A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
At age 48, Bernard Hopkins repeats history
In May 2011, Bernard Hopkins avenged a disputed 12-round draw with then WBC light-heavyweight titlist Jean Pascal by besting him in a rematch to become the oldest fighter in boxing history to win a world title at age 46.
In March 2013, ‘The Executioner’ has done it again. At age 48, Hopkins broke his very own record as the oldest fighter to win a world championship. Hopkins defeated another young lion on the rise. Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KOs) won the IBF light-heavyweight championship with a solid unanimous 12-round decision victory over Tavoris Cloud (24-1, 19 KOs) on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. HBO televised the historic event, along with unbeaten welterweight Keith Thurman’s 12-round drumming of former IBF champion, Zan Javek.
The judges at ringside scored the bout: 117-111 and 116-112 (twice) for ‘The Executioner.’
The key to Hopkins’ success is his longevity and his belief that there isn’t a boxer on the planet that is better than him. Well, at least at 175 pounds.
“I’m motivated to do it,” Hopkins told reporters. “I don’t believe anybody in the 175(-pound) weight class and possibly the 168(-pound) class can beat me.”
Hopkins, the old man, put forth another display of skills against another young champion. Hopkins, who said he’s in the business of destroying careers, called Cloud ‘one-dimensional.’ Fighters that Hopkins beat-up decisively during his Hall of Fame career, Pascal, Kelly Pavlik, Chad Dawson, Winky Wright, Bo James, Joe Lipsey, Howard Eastman, Robert Allen, Antwun Echols, Jermain Taylor, William Joppy, Felix Trinidad, hasn’t been the same after they fought ‘The Executioner.’
Hopkins, the record holder for most successful world middleweight title defenses (20), former unified IBF/WBC/WBA and WBO middleweight champion, former WBC and current IBF light-heavyweight champion, is an ageless wonder. Although Hopkins has lost decisions, it is apparently clear that he can compete against the very best on the world’s biggest stage.
It is clear that Bernard will be able to fight whomever he wishes for as long as he can. Usually prizefighters like a Floyd Mayweather or even a Manny Pacquiao can fight twice per year of every six-seven months. Hopkins has done very well for himself fighting once a year every nine months.
This time, Hopkins fought Cloud, a 30-year-old badass from Tallahassee, TN. Cloud, making his fifth defense of the IBF 175-pound title, had a chance to make a name for himself by retiring one of boxing’s proven commodities. Hopkins is an all-time great practitioner. A decisive victory against an old man would have put Cloud on a pedestal so high that he would become a star overnight.
Too bad Cloud didn’t fight that was because, Hopkins, once again, proved that he can still crank-up the machine long enough to outlast a champion like Cloud. Hopkins beat Cloud up using intelligence, accuracy, movement, and determination. Hopkins picked Cloud apart, piece-by-piece, to the amazement amongst the 12,000 plus at the Barclays Center. During a period where professional athletes in the NFL and MLB are testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, Hopkins, along with Floyd Mayweather, are fighting at the highest level and they are doing it clean. They train clean, eat clean, and live clean.