Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins broke his own record by winning a title against 30 year-old Tavoris Clous at age 48. Hopkins schooled his opponent over 12 rounds, as he has been known to do throughout his career, and won on the scorecards.
Dan Rafael breaks is down for ESPN.com.
An hour after Hopkins had added yet another piece of significant history to his already overflowing Hall of Fame résumé, "The Executioner" said at his postfight news conference that he planned to fight until he was 50. When asked about that a few minutes later, he said he was only kidding and that he would retire before he hit the big five-oh. But can anybody be certain that the all-time great Hopkins wasn't serious?
After all, Hopkins, the Philadelphia legend who turned 48 on Jan. 15, had just convincingly outpointed the 31-year-old Cloud to break his own record for becoming the oldest fighter in boxing history to win a world title. Hopkins initially broke the record in 2011 at age 46 when he put on a similarly impressive performance against Jean Pascal. This time, Hopkins, returning to fight in New York for the first time since becoming undisputed middleweight champion in his historic 12th-round knockout of Felix Trinidad two weeks after 9/11, looked as though he could keep fighting for years to come. No, he isn't as fast as he once was. His legs aren't as sturdy, and he can't fight hard for three minutes of every round. But Hopkins still has great defense, can still throw enough punches, work angles, jab nicely and fight on the inside well enough to give anyone a tough night at the office if they are willing to stand and fight.
Philly.com has the story on B-Hop's mentality moving forward.
"The Executioner and Bernard Hopkins are not the same people," Hopkins said in his postfight news conference. "The Executioner does not care about anybody. He comes in, he has a job to do, and he leaves."
But the Executioner mentality helped Hopkins fight with confidence and get in Cloud's head with taunts and facial expressions.
Always a strong defensive fighter, Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 knockouts) used combination punches to keep Cloud (24-1, 19 KOs) off balance. A strong left hook in the sixth round opened a cut above Cloud's left eye and allowed Hopkins to control the pace.
Hopkins may attempt to unify the light-heavyweight division the way he did more than a decade ago as a middleweight. Among his options are WBO champion Nathan Cleverly (25-0, 12 KOs) of Wales and Canadians Jean Pascal (27-2-1, 16 KOs) and Lucian Bute (31-1, 24 KOs).
Bute and Pascal are expected to fight in late spring. Hopkins defeated Pascal by unanimous decision in 2010.
Hopkins said he wants to continue making history.
"That's the mind-set I have to be in from here until I retire," Hopkins said. "Seriously, you are going to see the Executioner against whoever I fight."
Bernard Hopkins has another belt around his waist and a slice of boxing history to his name.
He just might not have another bout.
The oldest boxer to win a major title, the 48-year-old Hopkins said he could retire a champion if he's no longer inspired and the right bout doesn't materialize.
"If I'm not motivated, and the competition is not there, if it's a meaningless fight, it's time to roll, man," Hopkins said by phone Sunday.