Bernard Hopkins: An Undisputed Legend
Bernard Hopkins: An Undisputed Legend
By Xavier Porter, Brooklynfights.com
December 15, 2016
Brooklyn, N.Y. – Boxing legend Bernard Hopkins is set to close out his twenty-eight year career with a farewell fight against the current WBC international light heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr. on Dec. 17 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. Billed as “The Final One” fight fans from around the world will get a final chance to see the legend of Hopkins take on a young, hungry, lion in Smith Jr. who by all means is determined to once and for all finish the career of the savvy veteran.
Hopkins is a man who’s beaten and defied the odds many times over, defining his own personal greatness, and proving to others that no matter your age you can be great also. Most people would think it’s a bad omen to lose your first professional fight. For a man of Hopkins ability and fortitude that loss was a blessing. He went on to win twenty-two consecutive fights, winning the USBA middleweight title before suffering the second loss in career, losing a unanimous decision to Roy Jones Jr. As the two men traded barbs throughout their career, he would defeat Jones Jr. some years later by unanimous decision.
The Philadelphia fighter holds a record of 55-7-2 (32 KOs). He’s defeated several champions in his career and he’s never ducked anyone. His twenty title defenses and achievement of being the undisputed middleweight champion has him ranked as possibly being the best middleweight champion of all time. What also defines Hopkins greatness is that he stepped up in weight, where he challenged and won the IBO, Ring, WBC, and IBF light heavyweight championship. Far too many times he has been counted out by the critics but the oldest boxer in history to win a world title has always proven to have guile and ring intelligence that at times is light years against his younger opposition.
It’s been a pleasure watching the marvel of Bernard Hopkins over the last 28 years in his boxing career. Now 51 years-old, with one foot out the door, many wonder if he can pull off this last victory against Smith Jr. who in his last fight completely destroyed his opponent in thunderous knockout fashion. Can Hopkins’ mind and ring intelligence control the pace of the fight? Will his body react to the difference in power that Smith Jr. brings into the ring? One can’t say for sure what will happen on fight night but one can believe that this fight will be very interesting to see how it plays out. Side note: Hopkins has never been knocked out in his career.
“It’s a privilege to be on this card,” Smith Jr. said.
“To take on a legend like Bernard is an opportunity I would have never expected. That said, come fight night, that won’t matter because it’ll just be me and him in the ring. My team and I have been training to take on any of the styles Bernard may bring. I’m excited for the night to come and I’m ready to put on a great show. He is a legend but on Saturday night he’ll be just another opponent to me. I’ll be looking to be get him out of the here and be the first person to stop him.”
Hopkins is a guaranteed first-ballot inductee in to the boxing hall of fame. Below is a list of Hopkins achievements throughout his career:
- Apr 19, 2014 – Retained IBF light heavyweight title; won the WBA (Super) light heavyweight title
- Oct 26, 2013 – Retained the IBF light heavyweight title
- Mar 9, 2013 – Won the IBF light heavyweight title
- May 21, 2011 – Won the WBC, The Ring, and lineal light heavyweight titles
- Jul 21, 2007 – Retained the Ring light heavyweight title
- Jun 10, 2006 – won the IBO and The Ring light heavyweight titles
- Feb 19, 2005 – retained the WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, WBO, The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles
- Sep 18, 2004 – retained the WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles; won the WBO middleweight title
- Jun 5, 2004 – retained the WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles
- Dec 13, 2003 – retained the WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles
- Mar 29, 2003 – retained the WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles
- Feb 2, 2002 – retained the WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles
- Sep 29, 2001 – retained the IBF and WBC middleweight titles; won the WBA (Super), vacant The Ring and lineal middleweight titles
- Apr 14, 2001 – retained the IBF middleweight title; won the WBC middleweight title
- Dec 1, 2000 – retained the IBF middleweight title
- May 13, 2000 – retained the IBF middleweight title
- Dec 12, 1999 – retained the IBF middleweight title
- Feb 6, 1999 – retained the IBF middleweight title
- Aug 28, 1998 – retained the IBF middleweight title;
- Jan 31, 1998 – retained the IBF middleweight title
- Nov 18, 1997 – retained the IBF middleweight title
- Jul 20, 1997 – retained the IBF middleweight title
- Apr 19, 1997 – retained the IBF middleweight title
- Jul 16, 1996 – retained the IBF middleweight title
- Mar 16, 1996 – retained the IBF middleweight title
- Jan 27, 1996 – retained the IBF middleweight title
- Apr 29, 1995 – won the vacant IBF middleweight title
- May 17, 1994 – retained the USBA middleweight title
- Nov 23, 1993 – retained the USBA middleweight title
- Aug 3, 1993 – retained the USBA middleweight title
- Feb 16, 1993 – retained the USBA middleweight title
- Dec 4, 1992 – won the vacant USBA middleweight title
“The last thing you remember about a good book is not the beginning, it’s the ending. I look at this as the final icing on the cake or that exclamation point. This is it. You know this is history. I achieved my first goal of success in the first part of my life. That was rougher than boxing. If you know anything about Bernard Hopkins’ history, if you go into details about the inner city Philadelphia guy, who was in the penitentiary from age 17 to 25, and survived, you’d realize I became champion a long time ago.”
“You have to prove you’re special, no matter how many titles you win. If you use that to stay in the game then you become special and an icon surpasses legend. I’m a career stopper to most of my opponents that talk like him. Yes, I’m honored to be respected as Joe mentioned, too. I listen to words. Nobody is really paying attention to Joe. Joe won’t be special come Saturday. He will stay common.”
“Since I gave you some food for thought, enjoy the final one, enjoy the textbook of the sweet science as you heard in the beginning of this press conference. The sweet science that I’ve been taught about boxing…the sweet science has nothing to do with power. It’s not like I can’t hit; I’ll beat you up.”
Legends are made, not born. Whether you want to remember him as “The Executioner” or “The Alien” Hopkins has achieved more victories outside of the ring than inside. He’s won at life. Respect goes a long way and he’s earned it rightfully from the fans and boxing community.
Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins (55-7 2, 32 KOs) vs Joe Smith, Jr. (22-1, 18 KOs), for the WBC International Light Heavyweight Championship, will take place on Saturday, December 17. The bout will be televised live from Inglewood, Calif.’s “Fabulous” Forum on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.