By Lyle Fitzsimmons - I confess. I’d never been the biggest Bernard Hopkins fan.
In fact, it wasn’t all that long ago – while slaving for another boxing master – that I penned a column titled “Goodbye Bernard, Old Buddy” in the run-up to the old man’s (he was a month shy of 41 at the time) loss to Jermain Taylor in the second of their middleweight title fights in December 2005.
Back then, as his claim to the 160-pound fiefdom was finally loosened after 11 years, I was more than happy to break from collective media stride by both forecasting a second straight Taylor win (via stoppage, in 10 rounds) and questioning the idea that his prolonged run there had made him a legend.
The latter, incidentally, is a viewpoint I have no shame in maintaining here in 2013.
In my mind, had Hopkins retired after meeting JT once or twice, the resume he’d compiled while working the Allen/Hakkar/Mercado circuit – with a few ex-welterweights thrown in for flavor – would have warranted lasting respect from fans… but no celebratory plaque in upstate New York. [Click Here To Read More