Bernard Hopkins becomes oldest world champion at 46

Bernard Hopkins
Hopkins turned pro in 1988, when Pascal was five years old

Bernard Hopkins became boxing's oldest world champion after he beat Canada's Jean Pascal in Montreal to secure the WBC and IBO light-heavyweight titles.

The 46-year-old American is six months older than George Foreman was when he dethroned Michael Moorer as WBA and IBF heavyweight champion in 1994.

"I didn't feel like I was 46 tonight, I felt more like 36," Hopkins said.

"I knew it was going to be tough, but I wasn't going to be denied. You're meant to win titles in your 20s, not 46."

Hopkins had to weather an early attack from his younger opponent, but landed more punches and managed to avoid Pascal's most powerful shots.

And the veteran Hopkins, who goaded his younger opponent by coming out early for the seventh round to do some press-ups in the middle of the ring, clearly did enough to convince the judges, with the cards reading 115-113, 116-112 and 115-114.

"Bernard fought a great fight, he's a great champion, he has a great defence and knows a lot of tricks," said Pascal, after the second fight between the pair. The first ended in a draw, with a majority decision giving the fight to Pascal.

"These two fights will lead me to the next level, I learned a lot from Bernard and his style."

Hopkins, the former undisputed world middleweight champion, will next fight Chad Dawson, who had a unanimous decision win over Adrian Diaconu in an elimination bout.

"It was exciting," added Hopkins, who has faced the likes of Roy Jones Jr, Felix Trinidad, Oscar de la Hoya, Jermain Taylor and Joe Calzaghe in a lengthy career.

"I've been accused of being boring but I've saved the best for last. I'm going to fight like this until I retire. But I want to fight for as long as I can."

Hopkins also received a glowing tribute from Foreman, whose record he broke.

"What great conditioning," said Foreman. "And he did it in Pascal's home town. Isn't that something? He was just so much better. I'm happy for Hopkins and I'm happy for mature athletes."