A Champ at 48, Bernard Hopkins Could Keep Fighting

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He’s coming off his most convincing victory in years in the 175-pound title fight against the 31-year-old Cloud. Hopkins connected on 169 of 417 punches and opened a cut over Cloud’s left eye.

He stayed Sunday in New York and celebrated with a slice of cheesecake, a well-earned treat for a straight-edge fighter who abstains from alcohol, late nights, and sweets. He’s crafted a lifestyle that’s allowed him to fight as he pushes 50.

Winning at his age already makes him a novelty in a sport where so many fighters are finished in their 30s. He’s always been adamant at going out on his own terms and building on the legacy that already includes a dazzling 20 straight middleweight title defenses.

“I don’t want to be a circus act,” Hopkins said. “I’m a very proud man. They say fighters get old in the ring. No, fighters get old in the gym when no one’s honest enough to tell them they’re old.”

Hopkins also ran into promoter Don King in the hotel Sunday morning. Cloud had been considered the last prospect in King’s stable. King and Hopkins have long had an acrimonious relationship; Hopkins boasted last week of finishing off King once and for all. But King told Hopkins he was proud of him in their brief chat. Hopkins said he appreciated the gesture.

So, if not retirement, what’s next? Hopkins said before the fight he’d like to face WBO light heavyweight champ Nathan Cleverly. But Cleverly has contractual commitments ahead that could make that fight an impossibility. Hopkins will keep looking for one more big fight on HBO or Showtime. If not, it’s off he’ll go as the oldest champ to quit on top.

“I have some history-making moments in me. Not a lot,” he said, “but there are more.

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