Bernard Hopkins is a perfect example of how beautiful the sport of boxing is and can be with its diligent practitioner, in the way it has re-shaped his life.
From a housing project in Philadelphia down to rock bottom in prison- stabbed three times at the age of thirteen and charged with nine felonies with a sentence of eighteen years at the age of seventeen.
The numbers were dissenting.
From nether end, behind bars, no different from the boxing ropes of life a young Bernard Hopkins learned to beat the count. With zilch skill set he stood up out of sheer will, and later on learned to box and embrace the pain, holding on to dear life.
Bernard Hopkins last fight is said to be set for 2017. After a career nearly spanning three decades, he now holds a record of 55-7-2 (Draws)-2 (No contests).
He holds the record for most defenses of his Middleweight title (20) and was the first fighter ever holding all four major boxing sanctioning bodies simultaneously. He’s the oldest fighter to ever win a world title in 49 after breaking his own record set a year before.
The numbers remain dizzying, but this time, he’s not shaking. In fact, he is more firm, well set against an invisible foe.
He is a manifestation of the discipline of boxing- a crafty, seasoned fighter, with most sound fundamentals- of which the painstaking effort of learning such has translated him to a reformed man in society.
On the Bernard Hopkins last fight, in a report by Boxing Scene he said, “I would love to do a farewell fight if possible, but it would have to be done in a dignified and respectful way. Not making a joke, someone always says ‘are you going to fight one more?’ I deserve to go out like Kobe Bryant of better.”
He hasn’t fought since losing to Sergey Kovalev and “He’s been occupied with commentating on HBO, and he obviously still keeps himself in great shape.” Oscar De La Hoya said according to Bad Left Hook.
He’s at a level where numbers no longer matter, where his rise from hard knocks has become immensely immeasurable. So even if he continues to fight on and lose he will forever be etched a champion and a winner.
His legacy is timeless, a mirror of an ageless sport.
Photo courtesy: Cliff/Flickr