By Chris Cella
There isn’t much inside the squared circle that former multi-divisional world champion and future Hall-of-Famer Bernard Hopkins hasn’t accomplished. In 2011, at the age of 46 Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KO) became the oldest boxer to win a world title. And today, as BHOP celebrates his 48th birthday, he will look to continue his record setting ways as he goes to battle with undefeated IBF light heavyweight title holder Tavoris Cloud (24-0, 19 KO) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn as part of HBO World Championship Boxing March 9.
“Today is my 48th birthday and I feel half my age, so Cloud had better be ready,” said Hopkins. “People can say what they want. I have broken records, quieted doubters and solidified my legacy. Now, I am going to do all of that again, but this time at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn in front of a large crowd of people that understand and appreciate the sport.”
Through his distinguished career Hopkins has banged with countless former champions and future Hall-of-Famers, defended his undisputed middleweight championship a record 20 times, and over the past few years has continued to defy the gods of aging.
Last year Hopkins lost his only fight of the year—a majority decision to Chad Dawson—which was the first time since 1989 where BHOP didn’t win a fight over the course of a calendar year.
At 48-years-old various business professionals are eyeing retirement, regardless of their craft. But for Hopkins, who will be embracing his 25th professional year of lacing up the gloves, it is about doing what he loves, and showing the world that his age is simply a number.
Across the ring from him March 9 will be Tavoris Cloud, anxious to send the boxing legend into retirement. Cloud was six years old when Hopkins began his career, and will now be putting his line on the line against him.
“This will be the last supper for Bernard Hopkins,” said Cloud. “I will retain my IBF light heavyweight world title.”
Cloud has successfully defended his belt four times since winning the vacant title over Clinton Woods in 2009, and can either become the man who potentially puts the final nail in the coffin of a decorated career of Hopkins or become just another stat on an impressive resume.
Conditioning may prove to be a crucial factor in this fight; Cloud will undoubtedly bring the fight to his elder upon commencement of the first round, and look to do damage early, wearing down the 48-year-old. But Hopkins has shown his almost supernatural ability to last through battles, and if he is able to execute his boxing plan effectively, he may be successful in breaking his previous record of the oldest fighter to win a world title.
“Just when you think you’ve seen it all, Bernard Hopkins continues to amaze me and I’m looking forward to seeing what he’s going to do next at Barclay Center in March,” said President of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya. “Tavoris Cloud is a tough test and a proud champion and with his aggressive style and power, he’s going to push Bernard like never before.”
Between the ropes Bernard Hopkins has been like fine wine: only getting better with age. March 9 will be a true testament to how much he has left in the well.
Hopkins vs. Cloud, a 12-round fight for Cloud’s IBF Light Heavyweight World Championship will take place Saturday, March 9 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The HBO World Championship Boxing telecast begins at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT.