It’s official: Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins is back

Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, 41, to the surprise of no one, has decided to cut short his retirement (he promised his now deceased mother that he wouldn’t box beyond the age of 40) and return to active duty in the ring. Ex says the boxing needs him, America needs him, and the heavyweight division needs him.

Hopkins retired after his destruction of then-light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver in June, but first began spreading rumors of his imminent return, this time as a heavyweight, after watching WBC heavyweight champion Oleg Maskaev wrest the title from Hasim Rahman. If Big O can get by Peter Okhello in Moscow next week, maybe he’ll be able to find time for the hall of fame middleweight with 20 successful title defenses to his credit.

With big Nicolay Valuev the WBA champ, Wladimir Klitschko holding the IBF title, and Shannon Briggs, fresh off his victory over Sergei Liakhovich, in possession of the WBO strap, not to mention the Sam Peter-James Toney rematch looming on the horizon, there are lots of heavyweights out there for Hopkins to choose from, and none of the aforementioned behemoths have ever been in the ring with anyone as skilled, or anyone as small, as Bernard Hopkins.

But Hopkins is Hopkins, a tough hombre by anyone’s standards, and is likely to give almost any heavyweight champ fits with his skills. But does the wily Ex really have a chance against the biggest and baddest the sport has to offer? Can Bernard take a big man’s punch and keep on coming, assuming of course, that one of the big men can land a punch on the elusive Executioner? Or does this strike you as a folly, hubris, a case of too much too late to make a dent in the heavyweight division?