A Confirmation of Bernard Hopkins
By Jason Petock (August 18, 2005)  
Photo © HBO
Disregard all preconceived notions about the man you think you recognize all too well in Bernard Hopkins. They are completely wrong and I’m going to tell you why. Not only can it be broken down in an elementary way, but Hopkins’ record, title reign and number of middleweight title defenses speaks for themselves if you need more coaxing. Not that you should, especially if you witnessed the 12 round undisputed middleweight title fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas between Bernard Hopkins, 46-3-1 (32), and Jermain Taylor, 23-0 (17), on July 16, 2005. A recent point of great contention in the boxing world and media, this super bout left fans on both sides of the fence with a deep line drawn in the sand for good measure. Whoever you thought won this controversial title bout isn’t the main issue here (although it’ll be decided in December), but what is of more importance is the once reigning champion and his place in the history books.

I have long been an advocate of Hopkins and even wrote of him in a positive light in the past. From his rough beginnings, prison stint and self re-invention, his story is definitely the blueprint for the American Dream. The actual odds of him becoming a success were limited and stacked against him from the start. He even lost his pro debut if you can believe it. But he lifted himself out of the decay and negativity and proved to us all (and more importantly to himself) that with hard work and a little belief in yourself there’s nothing you can’t accomplish in this crazy world.

And it’s this belief system that’s brought Hopkins to where he stands today. While many fighters would sulk and hide after such a loss to Taylor, Hopkins has held his head high and been that much more prolific in his interviews and media appearances. It helps that he feels in his heart that he defeated Taylor, and upon watching the fight 4 times over (not counting the one time I viewed it live) I have to agree with him. Yet he’s taken his loss with maturity and has shown no harsh feelings or ill-regard for Jermain Taylor, the new middleweight to beat. He did dispute the decision with an appeal which has been adamantly denied, though this still hasn’t slowed his momentum or determination regarding the remainder of his career or the re-match.

They’re right when they say boxing is 75% mental and 25% physical, and Bernard Hopkins’ discipline is a clear cut example of the kind of focus and intelligence that’s required of a world champion. He has displayed these characteristics and then some over his 10 year middleweight title reign from 1995 to 2005 as the man to dethrone in the 160 pound division. But now there’s a new champ and we’ll just have to wait until December (early Xmas present perhaps?) to see if Hopkins takes back his throne or retires in style.

In closing I still believe in Bernard Hopkins and what he’s cemented as his legacy, even amidst all of the detractors and critics surrounding him as a boxer. While some of you may have found his methodical and calculating style in the ring recently highly frustrating and slow, it has extended his career and proven why he was one of the best for so long and still is in my humble opinion. My hat’s off to Bernard Hopkins for staying true to the sport, true to himself, doing it his way and only his way, and for being a positive and insightful role model for up-and-coming fighters and prospects. Respect B-HOP.
© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing 1998-2005