By mid-January, Bernard Hopkins (55-6-2) will be 50 years old. A couple months before, on Nov. 8, he will take on 31 year-old Sergey Kovalev (25-0) for the unified light heavyweight title of the world.
It seems like Hopkins has made some sort of history with almost every fight for the past decade or so, and the throwback fighter certainly has a lot of confidence to show for it all. However, his confident statements, many as they are, never seem to include promises of violence or insulting of opponents.
Instead, Hopkins has an almost inverted humility about himself and his accomplishments. He knows that he can still be beaten, even knocked out.
Time and again, however, Hopkins' bragging seems to simply be, "I'm still here." And, he is.
“Anybody at the right time and the right place can get knocked out. It is his job to do what others try to do. It is my job to do what I’ve been doing," he said during a recent press conference in New York City.
“There’s no pressure on me but one thing that is on Bernard Hopkins – that no other fighter really has to do deal with because they’ve never been in my situation is – how I continue to keep making history."
The Russian may be undefeated and possess many advantages over Hopkins, but the old defensive legend has the advantage of knowledge hard-gained from many past falls.
From his time in prison, during which Hopkins turned to boxing and a life of discipline, to his set-backs in the ring, after which he has always managed to bounce back and win impressively.
If he isn't afraid to face the latest, young gunslinger in town, there's good reason - and it isn't simply arrogance. “I’ve been in the game for almost three decades. I look for more of what a guy brings to a gunfight other than bullets," Hopkins said.
"The sweet science is not based on only one thing you can do particularly well. If he comes in the game thinking a punch is all he’ll need, he might be right, so you should watch. I’m walking a tightrope hundreds of feet in the air. He crushes people. Only three or four people survive his hammer."
Will Hopkins be one of those survivors? One gets the sense that, though he believes he can be, Hopkins isn't quite sure himself.
A fighter who fights to truly test themself and see where he or she is at and how far they can push their mind and body is rare. And that, in addition to his great skill, is what makes Hopkins worth-watching at this point in his career.
And, he knows it. “Enjoy this while you can and come see it," he concluded.
"Don’t worry about when or how I’m going to leave or break down. You guys are all humans, I understand you, but you don’t understand me."
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