Just a quick word on Pascal-Hopkins, which takes place tomorrow. I feel a deep and abiding guilt for not writing a piece deserving of the event.
Because every time Bernard Hopkins fights now it is an event. The Last Angry Man. And he’ll tell you as much.
It’s not just that Hopkins is 46. It’s who he is, with the righteous indignation of the abused and ill treated. Is part of his self-construct fiction? Likely, but I’ve never met a man who does not build a life of lies. Leave me my false definitions and watch me carry on.
Bernard has built a career on rage and will and discipline. We all know his criminal past and a life of triumph and redemption, but just look at the man’s career.
He took it by force, one fight at a time. Without flash, but refinement and a seriousness of purpose. “Upon this rock I will stand. And no man shall move me!”
Defiance. A sacred vow.
And Bernard has held distant the very forces of time, by sheer orneriness and guile. They’ve tried to bury him but he won’t have it.
Most don’t find him fun to watch, but to me he’s moving in his desires. Because though the body fails the spirit never wavers. You always know it’s serious with Bernard, he wants it, and if there’s the capacity in that body and mind he’ll give it to you.
He took it by force last December. Despite being knocked down twice, his first legitimate ones in decades he stood up and took it from Pascal. It showed a deeper virtue beyond blood and bone.
“Mine is a will to overcoming, and you’re not the man to take it from me,” said Bernard, as he trudged stiffly forward and pushed through.
They stole it from him, of course. I wasn’t in the least surprised. An elderly black man getting his pocket picked under the bright lights is a matter of course.
But still, it hurt. Bernard Hopkins is a great fighter, one of the greatest who has ever lived, and they never gave him one break. I’m talking about a man who has been in exactly six close (and some not-so-close) fights in his legendary career.
The judges gave him four losses and two draws. Can you recall a great fighter who never got a break. Fight after fight, year after year? And the guy isn’t even from Africa!
He’ll lose soon. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe the next fight. He has never been beat up, but he will be. These things rarely end well.
But I do hope it’s not tomorrow. I hope it’s not to Pascal, a forgettable champion who doesn’t deserve to be the one to take a pick to a monument. He’s not the man for the job.
A snaggle-toothed statue will get into the ring on Saturday night, he’s creaky, but he’s bone tough. Melt down that Rocky atrocity they have in Philadelphia and mint a new one.
Sing to me O Goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus,
The man of twists and turns
Driven time and again off course,
Which put pains thousandfold upon the Achaians,
Hurled in their multitudes to the house of Hades strong souls of heroes, but gave their bodies to be the delicate feastings of dog and birds!
Bernard Hopkins UD 114-110 Jean Pascal
PS. Sorry all the comments on the previous post were lost. Hope it won’t happen again.