Notebook: Hopkins Legacy Continues; Thought on passing of “Hurricane” Carter

By Rich Mancuso

Bernard Hopkins has nothing more to prove in the ring. However, the legacy he is leaving continues and there is more to come after his split decision 12-round light heavyweight title win Saturday night in Washington D.C. His latest victim, Beibut Shumenov may have not been in his class but never fault the Hopkins legacy that continues.

There will be more, as Hopkins, not fighting like a 49-year old, continues to place his mark on boxing history. The win was his third championship as a light heavyweight and he became the oldest fighter to unify a title.  So, there is more to come and as long as Hopkins can continue, he will.

Boxing is meant to build legacies, as Hopkins is well aware of his staple and what will appear on the inscription when he is inducted in the Hall of Fame. That day will eventually come, but not for the foreseeable future, because Bernard Hopkins has his eyes on more and the fans will continue to buy into this legacy.

"Another page of history that I hope you don't get bored with," Hopkins said after his latest win."Money is great, but history is something that you can never get rid of and act like it didn't happen.”

He said it was a great moment to unify the titles. There was that look of continuing this legacy, the teacher in the classroom as he always refers to when it comes to disposing the competition. He did that to a younger Shumenov, a determined champion who was five-years old when Hopkins won his first title.

"I'm special, in a way that is good," Hopkins said. "I don't have to explain special. There is no definition for special. Special speaks for itself. I had a great night. I am a great champion."  And there is no arguing that statement, because boxing may never see someone this special in a long time.

He is the oldest fighter to win and hold a world title, when he was 48-years of age, and now at 49. They say George Foreman, the former heavyweight champion and oldest to do that had a similar plan cementing his legacy. But, for any number of reasons, Hopkins is different.

Foreman had appeal, and the charisma. Hopkins may have that extra mile when it comes to the appeal. You talk boxing and discuss the history, now more than ever the name of Bernard Hopkins becomes a center of discussion. The question is when will this continued legacy come to a successful conclusion?

Hopkins will continue as long as that body, built like a 25-year old, in his prime, does not break down. There are those who insinuate that Hopkins is doing this the wrong way, that banned body enhancement drugs are assisting this legacy. But, until there is further determination, and there should be no speculation, Hopkins does it the right way.

The mental approach and conditioning is unique, and Hopkins uses all of that to his advantage.

He can be considered a top three fighter in the pound-for-pound discussion. Next to Floyd Mayweather Jr, and Andre Ward, Hopkins is in that category. And after another victory and title, there should be no discussion as to where Hopkins stands now among the best that are active.

He said, "I want to be undisputed light heavyweight champion this year. The best fighter pound for pound is Floyd Mayweather and behind him is Andre Ward, but I ain't too far from the top three. I feel my age and the way I'm doing it, I'm not fighting cream puffs and I'm not done yet.”

Waiting in the wings could be his biggest challenge to the legacy, the Lineal champion Adonis Stevenson who has a title defense next month against Andrzej Fonfara. A fight with Stevenson is inevitable and it will be a lucrative opportunity for both that would be held in Stevenson’s turf of Montreal Canada.

Showtime would get the telecast, now that Stevenson parted ways with HBO. However, it poses a major threat for the Hopkins legacy to continue. He is more of a threat than the disputed championship win that Chad Dawson inflicted on Hopkins a few years ago.

 The right hand was effective Saturday night, as was the jab. Though Hopkins, deliberate as always, put on a show. Stevenson can throw hard punches and that will certainly be a test for the Hopkins legacy to continue.

Regardless, years from now the talk will still be about the Bernard Hopkins legacy that continues at the age of 49.  And there is no question he is one of the greats that gets better with age and time…

RUBEN “HURRICANE” CARTER REMEMBERED: He will be remembered as the fighter, who made news with a wrongful murder conviction and his fight for racial injustice. But Ruben “Hurricane” Carter who passed away in his sleep, Sunday morning at the age of 76, and never a world champion always had that charisma that makes a fighter.

He will be best remembered in the ring for the stoppage over the late and two-division champion Emile Griffith, a first round ending in 1963. And he lost a unanimous decision for the middleweight title against Joey Giardello in December of 1964.

His life, trials and tribulations are reflected in the legal world. He was convicted for murder, granted a new trial and was freed in 1976. But, he did nine more years after a jury convicted him in a second trial for the murders of two white people.

The case received national attention and Carter became a voice. Today, as inmates sit in prison and prepare for trials, they do their homework and consult minutes and testimony to seek justice with their beliefs of a wrongful conviction. So for many a boxing legacy was not the talk about Ruben “Hurricane” Carter.

Rather, seeking justice for many became his legacy.  He may not get a toll of the bell and 10-count. But, his career in the ring was interesting, and had things been different perhaps the boxing world would be talking more about Ruben “Hurricane” Carter.

  May he Rest in Peace.

Comment: Rich Mancuso Mancuso