fight slowly. For Hopkins, this is his usual style of fighting, for Hagler, it’s a strategy that would cost him dearly against Ray Leonard.

As Hagler moves forward, Hopkins best chance of success is a lead right hand, whether Hagler is a southpaw or a righty. It’s one of Hopkins’ best punches, and he could land it as a counter shot while Hagler was working his way inside. Unfortunately for Hopkins, Hagler had a chin that could withstand thunderous blows from the likes of Tommy Hearns and would be undeterred by the comparatively weak shots of Bernard Hopkins.

Hopkins however would be able to make Hagler miss more than he is accustomed to, by using a combination of angles, head fakes and twists. When Hagler misses, Hopkins would capitalize by tying him up and trying to rough him up with short blows to the body during the clinch. This could potentially take Hagler out of his game plan as well.

Hagler though is not a man easily deterred. He defines the ability to power through obstacles while keeping on fighting and applying pressure. He would never land anything clean enough to seriously hurt the defensive Hopkins, but he would land enough shots and throw enough shots more to win the majority of the close rounds. Hagler by unanimous decision over Hopkins.

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Matt Taylor is a boxing enthusiast and fan who has been interested and involved within the sport for over 15 years. He loves watching and analysing fights from all over the world and is a big fan of the Heavyweight division.