Bernard Hopkins Began His Career With A Loss, Will He End His Career With One Too?

by James Slater - Exactly twenty years ago yesterday (October 11th), after having been released from prison, a young, 23-year-old Bernard Hopkins had his first pro boxing contest. He lost, on points over four rounds, to one Clifton Mitchell in a bout that took place in the light-heavyweight division.

No-one could have possibly known it then, but Hopkins would one day carve out a career for himself as a true great.. Still fighting today at age 43, "The Executioner" has only lost a further four bouts since the Mitchell defeat, with one bout being a draw. The question is, will "B-Hop's" career finish the way it began, with a loss?

As fight fans know, Hopkins boxes the unbeaten and lethal punching middleweight world champion Kelly Pavlik this coming Saturday, at a catch-weight of 170-pounds. A loss to "The Ghost" would surely signal the end of the Philly fighter's superb career, and Bernard is the underdog going in. There is a good chance then, that Hopkins' career will end the way it began.

Very few fighters, no matter how great, go out on top. But Hopkins may be different. As smart as can be, the veteran has not taken the fight with Pavlik at all lightly. Truly believing he can win, the former middleweight and light-heavyweight boss just might be proven correct. If so, and if Hopkins were to call it a day after having picked up yet another unexpected victory, "B-Hop" would find himself in a pretty rare position. How many other all-time greats had careers where they came in with a loss but went out with a win? There aren't many, that's for sure.

Henry Armstrong is probably the most famous future great to begin his fighting days for pay with a loss, but he, like many other greats, went out with a loss. Bernard Hopkins is in with a shot at doing something pretty special. Can he beat the man who has seen off all 34 of his previous opponents? It won't be easy. Pavlik hits as hard, perhaps harder, than anyone Hopkins has faced before, and as such, considering Bernard's age, must be in with a shot at getting a stoppage win.

For what it's worth, I think Hopkins WILL see it to the final bell. Giving Pavlik the kind of tough and frustrating fight he gave Joe Calzaghe last time out, "The Executioner" will fail to win but will also prevent his opponent from looking good.

Bernard Hopkins will go out of the sport of boxing the way he came in, with a points loss.

Article posted on 13.10.2008

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