Bernard Hopkins' Most Impressive Career Wins
Bernard Hopkins has been one of the most dedicated and hardest-working fighters the sport has seen in the last half-century.
Hopkins' first fight, a loss to Clinton Mitchell in 1988, left him undaunted. He didn't lose again until he fought Roy Jones in 1993. His next loss didn't occur until 12 years later.
Hopkins became the oldest fighter to hold a championship when he defeated Jean Pascal in 2011 in a close but unanimous decision.
He later lost that crown to Chad Dawson in 2012, but he remains an active fighter.
While you have to give Hopkins credit for having the guile, experience and guts to remain in the ring, his most impressive fights came earlier in his career.
Some of his most impressive wins came against great fighters like Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya and Antonio Tarver. Here's a look at six of the best wins of his career.
Bernard Hopkins scored an impressive 11th-round technical knockout over Glen Johnson in 1997. This was one of Hopkins' first signature fights.
Johnson was 32-0-0 at the time of the fight.
Hopkins unleashed a terrific two-fisted attack against Johnson, who excelled at the defensive aspects of the sport. Hopkins, however, was relentless. While Johnson blocked many of the early punches, Hopkins kept coming forward and probing for weaknesses until he was able to get the edge on a very game fighter.
Hopkins met Felix "Tito" Trinidad at Madison Square Garden on September 29, 2001.
If that date sounds eerie, it's because it was less than three weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Hopkins was at his best when he took on the undefeated Trinidad (40-0-0). As the fight reached the 12th round, Hopkins had been in charge, winning nine of the 11 previous rounds. In the 12th, it was all Hopkins.
He knocked Trinidad down with a sweeping right hand (source: ESPN.com), and while Trinidad managed to rise at the count of nine, his corner had seen enough and stopped the fight.
Hopkins defended his middleweight title against respected contender William Joppy in 2003 in Atlantic City.
It was a dominating performance by Hopkins, as he gave the game Joppy a boxing lesson in winning a unanimous decision.
Hopkins' stellar defense kept Joppy from launching any kind of serious attack, while Hopkins hit Joppy with stellar combinations throughout the fight.
Joppy did not have the name recognition of other Hopkins opponents like Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya or Roy Jones, but he was a very tough opponent. To dominate such a fighter puts the bout high on the list of impressive Hopkins wins.
Oscar De La Hoya
When Hopkins met Oscar De La Hoya in Las Vegas in September, 2004, it was one of those huge boxing events that allows the sport to grab center-stage in the sporting world.
De La Hoya may no longer have been at the peak of his career, but he was still a skilled fighter and an underrated puncher. De La Hoya went by the nickname of "The Golden Boy," which worked in his favor because it created the impression that he was an "artist" in the ring, and not really a tough guy. However, he was just that and he was also a very hard puncher.
At that point in their respective careers, De La Hoya was good enough to compete with Hopkins but not good enough to beat him. Hopkins knocked out De La Hoya in the ninth round. Hopkins was ahead on two of the judges' scorecards, but inexplicably behind on the third.
Howard Eastman was an excellent fighter who brought a 40-1-0 record into the ring when he fought Hopkins in February, 2005.
However, Hopkins was too skilled and too strong for Eastman, as he pounded out a 12-round unanimous decision.
That fight allowed Hopkins to retain his middleweight title. He used his left hook to maintain a key advantage over Eastman throughout the majority of the fight, but Hopkins was far from a one-punch fighter. He also used his right and his 1-2 combination to maintain his advantage.
Hopkins got in the ring with talented Antonio Tarver (24-3) in June, 2010 and won the light heavyweight championship (IBO version).
Hopkins pounded out a one-sided decision over Tarver, winning by a 118-109 margin on all three judges' scorecards.
At the time, Hopkins was moving up in weight class from middleweight to light heavyweight at the age of 41. It looked like a very tough fight for Hopkins because Tarver had beaten name fighters like Roy Jones Jr. and Glen Johnson, but Hopkins dominated Tarver with a relentless and fearless attack.