RARE Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins SIGNED early career black & white promotional 8" x 10" photo.
Bernard Humphrey Hopkins, Jr., known as The Executioner (born January 15, 1965) is an American.
Hopkins is most widely known for his career in the middleweight class, where he held at least a piece of the championship in that class from 1994 until 2005. Having held the International Boxing Federation's middleweight title first, he unified the titles of all three of boxing's major sanctioning bodies in 2001 by winning the World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council titles. In 2004 Hopkins, having added The Ring middleweight championship to his resume as well, became the first middleweight to have held all four of what are considered the major belts when he won the World Boxing Organization's championship from Oscar De La Hoya.
Having defended a World middleweight title a record 20 times before losing the title in 2005, he is considered one of the greatest middleweight champions of all time. The Ring ranked him #3 on their list of the "10 best middleweight title holders of the last 50 years."
After losing his title to Jermain Taylor in 2005 and failing to regain it in a rematch, Hopkins moved up in weight and began challenging for the light heavyweight championship. In his first fight in the class Hopkins won the International Boxing Organization and Ring titles from Antonio Tarver.
Hopkins lost the Ring title to Joe Calzaghe in 2008, but later regained the belt in his second fight with Jean Pascal (after controversially drawing with him in their first fight). Hopkins also won Pascal's WBC title in the match, and at 46 years, 4 months, and 10 days old broke George Foreman's record as the oldest fighter to ever win a world championship.
On March 9, 2013, Hopkins defeated Tavoris Cloud for the IBF light heavyweight championship of the World at age 48 becoming the oldest man in recorded boxing history to win a recognized world boxing championship and to break the record set 21 months earlier, by himself. In addition to being an active boxer, Hopkins is also a minority partner with Golden Boy Promotions.
Born to Bernard Hopkins, Sr. and his wife Sue, Bernard grew up in the Raymond Rosen projects with his family. Hopkins turned to crime early in his life. By the age of thirteen he was mugging people and had been stabbed three times. At seventeen, Hopkins was sentenced to 18 years in Graterford Prison for nine felonies. While in prison he witnessed rapes and the murder of another inmate in an argument over a pack of cigarettes, but also discovered his passion for boxing. After serving almost five years, Hopkins was released from prison in 1988. He then decided to use boxing as an escape from his previous life, and converted to Islam. While leaving the prison for the final time, the warden told Hopkins he'd "see [Hopkins] again when you wind up back in here," to which Hopkins replied "I ain't ever coming back here."
He immediately joined the professional boxing ranks as a light heavyweight, losing his debut on October 11, 1988, in Atlantic City, New Jersey to Clinton Mitchell. After a sixteen-month layoff, he resumed his career as a middleweight, winning a unanimous decision over Greg Paige at the Blue Horizon on February 22, 1990.
Between February 1990 and December 1992, Hopkins scored 21 wins without a loss. He won 16 of those fights by knockout, 12 coming in the first round.
Hopkins vs Jones I
Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones met on May 22, 1993 for the vacant IBF Middleweight title. Hopkins was out pointed much of the fight, losing a wide Unanimous Decision. All three judges scored the fight 116-112 for Jones.
The IBF came again knocking at Hopkins's door on December 17 of that year, matching him with Segundo Mercado in Mercado's hometown of Quito, Ecuador. Mercado knocked Hopkins down twice before Hopkins rallied late and earned a draw. It has been argued that Hopkins was also not properly acclimated to the altitude of nearly 10,000 feet. The IBF called for an immediate rematch, and on April 29, 1995, Hopkins became a World champion with a seventh-round technical knockout victory in Landover, Maryland.
In his first title defence he defeated Steve Frank, whom he stopped in twenty-four seconds. By the end of 2000, he had defended the IBF title 12 times without a loss, while beating such standouts as John David Jackson, Glen Johnson (undefeated at the time and later went on to knock out an aging Roy Jones Jr), Simon Brown, and Antwun Echols.
2001 Middleweight Tournament
The arrival of former welterweight and light middleweight champion Félix Trinidad into the middleweight ranks set off a series of unification fights between major middleweight title-holders. The boxers involved in the tournament would be reigning IBF champion Bernard Hopkins, WBC champion Keith Holmes, WBA champion William Joppy, and Félix Trinidad.
