Bernard Hopkins defeats Tavoris Cloud to be oldest to win major title

Evergreen 48-year-old sets new mark by claiming IBF light-heavyweight crown

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 March, 2013, 4:02am


Bernard Hopkins became the oldest boxer to win a major world championship on the weekend, breaking his own record by beating Tavoris Cloud at the age of 48.

Hopkins scored a unanimous 12-round decision to dethrone Cloud, who is 17 years his junior, for the International Boxing Federation's light-heavyweight title.

"The 40 and up club still rules," Hopkins said. "I got a history. I got a history of destroying young champions and you never seen them again."

Hopkins, who goes by the nickname "The Executioner", was 46 in 2011 when he beat Canada's Jean Pascal to win the World Boxing Council light-heavyweight crown.

Now, 25 years after his first professional fight, Hopkins made history again in his 31st championship bout.

"I just wanted to use my speed and reflexes which I still have," he said. "I stuck to the plan. I just took a little time to get warmed up. I said before the fight I was going to work on combination punches. I was trying to throw four or five extra punches that I don't normally throw."

Hopkins won on all three judges scorecards - 117-111, 116-112 and 116-112 - against the previously unbeaten Cloud at the Barclays Centre arena in Brooklyn, New York.

He connected on 41 per cent of his overall punches and landed 110 out of 227 power punches.

Hopkins landed one of his best punches in the sixth round, which opened a nasty cut over the left eye of fellow American Cloud, who was making his fifth title defence.

His trainers worked to close the cut between rounds but each time they did it would start bleeding again in the middle of the later rounds as Hopkins focused on it.

Cloud threw 650 total punches to Hopkins' 417 but found himself in trouble in the ring after the cut.

Referee Earl Brown ruled it to have come from an accidental headbutt, but television replays showed Hopkins did the damage with a well-timed left uppercut.

Hopkins, a former two-division champ, joked in the ring afterwards that he plans to fight for another five years.

"Once I found my rhythm in fourth or fifth round, things became easy and I saw a lot of telegraph punches coming from Cloud," Hopkins said. "I told him I won't be here too long - only five more years."

Hopkins beat Pascal to become the oldest to win a major title, surpassing legendary heavyweight George Foreman's mark of 45.

Hopkins improves to 53-6 with two drawn and 32 knockouts. Cloud, who was only six years old when Hopkins first stepped in the ring, drops to 24-1.