Bernard Hopkins Speaker Profile
Former Middleweight Boxing Champion
Bernard Hopkins Biography
Boxing great, Bernard Hopkins, was born on January 15, 1965, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Known as "The Executioner", Hopkins is best known for his ten year reign as Middleweight World Champion in which he defended his title a record 20 times. He is the oldest man to ever hold the Middleweight Championship in professional boxing. Hopkins now lives in Delaware.
Bernard Hopkins immediately joined the professional boxing ranks as a light heavyweight, losing his debut on October 11, 1988, in Atlantic City, New Jersey to Clinton Mitchell. After a sixteen-month layoff, he resumed his career as a middleweight, winning a unanimous decision over Greg Paige on February 22, 1990. Between February 1990 and September 1992, Hopkins scored 20 wins without a loss. He won 15 of those fights by knockout, 11 coming in the first round.
Hopkin's first chance at a world title came on May 22, 1993 in Washington, DC, against American great [[Roy Jones Jr]]. for the vacant IBF middleweight belt. Hopkins lost by unanimous decision in a tactical bout. However he retained his world ranking and defended his USBA belt three more times. During a November 7, 2008 interview on XM/Sirius' Opie & Anthony Show, he said that he's been trying for another fight with Jones Jr. but Jones has been dodging him saying that he already defeated Hopkins. Hopkins argues he has floored two guys that beat Jones and that he thinks he's earned the right for another fight. Hopkins says that his first big payday was the Jones Jr. fight. Hopkins' purse was $700,000 but after everyone got their hands into it, he only received $80,000 and after taxes, it was less than $50,000. He said he didn't know to ask the questions "how and why" but that all changed when he learned the truth of his purses in federal court.
Jones abandoned the middleweight ranks in 1994, and the IBF came again knocking at Hopkins's door on December 17 of that year, matching him with Segundo Mercado in Mercado's hometown of Quito, Ecuador. Mercado knocked Hopkins down twice before Hopkins rallied late and earned a draw. This remains the only time Hopkins has ever been knocked down. The fight was also contested in a bull ring and in the midst of the civil war of Ecuador. Hopkins was also not properly acclimated to the altitude of nearly 10,000 feet.
The IBF called for an immediate rematch, and on April 29, 1995, Hopkins became a world champion with a seventh-round technical knockout victory in Landover, Maryland.
In his first title defense he defeated Steve Frank, whom he stopped in twenty-four seconds. By the end of 2000, he had defended the IBF title 12 times without a loss, while beating such standouts as John David Jackson, Glen Johnson (undefeated at the time and later went on to knock out [[Roy Jones Jr]]), Simon Brown, and Antwun Echols.
The arrival of multiple-division champion FÃ©lix Trinidad, a Welterweight into the middleweight ranks set off a series of unification fights between major titleholders. The fights involved in the tournament would be reigning IBF Middleweight Champion, Bernard Hopkins. WBC Middleweight Champion, Keith Holmes. WBA Middleweight Champion, William Joppy. The fourth contestant was former Welterweight & Light Middleweight World Champion and the undefeated FÃ©lix Trinidad.
On April 14, 2001, Hopkins won a unanimous decision over WBC champion Keith Holmes in New York City. Trinidad, however, knocked out Middleweight mainstay William Joppy in an impressive five rounds. This led to many to believe that Felix Trinidad was simply too much, too strong for Bernard Hopkins. Then, on September 29, WBA champion Trinidad challenged Hopkins for middleweight unification in Madison Square Garden.
For the first time in many years, Hopkins was an underdog in the betting which led the confident Hopkins to place a $100,000 bet on himself to win the bout. During promotion for the bout, Bernard Hopkins caused huge controversy by throwing the Puerto Rico flag on the floor in press conferences in both New York and Puerto Rico, the latter conference leading to a riot in which Hopkins had to be run to safety from the angry mob.
During the fight, Hopkins was on his way to a lopsided decision victory when in the 12th and final round he floored Trinidad and referee Steve Smoger called a halt to the fight after Trinidad's father entered the ring to stop the fight. It was the first loss of Trinidad's career, and made Hopkins the first undisputed world middleweight champion since Marvin Hagler in 1987. 'The Ring' magazine and the 'World Boxing Hall of Fame' named Hopkins as the 2001 Fighter of the Year.
He defended the undisputed title six times. Hopkins bested Carl Daniels on February 2, 2002, by tenth-round technical knockout; Morrade Hakkar on March 29, 2003, by eighth-round TKO; William Joppy on December 13, 2003, by unanimous decision; and Robert Allen on June 5, 2004, also by unanimous decision.
