By Joseph Santoliquito

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was a typical morning run, something Bernard Hopkins has done thousands of times over his long career. This little jaunt, however, had to have a twist. It was a rainy, Wednesday morning in Atlantic City, and “B-Hop” was wearing his $200 pods in his ears, disconnected from the world and focused on his run.

Hopkins was always unconventional. He never paid attention to the signs. He still doesn’t. So he ran by the sign that said: “The rocks get slippery when it rains.”

This time, he fell and badly scraped his knee. He got up laughing.

On Sunday, at 4 p.m., June 23, at the Claridge Hotel, Hopkins’ legendary career will be celebrated with the first of many hall-of-fame inductions, when “B-Hop” heads the list of the third annual Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame 2019 class.

He almost made it there brandishing a cane and neck brace.

“Do you how many times I ran up and down that boardwalk in my long, long career?” asked Hopkins, who posted a 55-8-2 record, with 32 knockouts, during his career. “Here I am running on the boardwalk, reflecting on the times I was boxing early in my career. I slipped on a rock, and saw myself on my butt. I didn’t bother reading the signs that everything gets slippery when it rains.

“If anyone was looking out their window and saw this old idiot on his butt, because he didn’t read the damned signs, they were laughing. Now, just imagine if I came into the Hall of Fame induction ceremony with a cane and neck brace, because I fell on my ass?

“I was on all fours, after I fell on my back. I didn’t want the pods to fall out of my ears. I was crawling on the rocks, this 54-year-old man, thinking about saving my $200 pods or saving my life. I grabbed my pods and put them in my pocket. Then crawled on all fours back to the beach. I was thinking about the $200 pods in my pocket. The $200 or drowning? I would have taken the chance on the pods. I was going to save the pods before I saved my life.”

Hopkins will be inducted with a class that includes Roberto Duran Sr., Tim Witherspoon, Sr., Kevin Watts, Virgil Hill, Iran Barkley, John Brown, Micky Ward, Ace Marotta, English “Bouie” Fisher, Butch Lewis, Bobby Goodman, Stan Hoffman, Nigel Collins, Henry Hascup, Jimmy Binns Sr., Tom Kaczmarek, Tony Orlando Jr. and Rhonda Utley-Herring.

Joseph Santoliquito