Bernard Hopkins: Leader of the OId School

Jarred PowellCorrespondent IApril 17, 2009

LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 24:  Shane Mosley stands with Bernard Hopkins after his ninth round TKO of Antonio Margarito after his corner threw in the towel during their WBA welterweight title fight on January 24, 2009 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Today in sports, athletes are able to have longevity in their careers in large part because of changes and advancements in medicine. With this, a serious question comes to mind: "who's the best athlete in sports over 35-years-old?"

One example of an older athlete that continues to succeed is Shaquille O'Neal. He's having a stellar year at the age of 36. He made the All-Star team and, with the injuries to Amare Stoudemire and Steve Nash, he kept the Suns close in the playoff hunt.

The list goes on: 37-year-old Kurt Warner just led the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl, George Foreman became the oldest heavyweight champion at 45, and Jack Nickalus finished sixth at the Masters at 58.

All these feats are great, but they pale in comparison to two athletes, Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins and Sugar Shane Mosley.

Hopkins has done his best work after he was supposedly "over the hill." He knocked out Felix Trinidad at a time when Trinidad was moving up divisions and destroying everyone in his path.

He followed this win up with a seventh round knockout win against Oscar De La Hoya. This put Hopkins on the map and atop the pound-for-pound rankings.

Along the way to super stardom, Hopkins became the oldest fighter to hold the Middleweight crown. 

He then proceeded to move up in weight and, at 41, became the Light Heavyweight Champion of the World, solidifying his legend even more and then beating a younger, stronger Kelly Pavlik in a 12-round decision.

Mosley has defeated Oscar De La Hoya twice and has fought every challenger in career. He gave us the first superfight upset this year when he beat the virtually unstoppable Antonio Margarito, who was headed for super stardom. 

What makes Hopkins and Mosely so unique is that they have done this with a high level of consistency. Hopkins made a record 20 consecutive title defenses in the Middleweight division before moving up in weight and taking on a younger champion. Mosley has been on a high level since day one and and hasn't stopped at all. They both have had their fair share of doubters and they both have succeeded. 

Mosley and Hopkins also have another thing in common: they're partners with Oscar De La Hoya in Golden Boy Promotions. This gives them something to do when they're done boxing. They can also help other younger fighters get a fair shake with promotions for their fights.

Father Time eventually catches up with all of us, but Hopkins has proven that you can't keep a good man down. Through their careers, they have shown an extreme amount of respect and have had it shown back to them. They're going stronger now then they were when they were younger. In the end, you can't teach an old dog new tricks.