In the highest paying fight of his career, Hopkins fought six-division titleholder Oscar de la Hoya, another welterweight for the undisputed middleweight championship on September 18, 2004, in Las Vegas. The fight was fought at a catchweight of 158 lbs, two pounds below the middleweight limit of 160 lbs. Hopkins won the bout with a knockout in the ninth round with a left hook to the body and thus became the first boxer ever to unify the titles of all four major sanctioning bodies. At the time of the stoppage, Hopkins was ahead on two of the scorecards, while De La Hoya was ahead on the other scorecard.
In November 2004 de la Hoya invited Hopkins to join his boxing promotional firm, Golden Boy Promotions, as president of its new East Coast chapter.
Aged 40 years old, an age in which most boxers are retired. Bernard Hopkins reached the middleweight record of 20 title defenses on February 19, 2005, against ranked #1 WBC Middleweight contender Howard Eastman, the European middleweight champion. Hopkins dominated the fight from start to finish winning 119-110, 117-111 & 116-112
In his next fight on July 16, 2005, Hopkins lost his undisputed middleweight championship to Jermain Taylor via a split decision. Hopkins started slowly but came on strong over the second half of the fight. Many press row writers scored the fight for Hopkins. Compubox round-by-round punch stats showed Taylor outscoring Hopkins 6-5-1.
On December 3, 2005, Hopkins lost his rematch against Jermain Taylor by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the fight 115-113 for Taylor.
Compubox statistics indicated that Hopkins landed more overall punches and significantly more power shots over the course of the fight, however these statistics may not accurately reflect the judging as rounds are scored in isolation.
Following his two losses to Jermaine Taylor, Hopkins at 41 decided not to retire and made the decision to jump two weight divisions to face off against The Ring light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver on June 10, 2006. Going into the fight, Tarver was a 3-to-1 favorite and had been the first man ever to knock [[Roy Jones Jr]]. out, he also defeated Jones Jr. in the rematch with many now placing Tarver among the sports top competitors. He was constantly ranked in the P4P rankings. However, Bernard Hopkins picked up a lopsided unanimous decision, scoring 118-109 on all three judges scorecards.
Antonio Tarver also lost a $250,000 bet with Hopkins, after he failed to stop Hopkins in the first six rounds.
On July 21, 2007, at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Hopkins defended The Ring light heavyweight championship against former undisputed junior middleweight champion Winky Wright. During the weigh-in, Hopkins shoved Wright with an open-hand to the face, igniting a brawl between both fighters entourages. Hopkins was fined $200,000 for instigating the brawl. Hopkins struggled to figure out Wright in the early rounds, but began landing effective punches as the fight progressed. An accidental head butt opened a nasty cut by Wright's left eye in the third round. Referee Robert Byrd warned Hopkins repeatedly for using his head, but he never deducted a point. Hopkins looked fresh late in the bout, luring Wright in and snapping off combinations. In the final round, Hopkins wobbled Wright with a right hand as blood streaked down his cheek. Hopkins prevailed with a unanimous decision victory by scores of 117-111, 117-111 and 116-112.
Main article: Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Calzaghe
On April 19, 2008, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Hopkins lost The Ring light heavyweight championship to Joe Calzaghe, who was seven years Hopkins' junior, by split decision. Hopkins got off to a great start by knocking Calzaghe down with a straight right hand in the first round. Hopkins mostly threw one punch at a time and often initiated clinches to prevent Calzaghe from punching in combinations. Hitting and holding was prevelant, but Calzaghe slowly began to land quick flurries of short punches. In the end, judges Chuck Giampa (116-111) and Ted Gimza (115-112) scored the fight for Calzaghe, while judge Adalaide Byrd (114-113) scored the fight for Hopkins.
After the fight, Hopkins was upset with the official decision and said that he was robbed of a clear points win. Hopkins said, "I just really feel like I took the guy to school. I feel like I made him fight my fight, not his. I wanted him to run into my shots. I think I made him do that, and I think I made it look pretty easy. I think I controlled the pace, and I controlled the fight."
On July 17, 2008, ESPN.com reported that Pavlik promoter Bob Arum reached a deal with Golden Boy Promotions, securing an October 18, 2008 fight between [[Kelly Pavlik]] and Bernard Hopkins, the former undisputed Middleweight champion, Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight champion, and top ten pound-for-pound mainstay. The non-title fight took place at a catch-weight of 170 lbs, five pounds below the Light Heavyweight limit. The fight aired on HBO pay-per-view, with Hopkins defeating the then-undefeated Pavlik via unanimous decision. In what was seen as a shocker, Bernard Hopkins easily defeated [[Kelly Pavlik]]. Many critics and newspaper articles claimed that Hopkins "turned back the clock" and that he "schooled" Pavlik. At the end of the fight but before the results were read, Hopkins faced the critics area from the ring with an emotional tone. Hopkins did not fight a slow fight as he did with Calzaghe. Instead he later talked about how he was too careful in the past trying to avoid any knockdowns, which was not a feature of this fight. Hopkins was able to outbox, outwork and dominate the 26 year old Pavlik.
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