Michael Rosenthal and Doug Fischer

RING PASS: Pascal vs. Hopkins

BERNARD HOPKINS

The essentials

Age: 45

Height / Reach: 6-1 (185cm)  / 75 (191cm)

Stance: Orthodox

Hometown: Philadelphia

Nickname: The Executioner

Turned pro: 1988

Record: 51-5-1 (32 knockouts)

Trainer: Naazim Richardson

Fight-by-fight: <a href=" http://boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=1414&cat=boxer ">Click here</a>

The Ring rating: No. 2 light heavyweight

Titles: IBF middleweight (1995-2005; 20 defenses; lost it to Jermain Taylor); WBC middleweight (2001-05); WBA middleweight (2001-2005); RING middleweight (2001-05; lost it to Taylor); WBO middleweight (2004-05); RING light heavyweight (2006-2008; lost it to Joe Calzaghe).

Biggest victories: Segundo Mercado, April 29, 1995, KO 7 (wins first title); Glen Johnson, July 20, 1997, KO 11; Felix Trinidad, Sept. 29, 2001, KO 12; Oscar De La Hoya, Sept. 18, 2004; Antonio Tarver, June 10, 2006, UD 12; Winky Wright, July 21, 2007, UD 12; Kelly Pavlik, Oct. 18, 2008, UD 12; Roy Jones Jr., April 3, 2010, UD 12

Biggest losses: Jones, May 22, UD 12; Taylor, July 6, 2005, SD, 12; Taylor, Dec. 3, 2005, UD 12; Calzaghe, April 19, 2008, SD 12.

Draw: Jean Pascal, Dec. 18, 2010, MD 12

Biography: Hopkins’ life story reads like a movie screenplay. Young boy drifts into a life of crime on the mean streets of Philadelphia and ends up in prison at 17. There, he finds boxing and ultimately becomes middleweight champion of the world and a future Hall of Famer.

Yes, he has a remarkable tale to tell … and it isn’t over yet.

Hopkins became a professional boxer shortly after leaving prison in 1988, losing his debut to Clinton Mitchell. He would lose only once (to Roy Jones Jr. in his first shot at a middleweight title) between then and 2005, a span of 17 years and 49 fights.

During that period, he won his first middleweight title by stopping Segundo Mercado in seven rounds in 1995, ultimately unified all four major titles and had a record 20 successful defenses to assure himself a place in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

And, remarkably, Hopkins wasn’t gifted with exceptional physical gifts. He has succeeded more with uncommon guile – he is one of the best boxers of his time — and unrivaled fitness. Thus, he has been able to remain an elite fighter into his 40s.

Hopkins ultimately saw his streak end and lost his titles to a young Jermain Taylor at 40 in 2005, losing back-to-back decisions (split and unanimous) that were extremely close and controversial.

The old man was hardly finished, though. He immediately moved up to the light heavyweight and stunned the boxing world by easily outpointing Antonio Tarver, who had just upset Jones. He followed that with a decision over Winky Wright, a probably Hall of Famer.

Then, in a highly publicized matchup with unbeaten British star Joe Calzaghe, Hopkins lost another controversial and bitterly disappointing split decision at 43.

Again, though, he had more surprises in store.

In his next fight, he handed then-unbeaten middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik his first defeat by a clear unanimous decision. He followed that with victories over Enrique Ornelas and a badly faded Jones to earn a shot at Jean Pascal’s RING light heavyweight championship.

A victory would’ve made him the oldest man ever to win a major title, surpassing George Foreman, who knocked out Michael Moorer to win the heavyweight title at 45.

Alas, once again Hopkins would leave the ring on the wrong end of a close decision, this time rallying from two early knockdowns.  However, he’ll have another shot to beat Pascal and make history when they meet again on May 21 in Montreal.

Regardless of what happens, Hopkins, now 46, will be remembered as one of the best and most-remarkable fighters who ever lived.

Around the web