By Keith Idec
Bernard Hopkins says he was joking about boxing until he’s 50, but the legendary light heavyweight champion isn’t quite sure when he’ll retire.
The 46-year-old Hopkins will fight as long as he can continue competing at the sport’s elite level.
“As long as I have the desire to continue to win and not embarrass myself and [not] embarrass the sport, I think at the end, when it’s time to go it’s time to go,” Hopkins said Wednesday on a conference call to promote his Oct. 15 fight against Chad Dawson. “I can’t think about winning and think about retiring at the same time. That’s very counterproductive. So I figure that instead of worrying about [the future], worry about where I’m at now.
“I think, as a matter of fact, I know I’m in a place right now that I’d rather be defending the title than trying to win a title. So I’m enjoying the moment while I’m here, and I’m going to continue to stack the pages as the pages become interesting and become meaningful. And I think everybody should just enjoy me while I’m here because nothing lasts forever, and I think we all know that.”
Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOs, 1 NC), a Philadelphia native, became the oldest boxer ever to win a recognized world title when he out-pointed Canada’s Jean Pascal in their 12-round fight May 21 in Montreal. Part of the three-fight contract he signed with HBO Sports after his controversial majority draw with Pascal on Dec. 18 in Quebec City called for him to face Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs, 1 NC) if he topped Pascal in their rematch.
After defeating Pascal (26-2-1, 16 KOs), Hopkins playfully predicted he would fight until he’s 50. That, he said Wednesday, is out of the question.
“A lot of that was basically because I wanted to torture anyone that hoped I’d leave or voluntarily go away,” Hopkins said. “Because I realize a lot of people want me to leave, for good or bad reasons. I don’t take it personally anymore. But on the same token, I was having some fun and I was just making some people in the world sleep kind of hard and kind of miserable the night I won the fight with Jean Pascal.
“But no, I’m not going to be fighting until I’m 50 years old. I don’t have to and it won’t be a good health risk for me to [fight until I’m 50]. It would be a bad risk for me to even do that, but I’m enjoying it while I can. I’ll be 47 in less than four months … right now I’m just going to let the world know that 46 is a great number for Bernard Hopkins. I’ve got to show that next Saturday.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, NJ., and BoxingScene.com.