Brooklyn and the Barclays Center will host boxing history this weekend.
Legendary fighter Bernard Hopkins, 48, will look to break his own record and become the oldest man to ever hold a major title when he faces 31-year-old Tavoris Cloud for the International Boxing Federation light heavyweight belt on March 9.
“There is no doubt that major championship boxing has returned to the borough in a big way,” Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said.
Hopkins became the oldest champion at 46 years old in 2011 when he beat Jean Pascal for the World Boxing Council belt before losing it to Chad Dawson by decision in April of 2012. He is confident he will be a champion again and continue to fight.
“I should be the one to dictate where I go and when it’s time to go,” Hopkins said. “If I had listened to most people I would have never made history in a lot of things. What keeps me going is I’m not satisfied.”
Hopkins (52–6–2) will take on one of the rising stars in the boxing world. Cloud (24–0–0), who will be making his fifth title defense, is compared to a mini Mike Tyson by promoter Don King because of his punching power.
King, who once said the same of Hopkins, predicted his fighter would deliver an end to Hopkins’s career as a championship fighter by knocking him out. Cloud feels it’s highly possible he will be the first person to knock down Hopkins since Segundo Mercado did so in 1994.
“He could be ready for the picking,” Cloud said. “We will know once he gets hit a couple times.”
Hopkins began fighting professionally in 1988 and believes the world will never see an athlete with his longevity in any sport anytime soon. He said he is going into the fight completely healthy and will catch Cloud off guard.
“He’s going to be very, very surprised,” Hopkins said. “It’s natural. He’s fighting someone nearly double his age. It’s natural that a person will say ‘this isn’t going to happen to me. He’s a couple of years younger than my father or mother.’ ”
The undercard, highlighted by Keith Thurman against Jan Zaveck to see who is the No. 1 contender for Timothy Bradley’s World Boxing Organization welterweight title, has a local appeal. It features unbeaten junior middleweight and Red Hook native Frank Galarza and Brooklyn resident and bantamweight Juan Dominguez competing. Galarza can’t weight to get in the ring in his home borough.
“Brooklyn is my home,” Galarza said. “It’s like I’m just fighting in my house.”Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewsk