The Ring, WBC and IBO light heavyweight champion Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins outclassed Jean Pascal to earn a unanimous decision victory and become the oldest man to win a major title Saturday night in Montreal, Canada.
“Big” George Foreman was 45 when he monumentally knocked Michael Moorer onto Queer Street in the 10th round to capture the WBA and IBF heavyweight belts and establish the previous benchmark for boxing graybeards.
Hopkins (52-5-2-1, 34 KOs), who successfully defended his middleweight crown a record 20 consecutive times from 1995 through 2005, turned 46 on Jan. 15.
"I won't retire until I'm 50," Hopkins was quoted as saying on SportsIllustrated.CNN.com. "I'm going to keep fighting like this until I leave this game and, trust me, I will not be punch drunk, beat up or broke."
“The Executioner” was sentenced as an adolescent to 18 years in Graterford Prison for committing nine felonies.
The ex-convict from the “City of Brotherly Love” is an unforgettable and polarizing personality.
“B-Hop,” a surefire future Hall of Famer, is notorious for his often racially-charged and cockeyed rants.
Nevertheless, despite his somewhat surly persona, Hopkins is an absolutely brilliant ring tactician who is the most accomplished pugilist of the past 20 years.
The only other prizefighters who could rightfully stake that claim are current WBC and WBO super welterweight world champion Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao and retired heavyweight legend Lennox Lewis.
Pound-for-pound royalty Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs), named the “Fighter of the Decade” for the 2000s by the Boxing Writers Association of America, has won 14 straight bouts since he lost to Erik Morales by unanimous decision in March 2005.
“Pac-Man,” the first pugilist to win 10 world crowns in eight different weight classes, is only 32 and his greatness in the squared circle will never be in dispute.
Similarly, Lewis (41-2-1, 32 KOs) must be considered the most decorated heavyweight since 1990.
The United Kingdom’s resident bad-ass is one of four boxers in history to have won the heavyweight championship on three separate occasions.
Lewis was beaten by a journeyman dope fiend named Oliver McCall via TKO in the second round in September of 1994.
In April of 2001 in South Africa, Lewis was trumped by Baltimore bruiser Hasim Rahman via knockout in the fifth round.
The only two losses on Lewis’ professional resume stemmed from two flailing bombs that miraculously landed directly on the Brit's kisser.
Lewis avenged both of his losses and retired as champion in 2003.
Manny Pacquiao and Lennox Lewis are boxers for the ages.
Still, Bernard Hopkins has consistently performed at a greater level for the past two decades and this weekend highlighted his gleaming career.