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The Long Game: 10 of the best Bernard Hopkins performances

Bernard Hopkins
Tom Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
At a time when patience is essential to our happiness, it’s good to have Bernard ‘The Executioner’ Hopkins as a reference point. Here are his 10 best wins

1. Felix Trinidad

Delayed two weeks due to the World Trade Center terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, Hopkins’ clinical dissection of Trinidad went against the form line and pre-fight forecasts. He was too clever for the hard-hitting Puerto Rican and eventually stopped him in the final round.

2. Antonio Tarver

Though only for the IBO version of the light-heavyweight crown, Hopkins’ shock victory against Tarver in 2006 effectively announced him as the best 175lb fighter on the planet. He lost barely a round to Tarver, still flying from victories over Roy Jones Jnr.

3. Kelly Pavlik

Pavlik was the WBC and WBO champion at middleweight when he decided to jump up 10 pounds to fight Hopkins at 170 in 2008. He then paid the price, losing a hugely lopsided decision after a 12-round masterclass.

4. Jean Pascal

After being held to a draw against Pascal in their first fight in Canada, Hopkins returned to the WBC light-heavyweight champion’s home country in 2011 to put the argument to bed. He outboxed for Pascal for much of the fight and even did press-ups between rounds.

5. Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright

Fought at a 170lb catchweight, Hopkins’ 2007 bout against Wright was a meeting of two of the best middleweights from around that time. Hopkins, in beating Wright over 12 rounds, ended ‘Winky’s seven-and-a-half-year unbeaten run.

6. Oscar De La Hoya

Middleweight was a step too much for De La Hoya, despite a controversial win over Felix Sturm to win the WBO title there, and Hopkins confirmed this to be true when they met in 2004, stopping the ‘Golden Boy’ inside nine rounds.

7. Glen Johnson

Johnson was the sort of fighter who matured and improved as he went along, but it’s worth remembering that Hopkins, in 1997, became the first man to beat the rugged Jamaican and would be one of only two men to ever stop him, doing so inside 11 rounds.

8. Keith Holmes

When meeting in 2001, Holmes was the WBC middleweight champion and Hopkins held the IBF version of the title. It was the first unification fight of Hopkins’ career and one he would win by comprehensively outboxing his southpaw opponent over 12 rounds.

9. Beibut Shumenov

Like so many, Shumenov, a WBA light-heavyweight champion, believed he would be too fresh and skilful for Hopkins when they met in 2014 with the ‘Executioner’s IBF light-heavyweight title also on the line. But instead Hopkins dropped him in the 11th round to secure a decision victory.

10. Tavoris Cloud

One fight after losing his WBC light-heavyweight crown to Chad Dawson, a determined Hopkins rebounded to teach Tavoris Cloud a lesson and take his IBF belt from him. Cloud was undefeated in 24 fights at the time.

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