By Keith Idec
Bernard Hopkins says he was joking about boxing until heís 50, but the legendary light heavyweight champion isnít quite sure when heíll retire.
The 46-year-old Hopkins will fight as long as he can continue competing at the sportís elite level.
ďAs 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 itís time to go itís time to go,Ē Hopkins said Wednesday on a conference call to promote his Oct. 15 fight against Chad Dawson. ďI canít think about winning and think about retiring at the same time. Thatís very counterproductive. So I figure that instead of worrying about [the future], worry about where Iím at now.
ďI think, as a matter of fact, I know Iím in a place right now that Iíd rather be defending the title than trying to win a title. So Iím enjoying the moment while Iím here, and Iím going to continue to stack the pages as the pages become interesting and become meaningful. And I think everybody should just enjoy me while Iím here because nothing lasts forever, and I think we all know that.Ē
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 Canadaís 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 heís 50. That, he said Wednesday, is out of the question.
ďA lot of that was basically because I wanted to torture anyone that hoped Iíd leave or voluntarily go away,Ē Hopkins said. ďBecause I realize a lot of people want me to leave, for good or bad reasons. I donít 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.
ďBut no, Iím not going to be fighting until Iím 50 years old. I donít have to and it wonít be a good health risk for me to [fight until Iím 50]. It would be a bad risk for me to even do that, but Iím enjoying it while I can. Iíll be 47 in less than four months Ö right now Iím just going to let the world know that 46 is a great number for Bernard Hopkins. Iíve got to show that next Saturday.Ē
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, NJ., and BoxingScene.com.
Tags: Bernard Hopkins , Chad Dawson , Hopkins vs Dawson , Hopkins-Dawson