Steve Bunce on Boxing: Still going strong after 62 fights, Bernard Hopkins takes on the world once more at 48

 

Just when it seemed possible that Bernard Hopkins was close to delivering his final cross-armed salute from the middle of a boxing ring it has emerged that he has no intentions of quitting.

Hopkins is 48, has fought 62 times, first contesting a world title in 1993 and on Saturday night he continues one of boxing's most incredible journeys when he fights Tavoris Cloud for the IBF light-heavyweight title in Brooklyn, New York. Hopkins has had 29 proper world title fights and won his first championship when he was still serving out the prohibitive terms of his parole.

He currently holds the record for becoming the oldest man to win a world title and he will break his own record if he beats Cloud, who is unbeaten in 24 and just 31. Hopkins has, as he is keen to remind his critics, been "too old" for 15 years.

"Some promoters are trying to use my age as a death sentence," claimed Hopkins. "They do everything they can to tell people that I should retire; they only do this because they have young fighters that I would beat.

"I'm not satisfied with what I have done in boxing," continued Hopkins. "There is more to add to my legacy, more world championship belts to take back to Philadelphia. I'm not counting age and I'm not thinking of going away."

Cloud will have to try and ignore the tricks – some dirty, some clean – that Hopkins can use so easily during a fight; the often dubious tactics are hard for experienced fighters to ignore and Cloud is relatively green. "Hopkins is a dirty bastard, but I like him," said Joe Calzaghe, who is one of only five men to have beaten Hopkins.

"People outside boxing, the 40-plus generation are starting to look at me and organising nights watching my fights," added Hopkins. "They have read the stories about my old, old life – the penitentiary stuff, my struggles against boxing politics and I'm still here, still at the top.

"I heard Michael Jordan talking the other day, and he's just had his 50th birthday, and he was saying that he wished he could play again. Well, I'm not far from that and I'm still playing and still playing at the top," said Hopkins. The return of Hopkins coincides with the ongoing struggles of Steve Collins, who is also 48 and has been passed fit to return to boxing, assuming he can get a licence.

Collins wants a fight with Roy Jones, who is still active at 44, and beat Hopkins in their 1993 world title fight. Hopkins beat Jones in their long overdue rematch in 2010. "Hopkins waited nearly 18 year for his rematch and that is how long I have been waiting for Jones," claimed Collins, who will not apply for a British licence but is still hopeful to fight in Britain. "Hey, stranger things have happened."

In theory Hopkins could, later this year when he is closer to 49, fight in Britain against Nathan Cleverly. "I like the way Cleverly talks about boxing. He gives me the respect unlike a lot of the other younger champions. I will fight him when the time comes and that could be in Britain."

Cleverly next defends his WBO light-heavyweight title at Wembley on 20 April when the rescheduled Ricky Burns and Miguel Vazquez double world title fight takes place.

This Saturday, Hopkins just has to carry on doing what he has been doing in style for more than a decade and defy the odds and the clock. He is an acquired taste but he is also, as he said, a hero to men (and some women) over a certain age.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
An iceberg in Ilulissat, Greenland; researchers have been studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and their long-term ramifications for the rest of the world (Getty)
news
Environment
environment
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Jackman bears his claws and loses the plot in X-Men movie 'The Wolverine'
film
Arts and Entertainment
'Knowledge is power': Angelina Jolie has written about her preventive surgery
film
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing