In 2014, Bernard Hopkins beat Father Time one more time to became the oldest boxer to unify major titles. He retained his IBF light-heavyweight title and added IBA and WBA titles. His last opponent was nearly 20 years younger than Hopkins. The aging fighter became the oldest champion in boxing history with the unanimous-decision victory.
“I want to fight one fight at 50 but I want it to be a meaningful fight,” Hopkins told ESPN.com this week. “I’d rather it be a championship fight and I’d like it to be done in a timely fashion, hopefully before June. We have to see what makes sense and what don’t.”
“But for right now, I am not retired. In 2015 I’m looking to do something at 50 to make history and to keep proving that age is nothing but a number. But whatever happens, I’m comfortable with it.”
So how has the hall-of-famer managed to stay sharp for this long?
It’s All in the Eyes
“It’s the inner that produces the outer. What’s in (your body has) got to come out. It shows. You can’t hide it,” Hopkins says. At the weigh-in a day before a fight, if an opponent looks dehydrated, he knows his opponent has drained himself down and that he won’t last 40 minutes. His opponent’s eyes tell him what their “liver and kidneys are doing.” Hopkins says yellow in the eyes shows you’re a drinker.
Develop Your Own “Diet”
Hopkins hates the word diet. “It’s a billion dollar business,” he says. When he started his boxing career at the age of 17 at the State Correctional Institution in Graterford, Pa., he learned to “survive on peanut butter and bread.” For the past few years though, he has developed a unique diet consisting mainly of boiled beets (swallowed whole) for breakfast and buffalo meat throughout the rest of the day. He also loves onions, oatmeal with some honey and veggies. But don’t steam your vegetables too much, as Hopkins says your nutrients will go up in smoke. “‘Steam’ steams the vitamins out,” he says.
Listen to Your Body
In his 23-year career, Hopkins has faced digestive issues the day of big fights due to what he has eaten. There have been times when non-dry foods and salty snacks have forced him into the bathroom at 9:45 p.m., his trainers knocking on the stall door pleading with him to get to the ring for a 10 p.m. fight. If you’re getting the runs mid-workout as well, try Hopkins’ approach of eating dry mashed potatoes, chicken or fish. Crunchy semi-raw veggies are also fine, as is beet juice.
Visit the BlackDoctor.org Healthy Aging center for more helpful articles and tips.