Hopkins vs. Toney at 160: Who would have won had they fought in their prime?
Bernard Hopkins and James Toney were both middleweight champions in the 1990s although they were never in the same division long enough to be able to face each other. Toney won the title by knocking out the highly regarded Michael Nunn while Hopkins defeated Sergundo Mercado in a rematch to become champion. Hopkins held the title for a decade and made 20 defenses while Toney only stayed around for a few years before moving up to 168lbs.
What would happen if these two legends were to fight at 160lbs in their prime? Hopkins was and still is a master of his craft, and he knows how to pin point weaknesses and break an opponent down.
Toney, when he was in his prime was an outstanding counter puncher with one punch knockout power and excellent boxing skills. Hopkins during his reign defeated a whole variety of middle weight contenders such as Joe Lipsey, John David Jackson, Antoine Echoles, Keith Holmes, William Joppy and Robert Allen. He was the first to defeat future light heavyweight champion Glen Johnson and also knocked out Puerto Rican star Felix Trinidad in an upset victory to be crowned undisputed middleweight champion.
Hopkins also had a great team of trainers like Bowie Fischer, Naseem Richardson and Danny Davis who were able to disect opponents styles and prepare game plans to take advantage of opponent’s flaws. Although Toney’s reign as middleweight champion only lasted two years he did face and defeat quality boxers like Michael Nunn, Reggie Johnson and Mike McCallum.
Toney had the legendary trainer Bill Miller in his corner who had been training fighters since the 1950s and helped Toney to perfect his defensive skills and his fearsome right hand. Toney suffered for his lack of discipline after he left the middleweight division and lost to beatable fighters because of it.
Hopkins on the other hand was only defeated as a middleweight by a prime Roy Jones and a young Jermaine Taylor when he was 40 years old. If these two champions faced each other at middleweight it would have been an fascinating battle of boxing skills and ring generalship. However, the overall skill level, discipline and versatility of Hopkins would see him outpoint and out think Toney by a close unanimous decision.