Bernard Hopkins Solidifies His Legend!

6/10/06 - By James Slater: Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, 41 years young, put the finishing touches to an outstanding career last night as he trounced reigning light heavyweight king Antonio Tarver over twelve one sided rounds. B-Hop didn’t put a foot wrong as he dominated his man completely over thirty six minutes of boxing. Beforehand, many experts had predicted that the age of ‘Nard, as he is affectionately known in the business, would prove to be his undoing and he would be beaten by the man known as “The Magic Man”.

This proved to be a completely unfounded opinion, however, as Hopkins reeled off round after round of exquisite boxing. In many ways he has never looked better. And although the age gap between he and Tarver isn’t much, after his disappointing performance in his last fight - against Jermain Taylor - more than a few were urging ’Nard to get his rocking chair ready for permanent use.

Tarver himself actually used the aforementioned piece of furniture as a prop in the pre-fight press conference as a way of taunting his all-time great opponent. After last night’s result it looks as though it may be Antonio who will be using it. For it is very hard to see how he can come back from the one-sided boxing lesson he was subject to at the hands of the majestic Hopkins.

I struggled to give the champion a single round, and when you factor in the flash knockdown B-Hop scored as the bout approached the middle rounds it is clear that he was the vastly superior man on the scorecards.

Thankfully, the judges all agreed - giving ’Nard the unanimous win by identical scores of 118 - 109. There were no arguments from the deposed Tarver. Nor could there be. He was thoroughly outclassed.

So what now? Hopkins told everyone beforehand that this would be his last fight, but judging by his masterly display he still has more than enough left to dominate ANY light heavyweight in the world. The weight factor proved to have no effect on him whatsoever. As I say, he looked as good as he ever has, perhaps even better. It may prove to be mighty hard for him to walk away from the sport after such a beautiful and satisfying victory. Then again, there really isn’t much else Hopkins could do to further add to his standing as a true boxing master - one who has achieved enough to deserve entry into the Hall of Fame at least twice over.

If he does stick with his retirement plan, Bernard will exit the sport on the sweetest of high notes. However, there will almost certainly be a ton of money put on the table in an effort to entice him into at least one more fight. The next few months will be very interesting indeed. I would like to see Hopkins quit now while he is very much ahead. But he has more than earned the right to take his time in deciding what is best for him.

One thing is clear though. ’Nard proved that there is no need in believing in being superstitious. He may have failed to make good with his promise to his late mother of not fighting on past the age of 40,but he is surely glad now that he did so.

I’m sure that she would feel the same way also.

Article posted on 11.06.2006

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