Bernard Hopkins fights Father Time

Hopkins wins a quick and unanimous decision. At the end, he looks smooth and loose, untouched by leather or time. He talks and talks and talks. German or English or Arabic, Murat is at a place past language. Thank you very much. Cut and swollen, he looks like a man with a dislocated soul.

Which is the hero? The one who shows us what we might become? Or the one who reminds us who we are? The man rising or the man hanging on? "I'm an entertainer," Hopkins says into the microphone as the crowd hurries out, "and this is what people want to see."

The big postfight news conference is small on the immense stage where they crown Miss America. Our voices rise and disappear into darkness. Janitors fold the chairs and sweep the floors. The place is full of ghosts.

"He's a tough guy," says Hopkins, the oldest champion ever, answering a question no one asked. "He was game."

Outside the wind blows, and the sky burns with stars.

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