PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - December 05, 2019  
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Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Darryl Cobb, Jr. / (where noted)


The International Boxing Hall of Fame announced the 2020 class for Canastota on Wednesday (December 4), and included in the new set of thirteen honorees are two Philly notables. Both multi-world champion Bernard Hopkins and boxing writer Bernard Fernandez will be enshrined in the most prestigious of the numerous Halls of Fame next June.

Hopkins' legendary career spanned twenty eight years (1988-2016) and ended with a 55-8-2, 32 KO, 2 NC record. He won his first title, the vacant IBF middleweight belt in 1995 with a seventh round stoppage of Segundo Mercado.

Hopkins went on to defend that title a record twenty times through 2005.Along the way, he picked up the WBC strap with a decision over Keith Holmes (2001), the WBA belt with a career-defining 12th round TKO of Felix Trinidad, also in 2001, and the WBO title with a stoppage of Oscar De La Hoya in 2004.

After losing his 160-pound crown to Jermain Taylor, Hopkins moved up to light heavyweight in 2006 and beat Antonio Tarver in a big upset to claim the NBA 175-pound belt.

Five years later, Hopkins defeated Jean Pascal by decision to claim the WBC and IBO belts. After losing to Chad Dawson in 2012, Hopkins' career appeared to be over, but he continued to surprise the boxing world, beating Tavoris Cloud in 2013 to win the IBF light heavyweight title.

Bernard added the WBA and IBA straps with a win over Beibut Shumenov the following year, but then lost his titles to Sergey Kovalev later in 2014.

One month before his 51st birthday, Hopkins tempted fate once more, but lost by TKO to the much younger Joe Smith Jr., in 2016.

Over his long career, Hopkins also scored wins over John David Jackson, Glen Johnson, Simon Brown, Roy Jones, Carl Daniels, Robert Allen, and Kelly Pavlik.

Hopkins entered the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame last year. This was Bernard's first time on the IBHOF ballot.

"I'm glad I'm entering the house of greatness past and present," Hopkins said. "Thanks to boxing I became a greater inspiration to the world." 

Bernard Fernandez, a Louisiana native, has written about a wide range of sports for more than 50 years. However, his biggest contribution was a 28 year run at the Philadelphia Daily News where he chronicled the boxing scene from 1984 to 2012 and wrote a weekly column every Tuesday. 

Over his tenure at the Daily News, Fernandez covered Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Oscar De La Hoya, Lennox Lewis, Floyd Mayweather, Arturo Gatti, as well as the entire career of Bernard Hopkins. That both Fernandez and Hopkins will enter the International Boxing Hall of Fame together just feels right.

Fernandez has already entered the PA Boxing Hall of Fame, the NJ Boxing Hall of Fame and the Atlantic City Hall of Fame.

"Boxing is about fights and fighters and to a lesser extent about fights and writers. People like Jerry Izenberg and Dave Anderson are people I have admired at he highest level of my profession and I guess this honor is saying that I move into their company and it is very humbling." 

Also slated to be inducted are boxers Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Barbara Buttrick, Christy Martin, Lucia Rijker, Frank Erne, Paddy Ryan, as well as promoters Lou DiBella, Kathy Duva, Dan Goosen and journalist Thomas Hauser.

The IBHOF weekend is June 11-14 in Canastota, NY, with the official inductions scheduled for Sunday, June 14.




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - December 05, 2019