The Curious Case of Bernard Hopkins


by Hans Olson

In honor of this Saturday’s Light Heavyweight Championship bout between Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal, I’m going to refer to a not-so-distant Oscar nomination for help…(no, not that Oscar).

The craziest thing about all of it is this:

Bernard Hopkins will once again attempt to become the oldest fighter to ever win a major championship. It makes little sense.

How can a man, aged 46, compete and nearly defeat a fighter close to 20 years younger than himself?

Bernard Hopkins did that.

Last December.

Remember?

It has been talked about over, and over, and over again…but I’ll say this…

Bernard Hopkins won that first fight with Jean Pascal.

Even in scoring a draw, he won.

People tend to forget what Bernard Hopkins can do. You can’t write this stuff.

Hollywood does.
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“My name is Benjamin Button, and I was born under unusual circumstances. While everyone else was agin’, I was gettin’ younger… all alone.”

Indeed, Bernard Hopkins walks alone. No other fighter has been able to compete at this level before. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication Bernard has instilled within himself. Since he turned 40, Bernard has gone 6-3-1 against opponents that held a combined record of 349-19-1 at their time of opposition against “The Executioner.”

Oh yeah, and most of those fights were either title fights or against undefeated fighters.

In a career that boasts victories over the likes of Kelly Pavlik, Roy Jones, Winky Wright, Antonio Tarver, Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad, and Glen Johnson, the fact that Bernard Hopkins is fighting at this level, at this time in his life, is truly special.

“Your life is defined by its opportunities… even the ones you miss.”

Bernard Hopkins was jailed early in life. He missed out on a lot of opportunities many of us are fortunate to have had. None of that matters now. Bernard Hopkins is defined by the odds he beat, and the odds that he continues to beat.

“What if I told you that instead of gettin’ older, I was gettin’ younger than everybody else?”

Where modern fighters have retreated from old school discipline, Bernard has maintained. Bernard doesn’t drink, smoke, or chase women. He works hard. Heck, I’ve even seen “behind the scenes” type segments where Bernard cooks and refuses to add unnecessary spices! Bernard Hopkins gets younger, by being wiser.

“Sometimes we’re on a collision course, and we just don’t know it. Whether it’s by accident or by design, there’s not a thing we can do about it.”

Pascal and Hopkins may be destined rivals. In fact, one could argue that this is the best rivalry in boxing today. Although the first meeting was supposed to be no more than a ticket selling title defense against a name opponent for Pascal, it has grown into so much more. These guys were made for each other, in the ring, and outside of it.

“Some people were born to sit by a river. Some get struck by lightning. Some have an ear for music. Some are artists. Some swim. Some know buttons. Some know Shakespeare. Some are mothers. And some people dance.”

And some people were born to fight. Bernard Hopkins is a fighter.

I can’t wait for Saturday night.

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