Fifty things that make Bernard Hopkins special as he celebrates birthday No. 50

Kevin Iole
Boxing
In this Jan. 7, 2015, photo, boxer Bernard Hopkins speaks during an interview in Philadelphia. Hopkins turns 50 on Thursday, Jan. 15, with every intention of fighting again to make it four decades in the ring.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Former champion Hopkins wants more fights in his 50s

In this Jan. 7, 2015, photo, boxer Bernard Hopkins speaks during an interview in Philadelphia. Hopkins turns 50 on Thursday, Jan. 15, with every intention of fighting again to make it four decades in the ring.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

LAS VEGAS – Bernard Hopkins remains one of the most intriguing athletes in professional sports, even two months after a one-sided defeat in a light heavyweight title fight with Sergey Kovalev.

Hopkins turned 50 on Thursday, sharing the same birthday as the great civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I've covered Hopkins for well more than 20 years and can personally attest that he's a unique athlete.

On his day of days, here are 50 facts that make B-Hop one of sport's most interesting figures:

50. Ronald Reagan was president when Hopkins fought his first professional fight on Oct. 11, 1988.

49. Floyd Mayweather Jr. was 11 and Manny Pacquiao was 9 when Hopkins debuted.

48. He testified before Congress in support of the Muhammad Ali Professional Boxing Reform Act in 2003.

47. He is 2-1 against fighters already in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

46. He held a version of the middleweight title continuously for 10 years, two months and 17 days.

45. He made 20 consecutive successful middleweight title defenses.

44. He's a millionaire many times over, but he still carries a Costco card.

43. He broke George Foreman's record to become the oldest boxing champion in history when he defeated Jean Pascal at 46 years, fourth months and six days in 2011.

42. He won his first world title fight in 1994. He won his last world title fight in 2014.

41. He fought for his first world title in Ecuador.

Bernard Hopkins wears an alien mask for his fight with Sergey Kovalev. (Getty)
Bernard Hopkins wears an alien mask for his fight with Sergey Kovalev. (Getty)

40. Pay-per-view did not exist when Hopkins first turned pro.

39. Showtime had only been broadcasting boxing for two years when Hopkins turned pro. It has been in the business now for 29 years.

38. His first nickname was "The Executioner."

37. His current nickname is "The Alien."

36. When he was paroled from prison, a security guard said he'd see him in six months. Hopkins vowed to reform his life and never return. He has not.

35. He's beaten fighters born in the U.S., Haiti, Kazakhstan, Germany, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Guyana, France,  Canada, Colombia, Jamaica and Ecuador.

34. He has owned a piece of Golden Boy Promotions for more than 10 years.

33. He used to wear an executioner's mask into the ring.

32. He wore an alien mask into the ring for several fights.

31. He lost his pro debut by majority decision.

30. He defeated one Olympic gold medalist and two Olympic bronze medalists during his career.

29. He's been knocked down only three times in 66 fights.

28. He defeated John David Jackson in a middleweight title fight and then faced Jackson, who worked as a trainer, in a light heavyweight title fight.

27. He's fought 10 times in his hometown of Philadelphia.

26. He's been promoted by Top Rank, Golden Boy, Don King Productions, America Presents and Butch Lewis.

Bernard Hopkins (L) and Felix Trinidad pose with promoter Don King before their fight on Sept. 15, 2001, in New York. (Getty Images)
Bernard Hopkins (L) and Felix Trinidad pose with promoter Don King before their fight on Sept. 15, 2001, in New York. (Getty Images)

25. He won the Sugar Ray Robinson Trophy by winning Don King's middleweight tournament in 2001.

24. Hopkins once fought with an advertisement for an online casino on his back.

23. He successfully defended the undisputed middleweight title six times.

22. Voted by Ring Magazine in 2011 as the third-best middleweight of the last 50 years.

21. Sumbu Kalambay, who was the middleweight champion when Hopkins debuted in 1988, has been retired for 22 years.

20. He has fought rematches with Segundo Mercado, Antwun Echols, Robert Allen, Jermain Taylor, Roy Jones, Jean Pascal and Chad Dawson.

19. He lost to Roy Jones in a 1993 middleweight title fight.

18. He defeated Roy Jones in a 2010 light heavyweight bout.

17. He has fought professionally in four decades.

16. He's only been trained by two men, Bouie Fisher and Naazim Richardson.

15. He has fought in 33 world title bouts in which at least one of the IBF, WBA, WBC or WBO belts were at stake.

14. Kovalev defeated Hopkins in his 27th pro fight. Hopkins has had six more title fights than Kovalev has total fights.

13. He is 24-5-2 with two no contests in his 33 world title matches.

Bernard Hopkins (L) and Oscar De La Hoya in 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Bernard Hopkins (L) and Oscar De La Hoya in 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

12. He is 8-6 against boxers who had zero losses at the time he faced them.

11. He was 10-5-1 with one no contest while fighting in his 40s.

10. He was 19-0 with one no contest while fighting in his 30s.

9. He was 26-2-1 while fighting in his 20s.

8. He has defeated three men who were named Fighter of the Year at some point in their careers by the Boxing Writers Association of America.

7. Hopkins was named the 2001 Fighter of the Year by the BWAA.

6. Hopkins was named the 2004 Manager of the Year by the BWAA for managing himself.

5. The Washington Redskins were reigning Super Bowl champions when Hopkins turned pro.

4. Hopkins made his pro debut five days before Game 1 of the 1988 World Series between the A's and Dodgers.

3. He became the oldest fighter to unify two or more major world titles when he defeated Beibut Shumenov last year at age 49.

2. He appeared at the U.S. Capitol last year to lend his support for a landmark brain study of fighters that could make the sport safer.

1. He is 50 years old and still isn't ready to retire.

Happy 50th birthday, Bernard. You're truly one of a kind.

Bernard Hopkins trains in 2014. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Bernard Hopkins trains in 2014. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

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