Bernard Hopkins once again defied the odds — and Father Time — to become the oldest man to ever win a major world boxing title after he scored a 12-round unanimous decision over Tavoris Cloud to win the IBF light-heavyweight title at the Barclays Center on Saturday night.
The ageless 48-year-old Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KOs) pulled out a collection of tricks from his three decades of experience to school the 31-year-old Cloud (24-1, 19 KOs) and hand him his first defeat.
The sometimes brash and outspoken Hopkins beat his own record of winning a title at 46 when he defeated Jean Pascal for the WBC 174-pound title in 2011.
Hopkins started the fight by clinging on to Cloud — who has been called a mini-Mike Tyson — before a warning from referee Earl Brown to be more active. Cloud took advantage of his speed over his flat-footed opponent who skirted the ropes to avoid Cloud's heavy-handed misses.
In the fifth, a cut opened over Cloud's right eye and streamed blood until his corner stemmed the bleeding until the eighth round.
Hopkins took advantage of the situation and slipped, ducked and countered what the generation-younger fighter threw at him. It was like a father spanking his son.
By the 12th and final round, the crowd of 12,293 was chanting "B-Hop! B-Hop!"
In the end, judges Tom Schreck and John Poturaj both scored it 116-112 while judge John Stewart had it 117-112 — all for Hopkins.
"I just wanted to use my speed and reflexes, which I still have at 48-years-old," Hopkins said after the upset. "I stuck to the plan. I took some time to get warmed up. He's a gutsy, young champion. I have a history of destroying young champions that you'll never see again."
With Hopkins, every opponent is young — even if in boxer's years they're not.