Hopkins vs Holmes
On April 14, 2001, Hopkins won a unanimous decision over WBC champion Keith Holmes in New York City. Trinidad, however, knocked out Middleweight mainstay William Joppy in an impressive five rounds. This led to many to believe that Felix Trinidad was simply too much, too strong for Bernard Hopkins.
Hopkins vs Trinidad
Then, on September 29, 2001, WBA champion Trinidad challenged Hopkins for middleweight unification in Madison Square Garden.
For the first time in many years, Hopkins was an underdog in the betting, which led the confident Hopkins to place a $100,000 bet on himself to win the bout. (The $100K came from a sponsorship deal Hopkins had with online casino sight Golden Palace; Hopkins even had the GoldenPalace.com websight displayed on his back for the fight. During promotion for the bout, Hopkins caused huge controversy by throwing the Puerto Rico flag on the floor in press conferences in both New York and Puerto Rico, the latter conference leading to a riot in which Hopkins had to be run to safety from the angry mob.
During the fight, Hopkins was on his way to a lopsided decision victory when, in the 12th and final round, he floored Trinidad. Referee Steve Smoger called a halt to the fight after Trinidad's father entered the ring to stop the fight. It was the first loss of Trinidad's career, and it made Hopkins the first undisputed world middleweight champion since Marvin Hagler in 1987. 'The Ring' magazine and the 'World Boxing Hall of Fame' named Hopkins as the 2001 Fighter of the Year.
He defended the undisputed title six times. Hopkins bested Carl Daniels on February 2 surpassing Carlos Monzon's division record of 14 defences, 2002, by tenth-round technical knockout; Morrade Hakkar on March 29, 2003, by eighth-round TKO; William Joppy on December 13, 2003, by unanimous decision; and Robert Allen on June 5, 2004, also by unanimous decision.
Hopkins vs De La Hoya
In the highest-paying fight of his career, Hopkins fought six-division titleholder Oscar de la Hoya, another welterweight for the undisputed middleweight championship on September 18, 2004, in Las Vegas. They fought at a catch-weight of 158 lbs, two pounds below the middleweight limit of 160 lbs. Hopkins won the bout by knockout in the ninth round with a left hook to the body and thus became the first boxer ever to unify the titles of all four major sanctioning bodies. At the time of the stoppage, Hopkins was ahead on two of the scorecards, with De La Hoya ahead on the other.
In November 2004 De La Hoya invited Hopkins to join his boxing promotional firm, Golden Boy Promotions, as president of its new East Coast chapter.
At 40 years old, an age at which most boxers are retired, Hopkins reached the middleweight record of 20 title defences on February 19, 2005, against ranked #1 WBC Middleweight contender Howard Eastman, the European middleweight champion. Hopkins dominated the fight from start to finish, winning 119-110, 117-111 and 116-112.
Hopkins vs Taylor
In his next fight on July 16, 2005, Hopkins lost his undisputed middleweight championship to Jermain Taylor via a split decision. Hopkins started slowly but came on strong over the final four rounds. Many press row writers scored the fight for Hopkins.
Hopkins vs Tarver
Following his two losses to Jermain Taylor, Hopkins at 41 decided not to retire and made the decision to jump two weight divisions to face off against The Ring light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver on June 10, 2006. Going into the fight, Tarver was a 3-to-1 favourite and had been the first man ever to TKO Roy Jones Jr. Many now placed Tarver among the sports top competitors. He was constantly ranked in the P4P rankings. However, Bernard Hopkins picked up a lopsided unanimous decision, scoring 118-109 on all three judges scorecards.
Antonio Tarver also lost a $250,000 bet with Hopkins, after he failed to stop Hopkins in the first six rounds.
Hopkins vs Wright
On July 21, 2007, at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Hopkins defended The Ring light heavyweight championship against former undisputed junior middleweight champion Winky Wright. During the weigh-in, Hopkins shoved Wright with an open-hand to the face, igniting a brawl between both fighters' entourages. Hopkins was fined $200,000 for instigating the brawl. Hopkins prevailed with a unanimous decision victory by scores of 117-111, 117-111 and 116-112.
