Bernard Hopkins Challenges Floyd Mayweather to Fight Him at 160 Pounds

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COMMENTARY | The biggest question in boxing today is trying to figure out who Floyd Mayweather's next opponent will be. After dominating Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, there are very few challenges left for Mayweather that the general public will give credence to.

The rumor that Amir Khan would be next to get the Mayweather lotto ticket generated groans from the boxing community considering that Khan's already been upended by the likes of Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson. Mayweather would be a massive step up in competition and a huge betting favorite.

So what's left for Mayweather to accomplish? Leave it to Bernard Hopkins to come up with an answer.

The 48-year-old IBF Light Heavyweight champion recently dispatched of Karo Murat to improve to an impressive 54-6-2 (32 KOs) and break his own record of oldest fighter in recorded history to win a recognized world boxing title. And it doesn't seem that Hopkins is showing any signs of slowing down. And considering that he is one of the few fighters who still has some mainstream appeal, Hopkins figures that Mayweather's biggest challenge, that would also sell well on PPV, is to face him.

"I want to fight anybody that's the best," Hopkins said in a recent interview with KnockoutNation.com . "Everybody wants to fight Floyd Mayweather, but I want to fight him for other reasons. Some want to fight him to see if they can compete and some want to fight him thinking they can win. But, its not whether or not I want to fight him, but its who's he gonna fight that people will pay to see? You gotta understand, I'm a promoter so I'm trying to help a situation to sell something for people who ain't buying."

Obviously, Hopkins is currently competing at light heavyweight (175 lbs.) and the highest weight class that Mayweather has fought in is the junior middleweight division (154 lbs.). But Hopkins feels that in order for Mayweather to truly challenge himself, he should consider the fight at middleweight.

"I'm asking Floyd Mayweather (to) jump up two weight classes. (To Floyd) You're great. You're undefeated. Nobody from the media is holding him to the fire. Only thing they are saying is, 'Why are you letting this fighter come down to your weight?' Canelo, came down to 150. Let him come up two weight classes. When you're that good, weight doesn't matter."

Hopkins does have a valid point. When it seemed like Roy Jones, Jr. was all out of challenges, the former middleweight champion jumped up to heavyweight and won a world title by beating John Ruiz. Even though Ruiz wasn't considered an elite fighter, the fact that he was naturally bigger presented a strong enough challenge and appealed to mainstream audiences. More recently, Manny Pacquiao jumped from winning a lightweight (135 lbs.) title against David Diaz to facing Oscar De La Hoya at welterweight (147 lbs.) and later fought Antonio Margarito at junior middleweight (154 lbs.). It was a feat that had the boxing world in awe and propelled him to share the top pound for pound spot with Floyd Mayweather.

If Mayweather were truly looking for a challenge rather than continue his farewell tour of racking up large purses against undeserving competition, he'd accept Hopkins challenge. But something tells us that it isn't very likely.

Andreas Hale is a former editor at websites including BET.com and HipHopDX.com. Today, he resides in the fight capital of the world and has covered boxing and MMA for mainstream media outlets such as MTV.com and Jay-Z's LifeandTimes.com, as well as die-hard outlets, including FightNews.com, Fight! Magazine, Ultimate MMA, CagePotato.com and others.

You can follow him on Twitter (@AndreasHale).
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