Boxing great and current WBC Light Heavyweight champ, Bernard Hopkins, was honored in his hometown of Philadelphia on Wednesday (June 1) by Mayor Michael Nutter for his recent history-making win over Jean Pascal last month.
On May 21st, the 42-year-old made boxing history in Montreal, Canada, when he won a title fight against Pascal by unanimous decision, and became the oldest fighter in the sport’s history to win a major world title.
In front of Philly’s iconic Rocky Statue at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Nutter presented Hopkins with a Liberty Bell replica and made a proclamation saluting Hopkins and acknowledging his history-making accomplishment.
“[Bernard Hopkins] had some challenges as a teenager. He found himself on the wrong side of the law, but in prison, he found faith in himself and in boxing. This is the real reason why Bernard Hopkins is a champion,” said Mayor Nutter. “The heritage of great boxing in Philadelphia is proudly being carried on by Bernard Hopkins.
“Even more than these accomplishments, his life is a lesson to all of us. It is never too late to do something great. It is never too late to change your life. Philadelphia is a city of second chances, and we are proud to honor Bernard Hopkins.”
Hopkins echoed those comments, saying Philly was the backbone of his success.
“The ‘Rocky’ movies are an inspiration to the blue collar workers of this city,” said the boxer. “Rocky used what he had to make the best of it, which is what I had to do. I played jacks like they were aces and I made something out of nothing.
“Where we are standing right now, is where I train. It is where I started,” Hopkins continued, while standing directly in front of the Rocky statue. “I have run those steps [of the Philadelphia Museum of Art] for many years, even last month [in preparation for the Pascal fight].
“It means a great deal to me to be honored where I train. This is where I have come all of my life.”
Despite all his success, Hopkins has had some hurdles to leap during his career. He also reflected on some of those setbacks, which he says didn’t stop him from chasing his dream.
“I lost my first fight at the Blue Horizon in Philadelphia. I lost a four round fight and I didn’t let that stop me from continuing on in my career,” said Hopkins. “I invested in my life…people ask, ‘What is your secret?’ They are waiting for me to say ‘I am that good,’ but I am here because I invested in myself and made a determination not to get caught up in the high life of being a celebrity.”
Hopkins’ boxing record improved to 52-5-2 during his last fight. He also broke the age record set by George Foreman, who was 45 when he KO’d Michael Moorer in a heavyweight title bout in 1994.
What he plans to do next, or who he will fight, was unknown at press time.