Bernard Hopkins Continues to Defy Age, One Round at a Time

by Hamilton Nolan

Photo Credit: Will Hart

Bernard Hopkins is amazing in the way that only true stories can be amazing. Not in a grandiose, spectacular way, but in an all too believable series of small steps that adds up to something that seems unbelievable. On Saturday night, before a crowd chanting “B-Hop,” the 48 year-old Bernard Hopkins took a unanimous decision victory-- and a title--over the young, strong, legitimate former light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. How? A single moment at a time.

Hopkins’ primary skills at this late stage of his career are slipping punches, stepping away from trouble, grabbing on the inside, and being surprising. Sustained offense and sustained energy are not his specialties. It does not matter. Tonight, he seized the small moments. He let Cloud expend all the energy attacking; and then, when he paused, Hopkins would land one or two or three punches, and move. Every time that Cloud missed a punch or smiled for a brief moment at his mistake, Hopkins would hit him. He did not so much beat up Cloud as make it clear that Cloud did not beat him. That was enough for him to cruise to victory by a margin of several rounds. 

Read the Full Tavoris Cloud vs. Bernard Hopkins Fight Recap on HBO.com.

Thurman, Zaveck, Salgado, Mendez Round out Saturday's Boxing

by Kieran Mulvaney

March 9's HBO boxing broadcasts will be dominated by the question of whether the seemingly ageless Bernard Hopkins can add yet another entry to the record books by defeating Tavoris Cloud and winning a world title at the age of 48.

But two other televised bouts that evening also provide intrigue and promise plenty of action.

Keith Thurman vs Jan Zaveck

Welterweight prospect Thurman has emerged from seemingly nowhere in the last several months to become something of a fan favorite. The reasons for his burgeoning popularity are clear: what he lacks in technical finesse, he makes up for in pure aggression and personality. Nor is he short of confidence: after beating Orlando Lora in Cincinnati last July, he called out no less of an opponent than Floyd Mayweather.

In his last outing, Thurman made a major statement with a dominant fourth-round stoppage of former Paul Williams conqueror Carlos Quintana; but Quintana looked a shell of the man who had faced Williams and Miguel Cotto and announced his retirement immediately afterward. There should be no such qualifications if Thurman maintains his undefeated record against Zaveck, who is an extremely tough test, and arguably the favorite entering this bout. Although Zaveck's last HBO appearance was a losing one, it was a loss that elevated his stock, as he gave Andre Berto a tough contest before being stopped on cuts.

Juan Carlos Salgado vs Argenis Mendez

Mexico's Salgado and the Dominican Mendez tangle for Salgado's junior lightweight title 18 months after they first clashed, in September 2011. In that bout, for the vacant title that Salgado now holds, the Mexican fighter eased away over the first half but had to withstand a furious rally from Mendez down the stretch, punctuated by a twelfth-round knockdown. The storming finish wasn't enough for Mendez to overcome his early points deficit, however, and Salgado took the unanimous decision.

After a no-contest in his first defense, when a clash of heads with challenger Miguel Beltran Jr. led to a cut over Salgado's left eye, the champion scraped home with a majority decision win over Martin Honorio in which two early knockdowns made the difference. Honorio then faced Mendez, who scored a comprehensive decision victory for the right to take on Salgado again.

Note: Salgado-Mendez  will be broadcast from Costa Mesa, California on HBO Latino at 8:30 PM ET/PT; Thurman-Zaveck and Bernard Hopkins-Tavoris Cloud will follow from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on HBO World Championship Boxing, beginning at 9.30 PM ET/PT.

Hopkins Just Keeps on Ticking, But Cloud Aims to Clock Him Out

by Kieran Mulvaney


It has been almost two years since, at the age of 46, Bernard Hopkins overcame Jean Pascal to regain a portion of the light-heavyweight championship and in the process surpass George Foreman as the oldest boxer ever to win a world title. One year and nine months later, he looks to improve on his own record when he challenges Tavoris Cloud for another light-heavyweight belt in Brooklyn on March 9.

Hopkins' career, for all its technical excellence, has become defined by its longevity and by Hopkins' ability to perform at a championship level long after most boxers have hung up their gloves. But the defeat of Pascal stands, so far, as Hopkins' last win.

Since then, he has stepped into the ring twice, both times against Chad Dawson. The first encounter was abortive, Hopkins crashing to his shoulder in the second round of a no-contest five months after the Pascal victory. The second was definitive: Although one judge oddly saw the contest as a draw, the other two, more accurately, scored nine of 12 rounds for Dawson. It was the only time since his first title fight, against Roy Jones in 1993, that Hopkins had been clearly and incontrovertibly defeated.

So is the journey over, the road at an end? Has Hopkins finally reached the point where even he can no longer overcome the one-two punch of the opponent in front of him and Father Time on his shoulder?

Possibly. But not necessarily.

Read the Complete Tavoris Cloud vs. Bernard Hopkins Fight Overview on HBO.com