Hopkins vs Calzaghe
On April 19, 2008, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Hopkins lost The Ring light heavyweight title to Joe Calzaghe via split decision (116-111 and 115-112 for Joe Calzaghe; 114-113 for Hopkins). Hopkins started the fight well, dropping Joe Calzaghe in the first round and using his ring savy to confuse the challenger. Calzaghe got up to showcase his blazingly fast hands and devastating combination and despite the fact that Hopkins would smother him whenever he tried to come in and throw more than one punch.
Hopkins vs Pavlik
On October 18, 2008, Hopkins met middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik in a non-title fight at a catch-weight of 170 lbs. Fans and pundits alike felt that knockout king Kelly Pavlik would become the first man to knock Hopkins out. Pavlik was a 4-1 betting favourite heading into the contest. On the night of the fight, Hopkins turned back the clock to produce a performance he claimed to be the best of his career winning a unanimous decision (117-109, 119-106, 118-108) over the undefeated Pavlik. Hopkins prepared for this fight in the late summer heat at his second home, Danny Hawk's "World Famous" Normandy Gym in Miami Beach, FL.
During the Ricky Hatton vs Manny Pacquiao media conferences before their fight on May 3, 2009, Bernard Hopkins stated he would be "interested" in a proposed fight with British super middleweight champion Carl Froch.
On December 2, 2009, Bernard Hopkins fought in his home city of Philadelphia for the first time since 2003 beating Enrique Ornelas via 12-round unanimous decision (120-109, 119-109 & 118-110) in what served as a tune-up bout for the 44-year old Hopkins who had not fought since his October 18, 2008 12-round upset victory over undisputed middleweight champion, Kelly Pavlik.
The bout was supposed to be a tune-up for a scheduled March 13, 2010 rematch with Roy Jones, Jr. The rematch was later postponed as a result of Jones, Jr. falling to a first round technical knockout loss to Australian, Danny Green.
Hopkins vs Jones II
Hopkins and old foe Roy Jones Jr. agreed to fight in a rematch on April 3, 2010 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The two boxers fought again 17 years after their first bout in 1993. Hopkins defeated Jones by a unanimous decision in a 12-round bout marred by illegal blows and a skirmish at the end of the sixth round involving ring entourage, the referee and security guards. Judges Don Trella and Glenn Trowbridge scored it 117-110 for Hopkins, while Dave Moretti favored him 118-109. The Associated Press had it 119-108, scoring 11 of 12 rounds for Hopkins.
He then challenged WBA Heavyweight Champion David Haye who had successfully defended his title against John Ruiz. Following Hopkins challenge, Haye ruled out the fight stating Bernard was only looking for a payday. Hopkins later stated his intentions to fight Lucian Bute following Bute's third round technical knockout victory over Edison Miranda.
Golden Boy Promotions also tried to approach retired boxer Joe Calzaghe for a potential rematch in 2010, but Calzaghe, who stated he no longer had the appetite, turned the offer down.
Hopkins vs Pascal I & II
At 45 years old, Hopkins fought WBC, IBO light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal on December 18, 2010 at the Colisée Pepsi in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The bout ended in a majority draw decision. Judge Steve Morrow had it 114-112 for Hopkins, but was overruled by Claude Paquette (113-113) and Daniel Van de Wiele (114-114). Following the controversy of the fight, WBC chairman Jose Sulaiman sanctioned an immediate rematch.
Jean Pascal vs Bernard Hopkins II
On May 21, 2011, at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada, Hopkins defeated Pascal by unanimous decision to capture the WBC, IBO, and The Ring Light Heavyweight belts. The official scores were 115–113, 116–112 and 115–114. With the win, Hopkins became the oldest man in the history of the sport to win a major World title, supplanting George Foreman, who had previously held the distinction after his knockout victory over Michael Moorer. Hopkins won at 46 years, 4 months, 6 days, while Foreman was 45 years, 10 months. After the bout, ESPN columnist Dan Rafael stated: "Bernard Hopkins already had lived several boxing lifetimes, but he was born yet again in Saturday's decision over Jean Pascal, becoming the oldest champion in history."
