Age Is Just A Number: The Best Boxing Performances By Fighters Over 40

This weekend, at the age of 42, Manny Pacquiao will be hoping to win an unprecedented thirteenth world title
06:55, 21 Aug 2021

Manny Pacquiao steps into the ring on Saturday (August 21) at the age of 42, hoping to win his unprecedented thirteenth world title. The fact that ‘Pacman’ is the betting favourite to beat WBA ‘Super’ Welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas is a testament to his timeless ring skills. As the Filipino looks to make history, here are six of the best boxing performances by fighters over 40.

Archie Moore vs Yvon Durelle II

The defining veteran fighter of boxing’s golden age, Moore had met considerable resistance when knocking out the Frenchman the previous year. This time, with the Light Heavyweight championship on the line, the 42-year-old would enter a dominant and dazzling performance. Durelle hit the canvas three times in the third round, succumbing to his foe with eight seconds remaining in the session. ‘Ancient Archie’ would fight on for another four years, including a TKO defeat to a young Cassius Clay.

Larry Holmes vs Ray Mercer

A changing of the guard appeared to be in order when rising 18-0 heavyweight ‘Merciless’ Ray Mercer faced 42-year-old former champion Larry Holmes. ‘The Easton Assassin’ had obviously not read the script, as he used the famous jab with which he dominated the ‘80s to keep his younger foe at bay. Holmes would win a wide unanimous decision, earning a title shot at undisputed king Evander Holyfield, which he lost after a creditable display.


George Foreman vs Michael Moorer

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The greatest moment ever summoned by an over-40 in a prize ring, George Foreman knocked world ruler Michael Moorer out cold in the tenth round. The 45-year-old had spent a decade away from the sport, finding God during his wilderness years before returning to the sport. Few expected him to ever regain the championship he lost to Muhammad Ali in the baking heat of Zaire. Fewer still expected it after watching nine rounds of one-sided Moorer dominance unfold. The cliche rings true, and ‘Big George’ proved that the last thing a fighter loses is his punch, sending Moorer to the canvas with a crunching right.

Virgil Hill vs Valery Brudov

Remembered unfairly as the recipient of the greatest body shot Roy Jones Jr. ever threw, the former two-weight world champion added another belt to his mantle when he decisioned Valery Brudov at the age of 42. Having lost his previous fight to WBC boss Jean-Marc Mormeck, ‘Quicksilver’ looked finished as a world title prospect before shocking the Russian in Atlantic City.


Bernard Hopkins vs Kelly Pavlik


In truth, any number of Bernard Hopkins performances could have sat here. The epitome of aging like a fine wine, Hopkins beat the likes of Winky Wright, Antonio Tarver, Jean Pascal and Beibut Shumenov beyond his 40th birthday. Against middleweight knockout artist Kelly Pavlik though, he enjoyed the perfect night. Contested at super middleweight, most expected the reigning 160Ib champion to continue his dominance against an aging opponent. Instead he was given a thorough master’s degree in Boxing 101 from ‘The Executioner’, in a punch perfect 12-round display. 

Manny Pacquiao vs Keith Thurman

Coming full-circle, Saturday’s title challenger registered one of the great over-40 performances of the modern era when he defeated WBA king Keith Thurman in 2019. The unbeaten ‘One Time’ came into the fight touted as a future superstar of the sport, but found himself knocked down and on the wrong end of a split decision defeat. Pacquiao will be hoping to defy Father Time once more when he meets Ugas this weekend.

Pacquiao vs Ugas Betfred Fight Odds

- Manny Pacquiao: 2/7

- Yordenis Ugas: 14/5

- Draw: 20/1

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