Boxer & Pundit
Birthday boy Bernard Hopkins has to be admired, if not loved, says Paul Smith
Still going strong at 50 is 'some achievement'
Last Updated: 16/01/15 9:14am
Thursday was Bernard Hopkins' birthday and while he admits he is not a fan, Paul Smith pays tribute to the 50-year-old.
If I pick up a knock now it takes me a couple of days to get over it and I am only 32. Imagine me doing it in 18 years time? I am not sure I'll want to do it in 18 months time!
I've got to be honest and tell you I am not a Bernard Hopkins fan. But it's hard not to respect and admire what he has done and is still doing at his age.
He remains a very good technical boxer and really tough as well. To have been fighting for 27 years says it all. It is brilliant.
In fact, it's only really Hopkins' personality and behaviour that I have a problem with. He's always been very outspoken and I just didn't take to him. On top of that, I was always a Roy Jones Jnr fan, so I stayed on his side, no matter what was said or done.
It was a bit like the Nigel Benn-Chris Eubank rivalry back in the day; you picked sides and although you had respect for the other figther, you just didn't like him. And it made it easier when the other guy wasn't the most pleasant person out there!
And to be honest the only time I can, and need to be, impartial is when I am working, and I cannot lie with it comes to Hopkins.
I remember staying up for two of his fights and swearing I would never watch him again because they were that bad. I can't even recall who they were against but my mind was made up.
The one fight I did want to sit up and watch was against Sergey Kovalev but there was some reason I couldn't, something was going on and I had to get my head down. When I saw what had happened and heard it went 12 rounds and we didn't see the Kovalev we were expecting, I was quite glad.
Back in the day, Hopkins did have some great fights. Obviously Jones, but the Oscar de la Hoya one stands out, too. It was a real surprise to me when it happened and I never expected to watch him box so well, but he did.
It was a great right to the body that ended it and this was against a guy who was so brave, who had been through so many wars. It must have been a great shot and, funnily enough, we now use Amir Khan's gym in Bolton and there is a picture of that fight on the wall.
One thing I will say is that there is plenty to admire with Hopkins. Not only does he still go 12 rounds and is still earning top-level money, but he has been doing so for 20-odd years - that is some going.
The fight isn't the hardest part though, it is getting yourself up for camp, time after time. We're talking 12-14 week camps, which take everything out of your body. To get yourself motivated, physically and mentally, so many times and at that age, is frightening.
If I pick up a knock now it takes me a couple of days to get over it and I am only 32. Imagine me doing it in 18 years time? I am not sure I'll want to do it in 18 months time, if I'm honest!
You have to take your hat off to Bernard Hopkins on his 50th birthday. Whether you are a fan or not, you cannot argue with what he has done. It is some achievement.