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Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Bernard Hopkins, 48, Oldest Fighter to Capture a Major Title

bhopkinsBernard Hopkins became the oldest fighter to capture a major boxing title Saturday night, defeating Tavoris Cloud in a unanimous 12-round decision to claim IBF light heavyweight championship in Brooklyn.

“It feels good. It feels real,” the 48-year-old Hopkins said after the fight. “I’m going to Junior’s (Restaurant and) I’m going to have cheesecake.”

Hopkins broke the record that he set when he was 47 years old and defeated Jean Pascal for the WBC light heavyweight title on May 21, 2011. But Hopkins maintained that his fight against 30-year-old Cloud was bigger because he was older.

“Tonight was one of the bigger fights (in my career).”

Hopkins, who has said that he will not fight past the age of 50, is optimistic what the next two years of his career has in store for him.

“I don’t believe anybody in the 175(-pound) weight class and possibly the 168(-pound) class can beat me.”

Hopkins, who was in the main event of an eight-fight card at the Barclays Center, improved his record to 53-6-2 after fighting in his 19th title bout. The 30-year-old Cloud suffered his first loss, falling to 19-1.

The old school fighting style of Hopkins was a little too much for the new school style of Cloud. Hopkins controlled the bout by forcing a more patient and technical match against Cloud. Cloud appeared to never be able to get into a consistent rhythm. Hopkins was able to land multiple jabs to his face eventually causing a cut above the left eye of Cloud.

“I have to throw a lot of substance (into fights). I’m fighting old school in a new world,” Hopkins said. “(I) have to learn how to adapt to what (the judges) are looking for. We knew a 30-year-old guy was not going to run a 48-year-old guy.”

Hopkins threw 417 punches and landed 169 of them. Cloud threw 650 punches and connected on 139 of them.

“I was only average tonight,” Cloud said. “He hit me with an elbow but I’m not complaining. It is what it is.”

For now, Hopkins can enjoy as much Junior’s Restaurant cheesecake as he wants until he defends his title against his next opponent, who has yet to be determined.

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