Hopkins erases previous record, becomes boxing’s oldest champion
Brooklyn, NY, United States (4E Sports) – Bernard Hopkins scored a 12-round unanimous decision win over Tavoris Cloud to capture the IBF light-heavyweight title Sunday at Barclays Center, becoming the oldest man to win a major world title at age 48.
Hopkins got scores of 116-112 from judges John Poturaj and John Stewart and 117-111 to snatch the title and erase his own record he set when he beat Jean Pascal for the WBC 175-pound title at age 46.
Hopkins improved his record to 53-6-2, with 32 knockouts and handed the 31-year-old Cloud, who entered the ring as the sentimental favorite, his first loss in 25 fights (19 knockouts).
“I just wanted to use my speed and reflexes, which I still have at 48 years old,” Hopkins said. “I stuck to the plan. I took some time to get warmed up. He’s a gutsy, young champion. I have a history of destroying young champions that you’ll never see again.”
In his career, Hopkins has pulled off a number of stunning upsets, including a crushing knockout of Felix Trinidad at Madison Square Garden in 2001.
Hopkins’ victory over Trinidad propelled him to superstar status despite dominating the middleweight division for years.
As a light-heavyweight, Hopkins continued to surprise opponents, defeating Kelly Pavlik, Antonio Tarver and Pascal.
After a slow start, Cloud picked up his pace in the second round using his quickness to his advantage. Cloud hit Hopkins with a short uppercut that caught the veteran fighter under the chin.
Cloud received a bad cut along the top of his left eyelid in the fifth round. He told the referee that the cut came from an elbow, but HBO replays showed that it came from a Hopkins left hook.
“I was only average tonight. He hit me with an elbow. But I’m not complaining. It is what it is,” Cloud said.
In the other fight, welterweight contender Keith Thurman (20-0, 18 KOs) pounded out a lopsided unanimous 12-round decision over Jan Zaveck (32-3, 18 KOs).