We don't normally celebrate boxers who persist past their 40s. The sport's too dangerous, too hard. Fighters who believe that their hard-won guile is some substitute for the desperation of youth either have delusions or huge tax liens. But
Hopkins has always been
The Pavlik fight, held in October, was supposed to be a non-title exhibition -- Pavlik, who still holds middleweight titles, moved up in weight for the bout -- that anointed the Youngstown scrapper as boxing's new guiding light. Indeed, had Pavlik won as everyone expected, we might well be nominating him for Sportsman of the Year, so strongly did he embody a long-lost work ethic. He was a throwback fighter, no glamour, all grit, and his mounting credibility as a middleweight was beginning to enliven a sport that was skewing old. It's been a while since a young kid named
Oh, well. There's no bigger fool than the one who plans boxing stardom. Or who discounts Hopkins' chances. The old man gave a master class in boxing that night, completely frustrating and bewildering Pavlik, completely neutralizing his power. "People say Bernard Hopkins is old," Hopkins said afterward. "I am." But he is definitely not finished. The man who shocked
But, man, is he good.