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Updated: June 2, 2011, 9:54 AM ET

Philly celebrates Bernard Hopkins


ESPN.com news services

PHILADELPHIA -- Bernard Hopkins was honored by mayor Michael Nutter at the "Rocky" statue outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art for winning the WBC light heavyweight championship.

Hopkins became the oldest fighter to win a major world championship, taking the WBC light heavyweight title May 21 from Jean Pascal at the age of 46.

[+] EnlargeBernard Hopkins
AP Photo/Matt RourkeBernard Hopkins was honored in front of the 'Rocky' statue for becoming the oldest fighter to win a major championship.

He dethroned George Foreman as the oldest boxer to win a world title when he beat Pascal. Foreman was 45 years, 10 months when he knocked out heavyweight champion Michael Moorer in 1994. Hopkins was 46 years, four months and six days in his bout with Pascal.

Hopkins owns a condo in Philadelphia, and still runs the "Rocky" steps and trains for fights in the city. He called Wednesday's ceremony an event he won't forget.

"I can achieve anything I set my heart out to do, and having this honor bestowed on me today by mayor Nutter is another milestone for my record books," Hopkins said in a news release on the city's website.

Nutter presented Hopkins with a mini replica of the Liberty Bell and saluted the champ for his accomplishments over a 23-year career and his contributions to Philadelphia.

Nutter said Hopkins, who served five years in state prison, is a real-life example of what it means to be given a second chance.

"He found a way to put his life on the right path even after going down the wrong one, and that is even more important than all of his accomplishments in the boxing ring. It is never too late to pick yourself up and start again," Nutter said in the news release. "Philadelphia is the city of second chances, and we are proud to recognize Bernard Hopkins as one of our own."

Hopkins said he wants to continue to make the city proud and has no immediate plans to retire.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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