He served 56 months, during which time he took up boxingand after his release on parole inhe maintained a bernard hopkins fight live record. He had his first professional bout on October 11,in Atlantic CityNew Jerseybut he was unable to earn a living as a full-time boxer and supplemented his income by washing pots and pans in the kitchen of a Philadelphia hotel.
Mail To Bernard Hopkins hobbled into the gym before a sparring session using a cane to aid his small steps. He scrapped his usual stylish Prada glasses for a cheap pair old fogeys might wear and a fake gray beard that sprouted several inches past his chin.
He is also hailed as the oldest man to win a world boxing title. He set that record in and broke that several times afterwards.
Hopkins chuckled as he wagged his cane toward amused onlookers. Long a contender in the jumbled alphabet concoctions of boxing organizations, Hopkins seemed more fit in disguise to apply for an AARP membership.
Hopkins is in on the joke and has the sober realization that not even he can KO Father Time. At 51, Hopkins may have enough Executioner left in him to make it seem like old times again inside the ring. Hopkins has forged his life by hook -- like the left one he threw to knock out Oscar De La Hoya -- or by crook, the time served at Graterford Prison that steeled his resolve for a boxing career.
Just about a month before he turns 52, Hopkins will fight on both his word and contractual obligation for the final time in a year career when he faces year-old Joe Smith Jr. No one savvy enough around boxing will count out Hopkins , 32 KOs for a final victory.
Even as the years ticked from his late 30s to his late 40s, the days of thinking of Hopkins as a washed-up fighter sure to see his career end in a thunderous embarrassment have long ended. How do I know it's time? I can't find no one to laugh no more.
He vowed to quit at 41 after he defeated Antonio Tarver in one of his greatest fights in At 48, Hopkins scored a round unanimous decision over Tavoris Cloud to become the oldest boxer to win a major title. Chris Chelios hung up the hockey stick at But fighting at 50?
George Foreman, another geriatric great, had already traded gloves for grills by the time he hit the Big Once Hopkins shed the old man getup, he hit the ring and physically looked like he was in prime, save for the salt-and-pepper beard.
Hopkins dismisses the wisecracks about his age. He is about as serious and dedicated as any athlete in his training. He's carved a straightedge lifestyle that bans drinking alcohol, keeps a healthy diet and a curfew of about 9 p.
The two-weight world champion is known to splurge on a slice of cheesecake after a victory. His fitness, his daily physical commitment, has allowed him to thrive long after fighters of his era have retired.
It's not like anybody is hurting him," De La Hoya said. Hopkins said he planned to become involved in a yet-to-be-announced boxing series that could help revitalize the East Coast boxing scene. Whatever he does, the mouthy Hopkins will let the world know.
But that's why we don't have a lot of people that's me. He enraged a country when he stomped on a Puerto Rican flag in San Juan.
He said that Manny Pacquiao should fight more black fighters. Hopkins' biggest foe was his most bizarre one; a one-sided verbal lashing of former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.
While never stylistically pleasing, few middleweights ever performed better than Hopkins during a year reign as champ. Hopkins lost his first fight in Atlantic City in and didn't lose again until He made 20 successful middleweight title defenses and boasts multiple runs as light heavyweight champion.
Hopkins saw quality opponents dry up the last few years and hasn't fought since a round decision loss to Sergey Kovalev on Nov. But Hopkins never stopped pushing for that final bout.
He wanted to hear the bell sound for the last time on his own terms. I don't look at it as others do as Russian Roulette. Rolling the dice. I look at it as, I'm one of those exceptions to the rules.
The ex-con from the Philly streets who learned to box in prison has become nothing short of a model citizen forever stamped as one of the sport's great fighters. Floyd Mayweather Jr.