By Craig Miller-
(CBS) On Saturday the 48-year old-Bernard Hopkins once again became the oldest fighter to ever hold a title, extending the record he set by beating Jean Pascal for the WBC light heavyweight title on May 21, 2011.
The sure-fire Hall of Famer took on undefeated IBF super light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud, a fighter 17 years younger than Hopkins. Hopkins’ game plan became obvious early on as he never allowed the younger fighter to set his feet by deftly moving around the ring and Hopkins picked his spots, flurrying with combos to keep Cloud out of rhythm. Not only did Bernard easily win by unanimous decision but at times he made Cloud look outright foolish, causing Cloud to lunge in with wild hooks that missed by a mile. When the final bell rung Hopkins had cut Cloud over both eyes and landed an astounding 41 percent of his punches.
Earlier in his career Hopkins was largely ignored by the media and fans despite the fact that he defended his middleweight crown 20 times setting yet another record. It is easy to see why as his contemporaries, James Tony and Roy Jones Jr., had crowd pleasing styles and big action fights. But at 48, even general boxing fans have come to appreciate the mastery in which Hopkins fights, and Bernard is now officially a boxing star.
So what is next for the 48 year old lightweight champ? Bernard has made it clear that he’d like to face WBO lightweight champion Nathan Cleverly, but Cleverly has contractual agreements that would make that fight hard to come by for Hopkins. When asked about knowing when to hang up the gloves Hopkins said “I don’t want to be a circus act… I’m a very proud man. They say fighters get old in the ring. No, fighters get old in the gym when no one’s honest enough to tell them they’re old.”
Whether Bernard Hopkins ever fights again remains to be seen but his career is a shining example of what an athlete can accomplish when they are as disciplined in their life as they are in their craft. But if I had to bet on it, I’d say Bernard still has one or two history-making moments left in the tank.