-- Bernard Hopkins didn't act his age, but he didn't win the fight either. Jermain Taylor established himself as the future of the middleweight division, and now Hopkins can only look back and hope his legacy as a champion is secure.
His second narrow loss Saturday night to Taylor did nothing to damage Hopkins's reputation as an ageless fighter, though it may have finally ended a remarkable career just a month before he turns 41.
If it did, Hopkins has no regrets.
"My career has been tremendous," Hopkins said. "I really have nothing to be mad about because I changed my life around. I went from being a convict in prison to being wealthy and having a great boxing career."
Hopkins looked nothing like an aging fighter against Taylor, but he left the ring disappointed once again after a narrow decision went Taylor's way just as it had in the first fight in July between the two.
After a record 20 straight title defenses spanning 11 years, Hopkins has now lost two in a row.
He seemingly has few options left in the sport, other than to act as a co-promoter with Oscar De La Hoya for other fighters. He talks about moving up to light heavyweight to fight Antonio Tarver but that appears more wishful thinking than anything else, and there would seem to be little incentive for a third fight with Taylor.
Taylor won by unanimous decision this time around but all three judges had it very close, 115-113. Like he did in the first fight, Hopkins doomed his chances to win by doing little early and giving away the first half of the fight.
He came on strong in the late rounds, but Taylor had enough in the 11th round to win it on all three scorecards, cementing a win that allowed him to remain unbeaten and keep the titles he won from Hopkins the first time around.
"I give nothing but respect to Bernard Hopkins. He fought very well tonight and he has proven that he is a tough fighter and a true champion," Taylor said. "But right now I am the champion and I feel like I am the champion. I knew I was going to win and I thought I won the fight."
While Hopkins contemplates retirement, the future is bright for the 27-year-old Taylor, who is now undefeated in 25 fights. He's hugely popular in his home state of Arkansas, and promoter Lou DiBella says he will probably make his next title defense in front of the home fans.