Bernard Hopkins won't be leaving the boxing ring just yet. Following his loss on Saturday to Chad Dawson, there was a question of whether or not the 47-year-old former middleweight and light heavyweight champion would finally hang up the gloves. But Hopkins quickly made up his mind to keep fighting, and says he wants to face top fighters going forward.
"I fought hard Saturday night and feel the fight was closer than two of the scores reflected," he said. "Regardless of the result, I will continue my career and challenge any champion in my division. I might be older, but I don't feel a decline in my skills or abilities in the ring. I love to fight and am still competing at a level where boxing cannot deny me the opportunity to succeed."
There are definitely still winnable major fights at 175 pounds for Hopkins, as we noted on Sunday, and despite his advanced age and, frankly, a decline in skill (he is 47, after all), Hopkins didn't look inept against Dawson, just matched up with a guy who was all wrong for him.
Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KO) has a fight left on his HBO deal, but I wouldn't expect a farewell fight event to be booked for him. Hopkins is never going to plan a final fight, I suspect -- a final fight will happen to him, not be booked in advance.
He has in the past mentioned a possible fight with IBF super middleweight titlist Lucian Bute. Bute has plenty on his plate right now, as he faces Carl Froch on May 26 in England, which could be interesting and would make him good money if he went up to Montreal for the bout. Hopkins seemed to enjoy his time in Quebec over two fights against Jean Pascal, and certainly must have enjoyed the big crowds and the respect he was shown on the road by an appreciative boxing audience, even as he defeated the home fighter (and really kind of clowned him) in the rematch.
Other potential opponents include IBF light heavyweight titleholder Tavoris Cloud and WBO titlist Nathan Cleverly. Beibut Shumenov holds the WBA title, but that fight seems unlikely at best. The division is sort of short on names, but Mikkel Kessler will soon join the fray (he moves up to fight Allan Green on May 19), and there are other super middleweights who could move up for the shot, too.