Future hall of famer and multiple occasion two-division champion Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins (53-6-2 32 KO's) nullified his highly flamboyant critics in his lopsided unanimous decision victory over former IBF titleholder Tavoris "Thunder" Cloud (24-1-0 19 KO's). The three judges scored the bout 116-112, 116-112, and 117-111, all in favor of the ageless 48-year-old. With the win, Hopkins continues to demonstrate his utter invalidation of Father Time.
In 2001, he was the unified IBF/WBC world Middleweight champion, and at age 35 he had supposedly "peaked". The majority of observers were under the impression Hopkins had accomplished all he was capable of. Rising superstar Felix Trinidad was supposed to jump-start his career with a defeat of Hopkins, but in an astounding upset, Hopkins used his unorthodox style to savagely pick apart Trinidad on the fast track to a 12th round TKO.
This was just the beginning of recurring victories against Father Time for Hopkins. In 2004, Hopkins withered Oscar De La Hoya to undisputedly conquer the middleweight division. In 2006, he outclassed a prime Antonio Tarver to win the IBO Light Heavyweight belt. On into 2008, he completely eluded Middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik to win a wide decision over twelve rounds. Finally, to become the oldest world champion in the history of the Sweet Science, Bernard Hopkins overcame the always exciting Jean Pascal to capture the WBC/IBO world titles at a rusty age 46. And as you know now, yesterday, he surpassed his own records after defeating Tavoris Cloud with ease.
While competitive losses to Chad Dawson, Joe Calzaghe, and Jermain Taylor were engraved between these impressive victories, it is undeniable that while some fans have shunned his awkward, rough-and-tumble style, he always manages to silence them in these dramatic upsets. It almost has the feel as if this man's boxing career is immortal.
Hopkins has expressed his understanding of the fact he'll eventually "need to retire," but in the near future, "The Executioner" Bernard Hopkins is a highly relevant top pound-for-pound boxer. And stylistically, unless he meets a boxer with an extensive physical advantage, such as the height and reach possessed by "Bad" Chad Dawson, Bernard Hopkins may continue on as one of the very best 175-pound boxers in the world today.
Intriguing title unifications with British talent Nathan Cleverly or Kazakstan born/American residing Beibut Shumenov are on the horizon for Hopkins. He is also mandated by the IBF to face heavy-handed IBF #1 ranked German contender Karo Murat next. Something will be arranged in the coming months on all these potential bouts. Either way, the timeless champion Bernard Hopkins absorbed yet another victory, and when that will stop is all speculation on the nearing 50-year-old legend.
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