Bernard Hopkins, 50 in January, has announced that he will not retire and plans to return for “one more fight.”
The veteran, who has been a professional boxer for 26 years, lost every round of Saturday night’s light-heavyweight unification showdown with Russia’s Sergey Kovalev, taking some frightful blows along the way in the most comprehensive loss of his career.
He indicated that his swansong will come in a smaller weight class.
“Who will I fight? I don’t know. But it will be somebody I will be an underdog against because I want to be the underdog,” he said.
“If this is the last time I go into the ring I will not cheat myself. It will not be a freak show. I will never short-change myself and my dignity.
“It will be somebody that’s a champion. It will be from a division beneath me but where they’re comfortable and I’m comfortable. It will be someone that’s dominating today.”
That would appear to rule out a shot at WBC light-heavyweight champion, Adonis Stevenson. Carl Froch, the IBF super-middleweight champion might appeal to Hopkins, but a showdown is unlikely to be welcomed by the proud Englishman who is looking for a career-defining showdown. Also consider that Froch is the division’s No.2 and Hopkins has made it clear in the past he has no intention of fighting No.1, Andre Ward. That would take us down to the 160lb weight class – where Hopkins ruled from 1995 to 2005 – and the terrifying figure of Gennady Golovkin.
The Kazakh, who has been knocking out all-comers while trying to secure a big fight, fits Hopkins’ description perfectly. But the fight sounds like a horrendous fit for the veteran. Not only would Bernard be facing another savage predator, and one of even higher esteem than Kovalev, the former champion’s old bones would be forced to drop substantial weight. Neither activity will suit a 50-year-old athlete desperate to prove to the boxing world that he still belongs.
“Physically, if you see me today, you’d think I didn’t have a fight [last Saturday],” he said. “But inside, trust me – my arms, the back of my head and the top of my head – oh yeah, I was in a fight. I’ve been in the hot tub for the last 48 hours.
“I had the most underrated chin in boxing but I think that changed on Saturday. I’ve never been in this business to prove I can take a punch – that’s why I’ve been around so long.”
KOVALEV-HOPKINS ringside report and EXCLUSIVE WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO interview in this week’s BOXING NEWS, established in 1909 and the longest running publication on the market and available every Tuesday. SAVE MONEY and GET THE BEST COVERAGE EVERY WEEK.