Sunday, June 11, 2006

Bernard Hopkins Retires Antonio Tarver to gain IBO Light Heavyweight Title

The picture above gives the impression of a knockout punch, it wasn't. But by the end of the fight Antonio Tarver may have wished he'd just laid down for the ten count.

Not only did Bernard Hopkins defeat Antonio Tarver in 12 rounds to gain the IBO Light Heavyweight crown, he did it against 3 to 1 odds, at 41 years old, moving up two weight classes, adding on 14 pounds, coming off two losses, with retirement in mind.

Hopkins was paid the minimum $5 million for the fight, but he did it more for the historic value (no middleweight has ever won a light heavyweight title) and to honor his idol Sugar Ray Robinson.

In 1952, Robinson, who was the reigning middleweight champ, challenged light heavyweight champ Joey Maxim at Yankee Stadium. Although he was leading after 13 rounds, the 100-plus-degree heat had taken its toll, and Robinson quit on his stool because of heat exhaustion.

Bernard Hopkins wouldn't let anything stand in his way in pursuit of his dream. Now that he's fulfilled that dream and silenced critics once and for all, the question asked was what if someone offered him $20 million to fight again, would he come out of retirement and fight? The Champ answered, "Well, I might come out of my grave for that kind of money."

Maybe now the boxing world will give Bernard Hopkins his due and recognize the sterling career of a tough boxer who always showed up to fight.

Bernard Hopkins, Under-rated Boxer, now Light Heavyweight Champion, Shocks the World.

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