You might say many things about Bernard Hopkins but not being smart is not one of them. The forty-nine-year old has had many incarnations in his life and in his twenty-six year old boxing career. Ex-con, fighter, promoter, unified world champion, “Executioner” and “Alien” have been some of the titles that Hopkins has walked this earth by. If he would to win his next unifying championship title scheduled for Saturday, November 8th, against the WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev on HBO, you might have to add “miracle maker”. Hopkins currently holds the WBA and IBF versions of the title.
This past Saturday night after the broadcast of Gennady Golovkin’s destruction of Marco Antonio Rubio on HBO, the network broadcast the “24/7” episode to promote the fight that is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Main Events. In it Hopkins reveals some of the secrets that have allowed him to keep fighting for over a quarter of a century. Most of them are not out of this world, a clean, balanced diet, a year-round commitment to clean living and some modifications to his training regimen are what were shown during his segments of the thirty-minute show.
It seems like not much of a sacrifice for a fighter to make be considered one of the elite fighters of any division he has campaigned at for more than twenty-five years. What Hopkins might have left out as the quite possibly the most difficult trait one might need to stay on top and that is discipline.
Hopkins began his pro career in 1998 after a stint in state prison. He lost his first pro fight. After that he rattled off twenty-two wins in a row before he faced Roy Jones Jr for the IBF middleweight title. He dropped that via a twelve-round unanimous decision.
In is second attempt at a world title, Hopkins fought to a draw against Segundo Mercado but then beat him in the immediate rematch to strap the same title he challenged Jones Jr for. Five years later he captured the WBC title and with a win over Felix Trinidad, the WBA strap. With a win over Oscar De La Hoya in 2004 he became the unified middleweight champion.
After losing his titles to Jermaine Taylor a year later, he jumped up to light heavyweight and in 2011 he captured the WBC title at that weight against Jean Pascal. A loss to Chad Dawson forced him to relinquish that title but in his next fight he captured the IBF 175lb title against Tarvoris Cloud. In his last fight he defeated the WBA champ Beibut Shumenov for that belt and now is two steps away from unifying the titles for the second time in his career.
In his way is the hard hitting Kovalev. Undefeated and with a numerous amateur career, Kovalev might have all the tools to defeat a forty-nine year old man to a pulp. That forty-nine year old man might just not be Bernard Hopkins Kovalev’s trainer, John David Jackson, and himself think that they have the formula for Hopkins to finally grow old. I don’t think father time even has that.