Bernard Hopkins: After I beat Calzaghe, I'm the best pound for pound!

By G. Leon


Bernard Hopkins: After I beat Calzaghe, I'm the best pound for pound!

GL:  Your fight, Battle of the Planet...Bernard Hopkins:  First of all I'd like to say congratulations to fighters that you're advising in the boxing world.  I heard your fighters have been out there, and winning and I just wanted to give you the props on doing a good job.GL:  Thank you, sir.  Tell us about all the big news with the Battle of the Planet. "Well, first off, of course we went to London.  It was not a bad flight.  We got there and the people were greeting us and waiting for us to come in.  We were in and out, but we had a day and a half of promotion and doing some TV stuff.  Other than that it was a quick swift press conference.  After a week goes by, we'll respectfully let Lou DiBella, Jermain Taylor, Bob Arum and them get their situation out of the way.  We'll pick up again in New York, I'm afraid I'll see you down there.  Then L.A., then Vegas, then I'm heading right into camp two days after I get back from Vegas." 

GL:  What was the London experience like, and how did the fans treat you out there?

BH:  It had, which was strange to me, I always love for fans that can come out from work, or just happen to be walking down Manhattan or wherever.  If we had a press conference in Vegas or L.A., it wasn't closed to the public.  To me, that's kind of strange to the way we do it over here, and I think it's something that maybe I haven't payed attention that's done all the time.  It was closed to the public, and it was media people from London, and some from Wales.  They were, no question, no doubt, not even trying to hide it, one sided.  Their answers were basically saying Joe is fast, Joe is this, Joe is that.  I'm not going to say 100%, %90 or a high percentage of  asked at a press conference that we had in London, they don't stand up, we stand up at the podium.  Everything they do, they sit down.  Little things like that are totally different, other than that...

GL:  Is what you're trying to say, that the line of questioning they were giving you led you to believe you were fighting a legend, instead of the other way around?

BH:  Exactly, the way they were questioning me was like I was a guy that's coming in, like the Charles Brewers, the Mitchells of the world, even Kessler.  You would think I was fighting in Wales, at the Millenium.  The thing is, Greg, I want to put this out there, because not only Frank Warren responded to it, and Richard Schaefer responded to it, and I responded to it.  A couple of media people could give evidence to what I was saying earlier is that how do you feel Joe going into the United States, when you really have to knock him out or look really well on another man's soil?  I immediately, I was patient, I was sitting there, had my little politic grin on. 

I wasn't feeling the whole situation, so my thing is, as a professional, a promoter, and a fighter I had to go ahead and go through with the interrogation.  In the same token, when I hear a reporter from London saying to Joe Calzaghe or making a comment to him and insinuating that he has to do this or that, I said, "Well, wait a minute, you mean to tell me that all these fights that he's fought that you bragging he's great and say he's undefeated, and most everone he's fought, 80-90% of them fought him in his home land.  If they didn't fight him in his home land, it was right next door neighboor, in Paris or Germany.  To me, it was an insult to say you can't come to the United States, and do what you have to do, and get a fair shot.  It's the same group that called the same bluff, you mean to tell me that everybody that came here was from the next train.  Jeff Lacey, I say that he beat the guy that he beat.  Now he gets a taste of how it feels when you fight out of your backyard, out of your dining room in your house. 

 I killed that immediately, and I embarrased the guy who said it, and then he went on to something else.  And then Frank Warren agreed also that it shouldn't even be a factor or brought up, but they did.  Another thing that I want to bring up, I never given permission to talk, but this is something that came out of my mouth because it was brought to me by Richard Scaeffer, I told him that I was going to bring it up.  He said he wanted me to bring it up.  Richard said that they wanted to have us exclude the singing of the National Anthem at the last minute.  The American National Anthem.  To me, I said Richard's got to be joking, he doesn't joke.  They said yes, they wanted to exclude the singing of the American National Anthem.  I immediately said to myself, it's not what everyone might think it is, which is totally disrepectful, it was a slick power move.  I just happen to be slicker, and I can thinkfaster and quicker than them.  They don't give me credit for it and that's what gives me the edge.  That's what's going to play out in this fight.  Why did I say that, Greg?  When they sang the National Anthem at the Mayweather-Hatton fight, they knew that looked bad.  They expecting if that happens again, it might influence judges, referee, or anybody else in the American audience.  As slick and as smart as they were trying to be, he's getting old when it comes to being sharp and witty.  I figured it out, the time I heard it.  I said to myself, it's not a slap in the American face, that's partial, that's a small percentage of it. 

