USA TODAY Sports
Bernard Hopkins did it again tonight, outclassing Tavoris Cloud over 12 rounds to break his own record as the oldest man to win a world title in boxing history.
Bernard Hopkins didn't just win tonight, he convincingly defeated Tavoris Cloud and never had any real trouble, winning a clear unanimous decision to claim the IBF light heavyweight title at age 48, breaking his own record as the oldest man to ever win a world title in boxing. Scores were 116-112, 116-112, and 117-111. BLH had it 116-112 for Hopkins.
Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KO) controlled the fight's pace for the majority of the bout, with an outclassed Cloud (24-1, 19 KO) getting schooled pretty clearly during the 12 rounds. Cloud, 31, did have some success, landing some good power shots, but he just wasn't in Hopkins' league in terms of ring smarts, and it made all the difference.
Hopkins landed 41% of his shots overall (169/417), and 48% of his power shots (110/227). Cloud was much busier, but landed a mere 21% of his shots (139/650), and 26% of his power shots (72/282).
After the fight, Hopkins gave Cloud a little respect, but didn't miss the chance to let everyone know that he'd done it yet again.
"He's a gutsy, strong young champion. I told him I won't be here for too long," Hopkins told Max Kellerman. "He'll be a champion again. But I've got a history of destroying young champions, and you never see them again."
Hopkins seems set on fighting until he's 50 years of age, which could conceivably only be two more fights, or could be as many as four. He said to guest commentator Andre Ward tonight that there's not enough money out there to put the two of them in the ring together -- Hopkins likes and does not want to fight Ward -- and the main contenders at 175 pounds right now look to be Sergey Kovalev, who is a dangerous puncher, and maybe Nathan Cleverly and Beibut Shumenov, who hold paper titles. There's also the chance that one of the better fighters from 168 pounds could move up, like the Froch-Kessler winner.
Cloud was simply out of his depth on the mental side of things tonight, which didn't surprise many people. You got the sense that he wanted to throw more punches, wanted to be busier, and wanted to do more, but Hopkins had the Jedi mind meld working, and Cloud was tense, tentative, and seemed to be thinking way more than was good for his approach. He's a physical fighter who does well when he throws punches in bunches. That just wasn't there tonight.