This weekend Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin brings his big drama show to Japan as he defends his IBF middleweight world title against former world champion, Ryota Murata. The fight was originally pencilled in for Dec. 29 2020, but Covid protocols in Japan delayed the bout. GGG will be 40 years old when he steps into the ring this weekend as he makes his second defence of his world title, which he won in 2019.
Here are 5 of the oldest boxers in history to prove age is just a number, and win world honours.
Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin – 37 years old.
GGG is still considered one of the most fearsome punchers in boxing. A career which began in 2006, GGG has an outstanding record of 41-1-1, 36 knockouts. GGG won his first world title in 2010, at the age of 27, where he dispatched Milton Nunez in a round. Over the years, GGG knocked out every man put in front of him until he faced Daniel Jacobs in 2017, where he outpointed Jacobs in a close fight. Next up was the dream fight with Canelo Alvarez. By this time, GGG held three of the four main titles, with the WBO belt being the only one that eluded him. The Canelo fight ended in a controversial draw, then a year later, GGG lost his belts in a rematch with Canelo in an equally controversial decision. In 2019, GGG found himself sharing the ring with Sergiy Derevyanchenko, where he won the IBF world middleweight title on a points decision at the age of 37.
Roberto Duran – 37 years old.
The legendary Roberto Duran held world titles in four weight divisions along his illustrious career. Duran’s first world title came in the lightweight division, where he came in as a 2-to-1 underdog and scored a 13th round knockout against Scotland’s Ken Buchannan in controversial fashion for the WBA world title back in 1972. Duran climbed the weight classes winning world titles. It was in 1989 when Duran won his final world title. At the age of 37, Duran would win the WBC Middleweight title, via split decision against Iran Barkley. Duran fought on until 2001, before officially retiring in 2002 with a record of 103-16, 70 knockouts.
Manny Pacquiao – 40 years old.
Manny Pacquiao is a name familiar to any sports fan. Pacquiao had one of the most successful careers in the sport as he held world titles in eight divisions. Pacquiao’s first world title came in 1998, where he stepped in at late notice to fight Chatchai Sasakul. Pacquiao was a bit of an unknown commodity at this stage, but announced himself on the world stage as he stopped Sasakul in eight rounds to win the WBC World Fly title. Like Duran, Pacquiao climbed the weight divisions, competing in mega fights, such as a famous four fights with Juan Manuel Marquez. Pacquiao had his dream fight with Floyd Mayweather in 2015, but was on the wrong end of the decision in an underwhelming fight. Everyone thought Pacquiao was done, but in 2016, he defeated Jessie Vargas for the WBO welterweight title. Pacquiao lost this title to Jeff Horn in 2017. Pacquiao would go on to win another major world title in 2019, as he defeated Keith Thurman for the WBA Super world welterweight title at the age of 40. Pacquiao lost this belt to Yordenis Ugas in 2021 and announced his retirement afterwards.
George Foreman – 46 years old
Well renowned as one of boxings biggest punchers, George Foreman had two world title reigns across his career, along with an Olympic gold medal in the amateurs. A pro career that began in 1969, Foreman went unbeaten for four years, putting him in the seat fight for a world title. Foreman famously knocked out Joe Frazier in two rounds in Jamaica, capturing both the WBC and WBA world heavyweight titles. However, Foreman would lose these belts in 1974, as he was knocked out by Muhammad Ali. Foreman’s next world title victory didn’t come until 1994, as he knocked out Michael Moorer for the IBF world title at the age of 46. Foreman didn’t lose his belt until he faced Shannon Briggs in 1997, where he lost by decision, prompting him to call time on his historic career.
Bernard Hopkins – 49 years old
In a career that spanned for 28 years, Bernard Hopkins held multiple world titles. Hopkins was unsuccessful in his first world title fight as he lost to Roy Jones Jr on points in 1993. In his second attempt, he found himself getting a draw against Segundo Mercado in 1994, but in a rematch a year later, Hopkins captured his first world title, stopping Mercado in seven rounds for the IBF world middleweight title. Hopkins held the IBF title for 10 years, and picked up the WBA, WBO and WBC titles along the way, but came up short in a unification bout against Jermain Taylor. Hopkins would win the IBF World light heavy title in 2013 outpointing Tavoris Cloud, then in 2014, Hopkins defeated Beibut Shumenov to unify the IBF and WBA super light heavyweight titles at the age of 49. Hopkins would lose the belts in his next fight to Sergey Kovalev, before losing a retirement fight to Joe Smith Jr in 2016.