There isn’t much you can say about Bernard Hopkins that he hasn’t already said himself. But by any measure, one can’t say enough about the fact that he can still compete at the world class level as a boxer at the age of 49-years-old. Hopkins has smashed all the age records in boxing when it comes to winning a title, holding a title and defending a title.
Where there was once the “Ol’ Mongoose” named Archie Moore there is now “The Alien” Bernard Hopkins as he wants to be known. Certainly his geriatric powers are other worldly and unless challenger Beibut Shumenov can bring him back to earth tomorrow night – Hopkins is looking to continue his prizefighting journey that began way back in 1988.
“I’m blessed to do this and I’m having fun doing it,” said Hopkins Thursday when asked why he continues to fight after accomplishing all that he has in a storied career. “One of the big, big motivations that I have is that I continue to keep making history. I want to carve my name deep into boxing history past and present.”
At an age when many fighters have been retired for at least a decade or longer, Hopkins career is an amazing feat of longevity by any yardstick that one chooses to use. After all, Hopkins is nearly eligible for an AARP card and his opponent tomorrow night was only 5-year-old when Hopkins had his first professional fight.
Hopkins is a non-smoker, a non-drinker and he watches his diet very closely. He is frequently asked how he can still do what he does and Hopkins almost sounds like the late, old-time fitness guru Jack LaLanne when he answers. “I’ve lived the right life and I’ve taken care of my temple which is myself, my body. And I’ve avoided unnecessary punches and damage which are things that can shorten your life and your career.”
Hopkins is the belt-holder of the IBF light heavyweights while Shumenov holds the WBA strap. Tomorrow’s fight in Washington, D.C. will be a unification bout that Hopkins hopes will lead to a showdown against WBC titlist and recognized world champion Adonis Stevenson. Hopkins made it clear Thursday that if he beats Shumenov that is the bout he will pursue.
“I’ve been impressed with Adonis Stevenson,” says Hopkins. “He beat the man to become the ‘man’ so he’s accomplished that. He’s the light heavyweight gotta’ be right now in the division. But he doesn’t have the legacy or the legendary status that I have. Right now, Adonis Stevenson is the big prize to get to.”
When asked if it’s good for the sport to have a world titlist that is nearly 50 Hopkins was quick to respond. “I think of all the things a 49-year-old can do and in today’s world age is not a death sentence. At this stage of time we have more now to give us longevity than fifty years ago. I really think it helps, I don’t think it hurts. I think it only hurts if it is a negative and it’s not a positive outcome. If it’s a positive outcome you can’t change that no matter what the age is.”
For the better part of twenty-six years Bernard Hopkins has been achieving positive outcomes. The boxing world has been lucky enough to see him do his thing here on earth, but Hopkins says he is from another planet. “I’m from Mars,” he joked. “Pluto is no longer a planet so I had to flee from there to go to Mars and that's where I reside when I’m not fighting on earth.”