Undisputed champion Bernard Hopkins, who knocked out Oscar De La Hoya in September to become the sport's first four-belt middleweight titlist, has been named Manager of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Hopkins became only the second boxer to receive the honor for managing his own career. In 1994, George Foreman was named Manager of the Year after knocking out previously unbeaten Michael Moorer to earn the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation heavyweight titles.
"All the time, I've been called the guy who didn't know what the hell he was doing. Naysayers help you to do better," said Hopkins, who turned 40 on Jan. 15.
Long a target of criticism for avoiding financial entanglements with promoters and being difficult to negotiate with, Hopkins earned Fighter of the Year honors after knocking out Felix Trinidad in 2001.
Hopkins (45-2-1, 32 knockouts) campaigned for the manager award then but didn't get it.
"When I beat Trinidad, I said I'd been self-managed and that I should get Manager of the Year. It didn't happen that year, but I never gave up," Hopkins said.
Hopkins will put his belts on the line Feb. 19 against hard-punching Englishman Howard Eastman (40-1, 34 KOs) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
NOTE: Baltimore's Hasim Rahman "almost definitely" will fight for Vitali Klitschko's World Boxing Council title April 30 at Madison Square Garden, his manager, Steve Nelson, said.