Bernard Hopkins proved that despite the extreme physicality of boxing, fighters can still defy the limits of normal men to excel in the sport late into their careers. His world title victory over Jean Pascal set the precedent for what boxers of the future can achieve.
There are plenty of talented boxers in the ranks today with the ability and potential to keep going until their late forties.
While it's unlikely that anybody will do what Hopkins has done for a very long time, the following fighters have a better shot than most.
For those of you who haven't seen Gamboa fight, watch him. Now.
He is one of the most exciting fighters in any combat sport right now. His style is reminiscent of a mini Tyson. Gamboa is full of power, speed and is just beginning to hit his peak.
In the past he has been dropped due to being a bit careless. His style has changed and evolved to a point where he's still exciting, and is now a disciplined boxer.
Gamboa is very promising and could very likely be boxing's next mega-star. At 29, he has a long way to go to be on Hopkins level. But his physical tools could allow him to dominate opponents for at least a decade.
This one is a longshot, but nobody can deny his talent.
Sergio Martinez got into boxing late—at one point he was a professional soccer player. At 36, he's looking invincible. He's just reaching his prime now, and will be on top for a while to come.
He had a recent controversial loss to Paul Williams, but avenged that with one of the best knockouts in boxing history. Sergio clocked him with a huge overhand left that put Williams to sleep immediately.
Since then he fought and demolished Sergiy Dzinziruk, looking untouchable in the process.
Sergio is certainly a candidate to keep going late into his forties. Let's see if the middleweight lineal champion can keep it going.
Juan Manuel Marquez has been one of the best lightweights of the decade and is still beating everyone at that weight he fights.
He's had a bad loss to Floyd Mayweather recently and his next fight is against Manny Pacquiao. Since Pacquiao started his reign, Marquez has been the only guy to come close to beating him. Some people even think that he beat the Pac-Man twice.
If Marquez is able to come out of the next Pacquiao fight in decent shape, he could keep fighting for a long time. At 38, he still has a lot left in the tank.
Floyd Mayweather fights a style that could keep him in boxing for a long time. His defense is so stellar that he rarely gets hit at all.
Mayweather doesn't drink and manages to stay in fighting shape all of the time. On top of that, he has long periods of inactivity in between his fights.
If Floyd never fights Pacquiao, he could easily run through lesser opponents for another 10 years. At 34, Floyd has a lot of fight left in him.
This one is unlikely, as trainer Freddy Roach thinks Pacquiao should retire soon. On top of that, Pacquiao is a singer, actor and a politician in the Philippines. He certainly has a lot more going on than just boxing.
Pacquiao is so good though that he could likely keep going for a long time. His next fight is against Juan Manuel Marques, the last fighter to give him any shred of trouble in the ring.
If Pacquiao chose to dedicate himself 100% to boxing, it is very conceivable that he could keep going into his late 40s.
Glen Johnson is already 42, and is one of the toughest fighters to ever step in the ring. 'The Road Warrior' has more than earned his nickname for being tough as nails, and always being a difficult fight.
He lost four of his last eight fights, but still doesn't look like he's lost too much. Bernard Hopkins was able to defy his age and keep winning, and while Johnson was never the boxer Hophins was, he is another guy who looks like he could keep going for a while.
Glen Johnson has an upcoming fight against Lucian Bute, in which he is expected to lose. It isn't an easy fight for the Bute though, he will come out of the fight looking bad. All fighters do when they get in the ring with Johnson.
I would not bet against Glen Johnson in any fight; he is still a great fighter who could be in for an upset victory soon.
Steve Cunningham has been ranked as the top cruiserweight fighter for a couple of years now. He's looking pretty good lately, at 35 years young.
Cunningham could very likely keep going for another five years at least, should he decide to stay at cruiserweight. While not the biggest name, Cunningham is a guy who has a shot to break Hopkins' old-age boxing record.
Antonio Tarver has been fighting for a long time. He's had many wars, but is still in-tact and still going. He just won a fight in July and appears to still have the boxing spirit.
At the ripe old age of 42, many people would have thought that 'The Magic Man' would have hung up his gloves by now. That's obviously not the case.
Tarver has a realistic shot of still fighting years from now, as he doesn't have a long record like many fighters his age. If he can keep winning fights, I imagine Antonio could stay in the sport late into his 40s.
Unless they decide to fight each other, the Klitschkos can be grouped together. It doesn't matter who either of them fights right now, the opponent will always be a step down in competition.
Their have demolished the heavyweight division to the point that they are fighting little-known fighters, who have a better shot of winning the lottery than beating either of the brothers.
Vitali is 40 years old, and Wladamir is 35. Vitali has a shorter way to go, but I would put the odds about equal. Both fighters are more likely to be stopped by an injury, than by an opponent in the boxing ring.
It's unfortunate for boxing that all of the best heavyweights are playing other sports. I reckon that the NFL has at least 30 players that if trained properly, could take down either Klitschko.
Right now the brothers have the best chance to beat Hopkins record, as they have literally no competition. I'd like to note that I'm not writing off Povetkin, he's a good fighter, he just doesn't have the physicality or the style to take down the Ukrainian champions.