Bernard Hopkins exemplifies the living, breathing "American Dream" sports story, coming from the bottom and working his way to the top.
So why is it that the former convicted felon — who had a 10-year stranglehold on boxing's middleweight division from 1996-2005 and spent the last decade pummeling younger opponents — isn't more of a household name?
ESPN asked just that to the unified light-heavyweight titlist and B-Hop was quick to cite race as the reason why.
"[It's] because I'm Black," Hopkins said Monday, just days away from his bout against Sergey Kovalev live on HBO Saturday night. "What do you think if my name was Augustine, Herzenstein, Stern? Cappello? Marciano? Don't you understand the conflict of interest?
"If I was any of those names of any other background, I'd be on every billboard and every milk carton and every place to be," he added. "If we're talking 'American Dream,' here's a guy who almost threw his life away and he took this great country's great attributes and used it. Work hard and be a law-abiding citizen — I've done that for 26 years."
At 49 and just two months shy of his 50th birthday, Hopkins is already the oldest boxing champion to have or defend a title. Yet making history and adding to his legacy through the years hasn't given him the same star power as a Floyd Mayweather Jr. now or Mike Tyson before him. Perhaps if he gets 50 Cent to portray his future biopic, as he recently told BET.com his intentions are, will bring more of a spotlight on his legendary career.
Even if the fame never comes, Hopkins will look for another decisive win Saturday night against Kovalev, 31, to bolster his legacy.
Watch Kevin Hart in a new episode of Real Husbands of Hollywood every Tuesday, 10P/9C.
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(Photo: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
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