Hopkins vs Dawson I & II
Hopkins told the World of boxing that his next fight was going to be against former champion Chad Dawson. They fought on 15 October 2011. Hopkins lost via TKO for being unable to continue after injuring his shoulder when Dawson threw him off of his back.
After an investigation by the WBC following a protest filed by Oscar De La Hoya, the WBC ruled that Dawson intentionally fouled Hopkins and returned the belt to Hopkins. The Ring magazine also decided to continue to recognize Hopkins as their champion pending the California State Athletic Commission’s ruling on a protest filed on behalf of Hopkins. Also on December 13, California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) has ruled that the decision will be overturned to a no-contest upon official review and the testimony of referee of the bout, Pat Russell.
A rematch with Dawson was set for April 28, 2012. Hopkins lost the bout via majority decision. Hopkins would not fight again in 2012, making it the first calendar year since 1989 that Hopkins did not win a fight.
Hopkins vs Cloud
Hopkins would make his return to the ring on March 9, 2013 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, against IBF Light Heavyweight Champion and Ring No. 2 ranked Light Heavyweight, Tavoris Cloud. Hopkins broke his own record becoming the oldest man in the history of the sport to win a major World boxing title, by defeating Cloud by unanimous decision.
Hopkins vs Murat
Hopkins defended the IBF Light Heavyweight Championship against Karo Murat on October 26, 2013. The mandatory title defense was originally scheduled for July 13, 2013, but was later postponed due to visa issues for Murat.
In the meantime, the IBF originally made Sergey Kovalev Hopkins's new mandatory challenger, but Kovalev instead faced and beat then WBO champion Nathan Cleverly to win the title, so Murat was reinstated as the IBF mandatory challenger and the bout was rescheduled for October 26, 2013. Hopkins won by unanimous decision with two scores of 119–108 and one of 117–110.
Hopkins has been coached by Philadelphia based English "Bouie" Fisher from 1989 until their split in 2002 which resulted in Fisher taking Hopkins to court, claiming he was underpaid by $255,000. They re-united in 2003, but split again in 2005, again with Fisher claiming to be underpaid, this time to the tune of $200,000. Naazim Richardson, Fishers long-term assistant took over as Hopkins' head coach from 2005. Fisher won the Eddie Futch-John F.X. Condon Award, awarded by the Boxing Writers Association of America, for Trainer of the Year in 2001. Bouie died aged 83 in June 2011.
In late 2010, Hopkins suggested that African-American fighters who possessed what he described as a "slick" inner-city style of fighting would be successful against Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao. "Maybe I’m biased because I’m black, but I think that this is what is said at people’s homes and around the dinner table among black boxing fans and fighters. Most of them won’t say it [in public] because they’re not being real and they don’t have the balls to say it. But I do think that a fighter like the Ray Leonard's or anyone like that would beat a guy (like Pacquiao) if they come with their game. Listen, this ain’t a racial thing, but then again, maybe it is. But the style that is embedded in most of us black fighters, that style could be a problem to any other style of fighting."
On December 7, 2007, Hopkins and Calzaghe met face to face in the media room set up for the Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Ricky Hatton fight. Hopkins began shouting insults and taunting Calzaghe, with Hopkins shouting, "You're not even in my league! I would never let a white boy beat me. I would never lose to a white boy. I couldn't go back to the projects if I let a white boy beat me." Hopkins would later explain his comments, saying that it was not meant to be taken as a racial slur or a reflection of his feelings on white fighters, but simply said to create some hype for his fight with Calzaghe. On January 23, 2008, the fight was officially announced to take place on April 19, 2008, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, with. Calzaghe winning the fight in a split decision.
On May 11, 2011, Hopkins questioned Minnesota Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb's racial credentials in a Philadelphia Daily News online article. Marcus Hayes of The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that according to Hopkins, McNabb had a privileged childhood in suburban Chicago and, as a result, is not black enough or tough enough, at least compared with, say, himself, Michael Vick and Terrell Owens. Hopkins saying in part, "He's got a suntan. That's all... McNabb is the guy in the house, while everybody else is on the field... He's the one who got the extra coat. The extra servings . . . He thought he was one of them."