This day in sports: Bernard Hopkins becomes oldest boxer to win major title at 46

Bernard Hopkins prepares to fight Sergey Kovalev on Nov. 8, 2014.
(Al Bello / Getty Images)

Bernard Hopkins, at age 46, became the oldest fighter to win a major boxing championship on this date in 2011, when he took the World Boxing Council’s light-heavyweight title from Canada’s Jean Pascal in a unanimous decision at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

The victory gave Hopkins the WBC, International Boxing Organization and The Ring magazine titles held by the 28-year-old Pascal, who was making his fifth defense. Pascal, who trailed after 11 rounds, hurt Hopkins in the 12th but was unable to finish him off.

Hopkins supplanted George Foreman as the oldest champion in history. Foreman won the heavyweight title when he was 45 with a 10th-round knockout of Michael Moorer in 1994.

A look at what happened today, March 21, in sports history.


Here is a look at memorable games and outstanding sports performances on this date:

1881 — A small group of tennis club members meet in New York City to form the world’s first national governing body for tennis, the United States National Lawn Tennis Assn. The organization, now the U.S. Tennis Assn., is created to standardize tennis rules and organize competitions. The U.S. Men’s Singles Championship, now the U.S. Open, is held at Newport, R.I.

1977 — Heavily favored Seattle Slew, ridden by Jean Cruguet, wins the Preakness Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths over Iron Constitution, a 31-1 shot. It was the dark brown colt’s eighth win and Cruguet lets him run under his own tempo rather than a hard drive. Slew pays $2.80 for $2, the second-lowest win payoff in Preakness history.

1979 — The Montreal Canadiens close out the decade in style by winning their 22nd Stanley Cup championship, beating the New York Rangers 4-1 in Game 5 at Montreal. Jacques Lemaire scores two goals and Bob Gainey adds another in the second period to lead the Canadiens to their fourth straight title.

1988 — Risen Star, with Eddie Delahoussaye in the saddle, spoils Winning Colors’ bid to become the first filly to win the Triple Crown by taking the Preakness Stakes. Risen Star takes the lead on the final turn past front-runners Forty Niner and Winning Colors to score a decisive 1 1/4-length victory in the second leg of the Triple Crown.

1995 — The Penske Racing Team is shut out of the 33-car field of the Indianapolis 500 when two-time winners Al Unser Jr. and Emerson Fittipaldi fail to qualify. Fittipaldi is bumped from the race by Sweden’s Stefan Johansson in the final 12 minutes of qualifying. It is the first time that owner Roger Penske, a 10-time winner of the Indy 500, will not have a car in the race.

2001 — Barry Bonds ties a major league record with his eighth home run in five games, but the San Francisco Giants lose to the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2. The home run, off of Arizona’s Curt Schilling in the fourth inning, equals the mark set by former Dodger Frank Howard, who did it twice in 1968 when he was with the Washington Senators. It is Bonds’ 23rd blast of the season and he would go on to hit 73 to break Mark McGwire’s record of 70.

A look at some of the biggest moments in sports history to have occurred on May 4.

2005 — Afleet Alex, with Jeremy Rose in the irons, regains his balance after being knocked to his knees by Scrappy T in a frightening collision at the top of the stretch and breezes home to win the Preakness Stakes. Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo finishes third.

2006 — Detroit holds Cleveland to the lowest point total in a Game 7 in NBA history and the Pistons advance to their fourth straight Eastern Conference finals with a 79-61 win over the Cavaliers. LeBron James scores 27 for the Cavaliers, who score just 10 points in the third quarter and shoot 32% for the game.

2014 — Wendell Scott becomes the first African American driver elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Scott is joined by popular NASCAR champion Bill Elliott, two-time series champ Joe Weatherly, 1960 champion Rex White and 26-race winner Fred Lorenzen. Scott’s racing life is the basis for the motion picture “Greased Lightning,” starring Richard Pryor. He drove during the civil rights movement and won a Grand National race at Jacksonville Speedway in 1963.

SOURCES: The Times, Associated Press