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17 NOVEMBER 2018

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SecondsOut Services To Boxing 2014: Bernard Hopkins

By Clive Bernath: The recipient that receives an award for outstanding services in their particular profession invariably possesses many qualities. They demand the utmost respect from their peers, have a vast array of awards to their name and are nearly always excellent role models to both the young and old. Very rarely does any individual possess all the aforementioned but the SecondsOut 2014 Services To Boxing winner has them all. His name Is Bernard Hopkins.


It really is difficult to know where to start with Mr. Hopkins because he has achieved just about everything there is to achieve during his 26 years as a professional boxer. Not only does he hold the record for the most world middleweight title defences(20) and is the oldest(48) boxer to win a world title but he is also the oldest fighter to unify versions of a world championship at 49 years old.


To still be competing at world level and winning world titles at age 49 is indeed incredible in itself but eventually even the great Bernard Hopkins was forced to accept that he had reached his sell by date(at the very top level at least) this past November when he was outclassed over 12 rounds when he defended his IBF and WBA light heavyweight crowns against big punching WBO champ Sergey Kovalev. It was the first time in his 66 fight career that he had been beaten so convincingly and the defeat may just be enough to convince him to call time on arguably the most successful boxing career of modern times. No decision has yet been made as to whether Hopkins will fight on but that’s another story for another time.


Lets not pretend that Bernard Hopkins is the most exciting fan friendly boxer fighting today because he’s not but he’s a winner, a defensive master, tactical genius, master manipulator and the king on how to control the pace of fight to suit him during his advancing years.


Our decision to award Hopkins the SecondsOut award for Services To boxing Is not just about his longevity and the fact he is a two weight world champion, although that would be enough, but equally it is about being a role model for both young novices and seasoned pros alike. You see Hopkins appeals to the hard core sports fan as well as general boxing fans. Older fans especially see him as a flag bear for the golden oldies.


It is not unusual nowadays to see fighters still competing in their early 40’s but inevitably they fall short at the higher end of world class but not Bernard. He lives the life, talks the talk and walks the walk. He is still a well oiled supremely conditioned athlete, even as he enters his 50th year. Those of us who are around the same age can only dream about achieving a fraction of his success but he gives us oldies inspiration to allow us to believe that age is no barrier if you have the desire and self discipline.


Personally, I hope Mr Hopkins chooses to retire and enjoy the next chapter in his so far incredible life but I have a feeling he’s not quite ready just yet to put his feet up and reach for his pipe and slippers.


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December 29, 2014

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