Bernard Hopkins: Years and MileageWritten by Marc Livitz
For the most part, what transpired in Atlantic City on Saturday night between Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson was not a very painful sight to behold.
There have been more instances when we would rather forget where a fighter finds out in the most cruel possible way that the envelope can no longer be pushed forward in a calm and orderly fashion. Everyone in their right mind should try to make the most of their time above ground even if they choose to identify a race against time as their biggest inspiration.
Little by little, things change. Situations dictate the pace, sometimes with ruthless abandon. The pain can begin for many when time changes, but they do not. Boxing is an art; the finest of arts which is presented within an exhibit from the hardest working athletes in all of professional sports.
When a beautiful painting or tapestry hangs upon a display for too long, it may eventually have to change hands, yet the museum is long appreciative of its splendor and contribution to the cause.
For an all-time great such as Bernard Hopkins, the time may have finally arrived to let go. Not necessarily let go, but rather to loosen the grip and face up and outward.
One of the most admirable traits of Hopkins, affectionately known to many as "B-HOP," over the years has been his wittiness, his candor, and to no end, his efforts in the ring. As long as he just kept on winning, the fans would keep coming and the intelligentsia, who call themselves scribes, would offer nothing short of complimentary accordance with his decision to fight on...and on...and on.
Strangely enough, it may be the case that his age (in boxing terms) has allowed him to stay safe from ardent criticism due to his fighting style within the ring. Think about it for just a moment. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has a bout this coming Saturday. He is picked to win, naturally. He's a defensive, safety-first wizard within the ring. He's been however called boring, yet he gets the job done. Contrast that with Bernard Hopkins. If his last handful of fights are anything close to barn burners, then slap us hard because the shock paddles have surely been fried.
The ability to stay relevant within a young man's sport at the age of forty seven is beyond commendable. Gall, comparable to the likes of North Korea, is shown by any TV announcer or writer who dares to compare the accomplishments of "B-HOP" to a washout baseball player simply because their respective ages appear to be in the same neighborhood.
That's like correlating a Steinway grand piano to a Casio synthesizer from 1986, even if it is the coolest one....the one with the miniature drum pads and metronome on it. Please.
Rather, an analogy made from a grandfather clock to a stopwatch might be more the case with Bernard Hopkins. The stopwatch can measure split seconds and will start and stop at the press of a button. The grandfather clock doesn't necessarily stop unless you fiddle enough with the kit and caboodle. Alas, the taller timepiece is much noisier as well.
April 28, 2012. Boardwalk Hall, Caesars Palace, Atlantic City, New Jersey; the stopwatch ticked effectively and used efficient timing. The grandfather clock didn't know when to stop. It took the same painful transition as typewriter to desktop to alert the involved parties that enough is enough. The train just cannot keep on rolling.
Chad Dawson had a plan. It seemed as if he knew full well that Hopkins would not push the action until later in the fight. Most boxing fans were aware of this supposed fact as well. The legend from Philadelphia and a core hardened solid steel lock for Canastota has made his fight with "Father Time" into a bit of a sideshow over the past few years.
A recent article in Ring Magazine actually had a photo of him taking a playful bite into a wall clock. That's fine until the opponent from across the ring has the goods and most important, the knowledge to scratch the face off of it.
Has time caught up with Bernard Hopkins?
Maybe not, but he certainly has. He's not likely to change his game plan at this point in his career. As bizarre as it may seem, there are yet instances when quantity can trump quality. "Bad" Chad did more throughout much of the fight and by all accounts won perhaps even ten rounds on Saturday night.
There is a seasoned proverb which states, "Man fears time, but time fears the pyramids". This is a bit closer to the truth than the belief that your time will never truly arrive. So, yes we applaud at full stance and attention the efforts, contributions and indelible chiseled mark on the sport of boxing from Bernard Hopkins.
He must make the decision on his own. Only he knows what is best for him. Some of us were wrong to keep counting him out fight after fight. This likely made him smile a bit more. The sting of the loss to Dawson surely won't be as rueful as the sight of being knocked out by a lesser foe should he continue to force the issue.
His farewell tour may have already started. Unless judge Luis Rivera, who scored Hopkins/Dawson II a 114-114 draw left his glasses at home, the first parting gift has been given to him.
He didn't stay around long enough after the fight to tell Max Kellerman what else was on his list.