Did Bernard Hopkins Win New Fans?

hopkins boxing22.04.08 - By “Old Yank” Schneider, photo © / GBP: Bernard Hopkins…what can one say but, Philly perfection. Few are tested in the furnaces of hell and then returned to us. Bernard Hopkins is one such special person; nee, special fighter and special man.

A promise broken to a mother’s soul is the price to be paid for the redemption of a boy finding his manhood – a 43 year-old boy finding manhood. There are few boxers who find themselves and their destiny at the same time. The reclamation of perfection is here to be claimed by one named Hopkins. He will rise to the challenge; he always has.

In an era pot marked by drug scandal and steroid scandal, a professional athlete stands above the noise as a beacon to the truth of redemption.. His name is Bernard Hopkins. We’ve grown weary of the projects to prison, to tossing a dime into the Salvation Army collection tin story. This is not how Bernard Hopkins has raised himself above the din. He has done so by making his body his temple and by making redemption a living piece of his mind, body and soul.

Bernard Hopkins is a living testament to a life fulfilled. Oh yes, he is a boxer extraordinaire. But he is so much more. He is a philanthropist and a sentimentalist of amazing proportions. When he cut the ribbon at the Charles Henry Elementary School Playground in Philadelphia, he said, “My mother raised me in this area, and it is a great honor to memorialize her with something in this neighborhood”. Little was made of the Hopkins donation of $60,000 to make the playground a reality. But I noticed. I knew what it was like to grow up in a neighborhood that had no money to support kids.

And what can be made of the accomplishments of Bernard Hopkins in the ring?

Do these names ring a bell? Wright, Tarver, Taylor, Eastman, De La Hoya, Joppy, Trinidad, Vanderpool, Johnson and Mercado; they are all names on the Hopkins dance card. If they don’t ring a bell, then you were never a fan of Victor Hugo and the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

From the bowels of the Blue Horizon to the golden glitz of Las Vegas, few have ever graced the stage like Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins. His record stands at 48 and 5 with one draw and 32 by way of knock out. He held the middleweight title like the smooth, purple skinned white haired vixen of the Olestra Galaxy holds her stars. He chose the colors to keep and those to discard – even to his bold, 1950’s-like proclamation of “no white boy will ever beat me”. His was a statement borne of the fire of redemption of a man and the redemption of a race. There will never be another like him.

Short the praise, but long the true story; who will join me in tipping a hat?

Article posted on 22.04.2008

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