Bernard Hopkins Honored in Philadelphia
June 16, 2006 - Mayor John F. Street and the City of Philadelphia recognized Philadelphia native and new light heavyweight champion of the world Bernard Hopkins yesterday during a City Hall ceremony marked by pomp and circumstance fitting of a world champion. "Bernard Hopkins is much more than a superb fighter," stated Mayor Street. "He is a man who overcame a troubled youth, who believed in himself and who reached the pinnacle of his profession. His story is a testament to the human spirit and to the power of redemption."
Article posted on 18.06.2006
During the ceremony, Sunoco Welcome America executive director Clifton Davis served as "ring announcer" introducing City Officials and long-time friends of Hopkins. Mayor Street appointed Hopkins to the Mayor's Drug and Alcohol Executive Commission which provides valuable feedback on Drug and Alcohol Abuse Programs.
"As a former inmate Bernard knows firsthand the struggles men and women face as they leave prison and re-enter society," stated Street. "Many face rejection and lose hope. In their despair they fall back into the same behaviors that dragged them down in the first place. Bernard understands this cycle. He triumphed over it. His powerful story of redemption can help others realize their life has value and meaning and can be put to productive use, provided they believe in themselves."
In addition to the Mayoral proclamation, Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson and City Managing Director Pedro A. Ramos performed a swearing-in ceremony making Bernard Philadelphia's Community Engagement Ambassador for Peace. The Mayor also announced during the ceremony the City of Philadelphia will rename a street in his honor in the near future.
"I want to thank the Mayor and everyone else for this fantastic recognition of my career and the appointment as Commissioner and Ambassador for Peace," said Hopkins. "And now that my career is over, there is a future for me in the City. I might have been able to get out of the hard part of the City but I am committed to helping others do the same as the oath of the street is a 'fool's move' and I want to help young adults see that there is another way to go."
Hopkins continued, "My fight in the ring is over but my fight for the kids of this City has just begun. The stakes are higher and the price for crime is too great for them today to make a mistake. I didn't accept this job for show and I will take the responsibility as Commissioner with the same level of seriousness I showed throughout my career."
In addition to those present, U.S. Congressman Shaka Fattah (D-PA) called in via teleconference and offered words of appreciation to the Champ. Governor Ed Rendell (D-PA), who had phoned Hopkins early Sunday morning to offer him congratulations, offered the following comments on Philly's Champion.
"Bernard Hopkins is one of the greatest champions in the history of the sport of boxing. He has proven himself time and time again, and has surmounted every challenge," said Governor Rendell. "But Bernard is more than just a great fighter. He has devoted great time and energy trying to make sure that his fellow boxers are fairly compensated and treated fairly by the sport. While he's stepping out of the ring, Bernard will continue to be an ambassador for the sport and this will be a great part of his future."
Hopkins, who is still basking in the glory of his stunning victory of Antonio Tarver, will watch the HBO rebroadcast of his fight from his home in Delaware before taking a well-deserved vacation with his family before settling in to his new duties.
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