1. ARCHIE MOORE
Title fights: 7-2
Summary: We have to clarify something first. Moore claimed to have been born Dec. 13, 1916, which his mother – who was there – dismissed as hogwash. She said the future pugilist actually entered the world on Dec. 13, 1913, the date we’ll use for the purposes of this project.
The fact that Moore fought 49 times after turning 40 (his last fight occurring when he was 29) is remarkable in itself. The fact he went 43-4-2 – 7-2 in title fights! – also is staggering. Then add to that the fact that he beat a number of top-notch opponents (Joey Maxim, Harold Johnson, Nino Valdes, Bobo Olson and Yvon Durrelle among them) and you can see that he had an incredible post-40 run.
Moore often had to lose a number of pounds to make the 175-pound limit, attributing his ability to do so to a secret diet he picked up from Aborigines on a trip to Australia. Whatever he did, it worked.
He won his light heavyweight title when he was 38, outpointing Maxim, and held it until he gave up the belt when he was 48. That included seven title defenses.
And although he never won a title post-40 – failing in two high-profile bids to win the heavyweight championship against Rocky Marciano and Floyd Patterson – he might be able to claim the most-amazing post-40 performance.
Moore was 44 when he met Canadian Yvon Durelle in a title defense in Montreal. The rugged challenger put the champion down three times in the first, appearing to render him unconscious one time, and once more in the fourth. Miraculously, Moore survived and turned the tables. He put Durelle down four times and stopped him the 11th round of one of the greatest fights ever.
In 1974, Moore was a cornerman for Foreman for his fight against Ali in Zaire. Caplan, one of Foreman’s aides, said The Old Mongoose carried 16-milimeter film of the Durelle fight with him and showed it one night during training camp.
“Archie carried that reel all the way over there. He was so proud of it,” Caplan said.
Moore had a lot to be proud of, which Hopkins recognizes.
“I want to remind people that I am the modern day Archie Moore,” he said. “He came to Canada in his 40s and beat Durrelle in his own backyard. I am going to show the fans on Saturday night what déjà vu in the ring looks like in Canada.”