Bernard Hopkins made history earlier this year when he became the oldest fighter to win a championship belt. At age 46, Hopkins is trying to continue his historic run when he will be defending his title against one of the best fighters in the light heavyweight division, Chad Dawson.
Hopkins, 52-5 with two draws and 32 knockouts, is living proof that men can and do get better with age. To be a peak performer at this age is impressive but Hopkins says it’s all about the right conditioning. “First of all its longevity because of life style,” said Hopkins when he addressed a group of reporters immediately following a press conference in Los Angeles to promote the fight against Chad Dawson.
According to Hopkins: “You go to the bank. Whatever you put in and whatever interest comes off that principle is what I did in the twenties and thirties about maintaining a healthy life style. It’s called investment. Now, I am fortunate enough to be around this late in the game, age wise. It’s not late for me, because why? Right now I am getting the interest, never mess with the principle and I am working off the interest now.
"The business mentality that I’ve been known for, added to my life, not yesterday but twenty years ago, right out of penitentiary in eighty eight; that’s 24 or 23 years ago and I said if I can invest my money the way I live than I should be able to go back to the bank when I need it. And that’s where we are at. I am only getting investments, the interest off of how I took care of myself.”
“You all see the way I look,” said Hopkins who trained with his trusted coach Nazim Richardson in Philadelphia for this fight. “You all see my weight. I am right on the mark, but I got to get it up. We’ll maintain it, watch it, depending on how I work, because I work hard and if they don’t stop me I burn up.
"So, now it’s about maintaining and living off the interest and not the principle of what I am doing right now. It’s the same in business, the same in their philosophy, the same I told down in New York at Bloomberg after I won the fight.”
Hopkins ruled the middleweight division for a decade from 1995 to 2005, the last four of those years as an undisputed champion. What drives Hopkins to stay in the ring is the challenge of a new generation of rivals.
Bernard Hopkins has stayed in shape throughout his career. His work ethic in the gym has been described as Spartan-like. He literally eats, sleeps, and breathes boxing. He doesn’t pig out and gain weight in between fights. He doesn’t take extended breaks from the gym. He remains disciplined and focused and has done so his entire career.
Chad Dawson, trying to reclaim the crown he lost to Jean Pascal last year in his only pro defeat, has hired former world champion Winky Wright, who lost to Hopkins in 2007, to help him prepare for what he calls Hopkins’ “dirty” tactics.
Should Bernard Hopkins successfully defeats the much younger Chad Dawson this Saturday, there is a good chance we could see a Hopkins vs. Jean Pascal III.
Pascal’s promoter, Yvon Michel, reportedly said that HBO told him that Pascal is in line to face the winner of the Hopkins vs. Dawson fight. Reportedly, former 175-pound king Pascal, who has a loss and a draw against Hopkins and a win against Dawson, would get his chance some time in 2012.
This story should be an inspiration for all men out there who don’t believe that experience can beat youth or that you are no longer a competitor after a certain age.
Look at Hopkins, who, through discipline and hard work is able to accomplish extraordinary goals at age 46.