Bernard Hopkins

From Academic Kids

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Bernard Hopkins, the Executioner.

Bernard Hopkins (born January 15, 1965) —nicknamed The Executioner— is a professional boxer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA). He has held one or more titles in the middleweight division since 1992, and is regarded by experts to be among the ten best pound for pound fighters in the world. With his defeat of Oscar de la Hoya, Hopkins holds the title as being the undisputed middleweight champion, holding the IBF, WBC, WBA and WBO versions of the title. Hopkins has successfully defended his middleweight title a record twenty times.


Hopkins was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and grew up in a rough section of town, where he got involved in crime and gang activity at a young age. Today, he describes himself as a "thug" in his youth and regrets that it took a stint in prison for him to turn his life around.

Late in 1982, when Hopkins was in the 11th grade, he was convicted and sentenced to 18 years in the state penitentiary for armed robbery. While incarcerated, he decided to turn his life around. Hopkins studied for and earned his high school diploma, and also began to take part in boxing again, which he had done off and on as a youth. During four years and eight months in prison, Hopkins won the national penitentiary middleweight championship three times.

He was a model prisoner by all accounts, and was paroled in 1988, as soon as he was eligible. He immediately joined the professional boxing ranks as a light heavyweight, losing his debut on October 11, 1988 in Atlantic City, New Jersey to a fighter named Clinton Mitchell. But he showed enough in the loss that respected trainer Bouie Fisher took him on. After a 16-month layoff, resumed his career as a middleweight, winning a unanimous decision over Greg Paige on February 22, 1990.

Between February 1990 and September 1992, Hopkins worked his way through the ranks of middleweight journeymen, scoring 20 wins without a loss. He won 15 of those fights by knockout, 11 coming in the first round.

That earned him an opportunity for his first title, the USBA regional middleweight belt. True to form, he knocked out fringe contender Wayne Powell in the first round on December 4, 1992 and moved into the list of top 10 contenders for a world title shot.

His first chance at a world title came on May 22, 1993 in Washington, DC, when he faced Roy Jones Jr. for the vacant IBF middleweight belt. Hopkins, who was still inexperienced against top fighters, nevertheless went the distance with Jones before losing a unanimous decision. Hopkins retained his world ranking and defended his USBA belt three further times while waiting for another world title shot.

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 and built a big lead on the scorecards before Hopkins rallied late and earned a draw. The IBF called for a rematch, and on April 29, 1995, Hopkins became a world champion with his seventh-round technical knockout of Mercado in Landover, Maryland.

After winning the title, Hopkins followed the example of former world middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler and followed a strict training regimen to keep his weight at or below the division limit of 160 pounds. Meanwhile, he fought the toughest available competition and was soon considered by many as the best world middleweight titleholder. By the end of 2000, he had defended the IBF title 12 times without a loss, while beating such standouts as John David Jackson, Glencoffe Johnson, Simon Brown, and Antwun Echols.

The arrival of multiple-division champion Flix Trinidad into the middleweight ranks set off a series of unification fights between major titleholders. On April 14, 2001, Hopkins won a unanimous decision over WBC champion Keith Holmes in New York City. Then, on September 29, WBA champion Trinidad challenged Hopkins for all three belts in Madison Square Garden.

For the first time in many years, Hopkins was an underdog in the betting. He 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. It was the first loss of Trinidad's career, and made Hopkins the first undisputed world middleweight champion since Marvin Hagler in 1987.

He has defended the undisputed title five times since. 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 biggest fight of his career, Hopkins fought six-division titleholder Oscar De La Hoya for the undisputed middleweight championship on September 18, 2004 in Las Vegas. Hopkins won the bout with a knockout in the ninth round. After the De La Hoya fight, his career record stands at 45 wins, two losses, one draw, and one no contest with 32 knockouts.

He said he ended the De La Hoya fight with a perfect punch to the liver. "Chopped liver with Hopkins sauce," he said.

De la Hoya soon thereafter invited Hopkins to join his boxing promotional firm, Golden Boy Promotions, as president of its new east coast chapter. Their alliance was announced publicly on November 20, 2004. Hopkins is expected to sign and guide the careers of young east coast fighters, including several from his hometown of Philadelphia.

In addition, Golden Boy will promote Hopkins' next four fights, likely the last of his lengthy career.

Hopkins reached his stated goal of 20 title defenses on February 19 against Howard Eastman, the middleweight champion of Europe. On July 16, he will defend his middleweight title against unbeaten Jermain Taylor. On June 3, he announced his plans for his final fights. First, he said that his bout with Taylor will be his last as a middleweight. Next, he plans to step up to 175 pounds to face the winner of the upcoming Antonio Tarver-Glenn Johnson bout. Finally, in January 2006, he intends to end his career by fighting Roy Jones Jr., also at 175.

External links

ja:バーナード・ホプキンス sv:Bernard Hopkins


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