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Did elbow blow help Bernard Hopkins become oldest boxing champion?

March 10, 2013|By Dan Loumena
  • Bernard Hopkins lands a left against Tavoris Cloud in the fifth round of their IBF light-heavyweight fight on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in New York.
Bernard Hopkins lands a left against Tavoris Cloud in the fifth round of… (Frank Franklin II / Associated…)

Bernard Hopkins eclipsed his own record as the oldest boxing champion on Saturday night with his unanimous-decision victory over Tavoris Cloud at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

But did an elbow by "The Executioner" to Cloud's left eye help the 48-year-old champion win the IBF light-heavyweight title?

"He hit me with an elbow but I'm not complaining," Cloud said after the bout, his first loss in 20 outings. "It is what it is."

Actually, that would be a complaint. The referee ruled it an accidental head butt, but replays showed it was a short left hook, complete with elbow, that did the damage.

Hopkins (53-6-2) was the better boxer aside from that. He landed 169 of 417 punches while Cloud could land only 139 out of 650 punches. Hopkins also connected on an impressive 48% (110 of 227) of his power shots.

"Tonight was one of the bigger fights," said Hopkins, who became the oldest champion at 46 when he defeated Jean Pascal for the WBC light-heavyweight title two years ago.

Why was it one of his best fights?

"Because I'm older ... more gratifying," he said of the victory, which was scored 116-112 by two judges and 117-111 by the other.

It doesn't appear a rematch is imminent. Hopkins, who has said he will retire before turning 50, says he's ready to take on any of the champions in the light-heavyweight and super-welterweight divisions.

"I'm motivated to do it," Hopkins said. "I don't believe anybody in the 175 weight class and possibly the 168 class can beat me."

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