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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Age no barrier for Hopkins

Boxing legend Bernard Hopkins turns 46 on January 15 but the former undisputed middleweight champion insists retirement is not on his agenda.

A decade after his career-defining knockout of Felix Trinidad, and long after most of his contemporaries have hung up the gloves, Hopkins is still defying Father Time.

On Sunday night, he takes on 28-year-old Canadian Jean Pascal at Quebec's Pepsi Coliseum for the WBC light-heavyweight championship of the world - and Hopkins will make history just by making it to the ring.

At 45 years and 337 days old, Hopkins is the oldest world title challenger in boxing history - 38 days older than George Foreman was when he regained the heavyweight title from Michael Moorer in 1994.

The Philadelphia-born fighter said opportunities to create history were the reason he was still pulling on the gloves.

"I get a chance to be the oldest fighter in history to win a title. I get to continue to make history," Hopkins told ESPN.

"How many times can an athlete do that?"

"The difference between me and Foreman is that most people didn't think Foreman could do it. He was the underdog of all underdogs when he faced Moorer. "

"Not only do people think I can win, they think I can win big, and I plan on proving them right."

"Pascal hasn't faced someone like me. He hasn't faced a legend. He is hosting me in his country, on his turf, defending his title. He has a lot to be nervous about on top of the fact that when he looks in the opposite corner on fight night, he is going to see greatness."

"Saturday night you will see something unique. A 45-year-old man in a young man's body is an amazing thing. I am here to prove that I can still compete and that I am something special."

Pascal, who will be making the fourth defence of his light-heavyweight title, said he would not be intimidated by his decorated opponent.

"I don't see a legend in the ring; I see a piece of meat, and I'm a hungry dog," Pascal said.

"This is my time. I belong with the elite boxers. To be the best in the world, you have to face the best. Bernard Hopkins is a legend. Bernard knows what time it is. It's about time for a new era."


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