RING light heavyweight champ Bernard Hopkins turned 47 on January 15, and shares the same birthday as Martin Luther King.
Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 knockouts) also shares a similar concern for African American youth, albeit more in relation to what he views as their increasing lack of participation in the sport which allowed the former convict to transform himself into a millionaire.
“We’re losing them in the inner city. Our last really great Olympic team was, what, 1984? In places like Philly and Camden and Jersey, we’re not seeing them take up boxing. It’s not easy and most of them won’t make it,” Hopkins told Kevin Iole of Yahoo!Sports.
“But it used to be, you’d go to the gyms and they were overflowing with [African American men] working out, trying to make it. But now, that’s not the case.”
At the age of about 22, former Philadelphia street thug Bernard Hopkins began his professional boxing career after having emerged from a five-year stint in Pennsylvania’s Graterford Prison.
Hopkins longs for more at-risk youth to become inclined to follow in his footsteps.
“I think they’d rather try to be the next Jay-Z rather than the next great champion,” said Hopkins. “We are losing boxing in the black community and that’s something to be seriously concerned about.”
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions