(NEW YORK) — Boxer Bernard Hopkins, 48, won the IBF light heavyweight championship on Saturday night.
Hopkins beat 30-year-old Tavoris Cloud by counteracting Cloud’s strength by deftly moving around his opponent’ s punches.
In the process, Hopkins became the oldest boxing champion in history, beating his own record that he set two years ago.
“This victory is sweeter than honey,” said Hopkins.
It was a moment that never would have happened had he listened to his mother’s dying wish that came a decade ago: don’t fight past 40.
“My mother would always say get the hell off the ring and don’t go in again. I probably wouldn’t be boxing, I would have been gone 10 years ago,” Hopkins said.
When Hopkins was 17, he served 4 1/2 years in prison. Behind bars, boxing became his release and eventually his meal ticket.
“It’s a lot of victories that I had over the years, but this one means more because I am older. And 50 is around the corner,” Hopkins said.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Ryan Browne and Evan Perez, CNN
Grant Olsen, KSL.com
Meera Senthilingam, CNN