NEW YORK – Bernard Hopkins became the oldest boxer to win a major world championship here Saturday, breaking his own record by beating Tavoris Cloud at the age of 48.
Hopkins scored a unanimous 12-round decision to dethrone Cloud, who is 17 years his junior, for the International Boxing Federation’s light heavyweight title and beat his own record.
“The 40 and up club still rules,” Hopkins said. “I got a history. I got a history of destroying young champions and you never seen them again.”
Hopkins was 46 in 2011 when he beat Canada’s Jean Pascal to win the World Boxing Council light-heavyweight crown.
Now 25 years after his first professional fight, Hopkins made history again in his 31st championship bout.
“I just wanted to use my speed and reflexes which I still have at 48 years of age,” he said.
“I stuck to the plan. I just took a little time to get warmed up. I said before the fight I was going to work on combination punches. I was trying to throw four or five extra punches that I don’t normally throw.”
Hopkins won on all three judges scorecards, 117-111, 116-112 and 116-112 against the previously unbeaten Cloud. He connected on 41 percent of his overall punches and landed 110 out of 227 power punches.
Hopkins landed one of his best punches in the sixth round which opened a cut over the left eye of fellow American Cloud, who was making his fifth title defence.
His trainers worked to close the cut between rounds but each time they did it would start bleeding again in the middle of the later rounds.
Hopkins joked in the ring afterwards that he plans to fight another five years, well into his 50s.
“Once I found my rhythm in fourth or fifth round things became easy and I saw a lot of telegraph punches coming from Cloud,” Hopkins said. “I told him I won’t be here too long only five more years.”
Hopkins beat Pascal to become the oldest to win a major title, surpassing legendary heavyweight George Foreman’s mark of 45. Hopkins improves to 53-6 with two drawn and 32 knockouts.
Cloud, who was only 6 years old when Hopkins first stepped in the ring, drops to 24-1.
Hopkins has not fought since dropping a 12-round majority decision to Chad Dawson in April 2012.