The real agenda is, if we were stupid enough to exclude it out of there, then they don't have to worry about the embarrassment of their countrymen singing it.  Do you follow me, Greg?  I was always told that I'm too smart for your own good.  Normally that was bad, that you were so smart and something else happened that was bad to you, and they want to bring it up.  They won't bring it up, when you're smart and you prove it.  Again, they only say that when they look for you to fail.  That word, that slogan, that soundbite, that saying it only fits when they want to show that you've failed.  In this case, I figured them out agian.  Every chess move that they make, I checkmate them before a punch is even thrown.  Before a punch is even thrown.  They want to talk about the race thing, I said it's about the fight.  When April 19th comes, let's see if Joe can can prove what I said is wrong.  I don't need to repeat it, I don't need to pound on it, because it's really not about that.  At the end of the day, let's see who wrong and who's right.  That's the kind of man I am.  That's the kind of Russian Roulette I like to play, with one bullet in the chamber.  I'm putting the media, that I don't have nothing against, but I hope they do the same thing as before with Trinidad, with Oscar, with Tarver, with Winky Wright.  To me, Joe ain't better than Oscar De La Hoya, he's not more talented than Winky Wright.  He throws more punches and that's it.  That's it.  So what, I can throw punches too.

GL:  Paul Williams throws punches, we saw what happened to him?

BH:  The world believes that I don't have a shot.  We've been here before, just remember the New York Giants and the Patriots, just remember Paul Williams and Carlos Quintana.  I ask everybody to reserve they monthly mortgage.  I ask them to reserve that I'm 43 as of January 15th, and not forget that Joe is 36, I ask the world to reserve for their own good.  I don't really care if they lose all their monthly mortgage or their rent, whatever they put out there on the table.  Even their pride and ego as a journalist, or as a well known or not so well known writer, or internet news, or sports beat writer, I ask them to reserve their prediction.  If Joe Calzaghe, and the world believes that Bernard don't have a shot just because this man throws punches, then I don't deserve to be a legendary conversation in anyone's mind.  You couldn't beat a Mohamed Ali just because you could punch.  You couldn't beat a Joe Fraizer just because you were tough.  You couldn't beat a Sugar Ray Robinson just because you were fast tough and you could punch.  Everytime I'm faced with this type of style, and adversity I up my game, he's just like any other fighter.  Fighters in my category, the Oscars, Mayweather, myself, I can even say Roy Jones Jr.  I came out of retirement and said give me Tarver. 

BH:  Does a win over Calzaghe make you the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world?

BH:  Yes, yes, yes.  Clearly.  My age should play a major role in it.  They use it against me, I'm going to use it for me.  When was the last time a 43 year old man had been on a three or two fight winning streak against southpaws like Tarver, Wright and Calzaghe??

GL:  I think the yes is enough.  You don't have to justify it, people know your resume.  I spoke with Roy after his fight with Trinidad, and he made it clear that he is the draw of the light heavyweight division.  You read BoxingTalk, you're aware of his remarks.  Do you have any thoughts on them?

BH:  Roy didn't draw flies to shit.  Tito Trinidad, he can get knocked out 20 times, they love him, they respect him, they are loyal to him.  They were loyal to him when he was winning all these years before he fought Bernard Hopkins, and they're going to follow him down to the end when he throws his last punch.  Roy Jones Jr. couldn't sell shit before he got knocked out twice, so how does he think that he's going to come back against a guy that I destroyed his whole career.  Like Glen Johnson and Tarver destroyed him, and all of the sudden Roy thinks that the people are stupid.  Roy must have forgot.  Roy is not off anybody's radar, his legacy stemmed from the championship titles he won in these weight classes, but also doing what others couldn't do, win the heavyweight championship of the world.  That alone will alway keep Roy Jones' name alive in my era.  C'mon Roy, now you're starting to think that the public and the world is fooled.  It don't hurt me or help me downplaying what you did as far as greatness.  It is what it is, despite anybody trying to downplay what I've done in greatness, but come on I've never been stopped. 

I've been down one time,  in Equador over ten years ago.  Until this guy believes that he's the draw.  You're not a draw, you're a name, just because you're a name doesn't mean you're a draw.  There are a lot of names out there that are only a stepping pole for the next man to climb up.  That's disrespecting, and I'm not trying to start a fight between Roy and Tito, but Tito had 99% of that power to bring people to TV.  I read your mailbox, 90% of your fans agree and I agree with most of your mailbag readers.  Roy is in denial of his position in 2008.  Roy, you'll probably never get over it, basically it's over.  You beat a shell of a fighter, Tito will go in the Hall of Fame with one vote, that's it.  I destroyed Tito.  There's no dispute or debate about that.  The only time Tito looked good since he came back was when he fought Mayorga.

GL:  You're right.

BH:  I just want to get a little thing out there to Roy.  Roy wants to be the draw, wants to sell to himself that he's the draw, that's another reason why Jones hasn't beat Calzaghe and taken an opponent away from me.  Like I took Tito from Roy in 2002, when Don King did the tournament.  Tito was supposed to be the winner, was going to fight Roy at 168, I took that opponent away from him.  I've taken two or three multi-million dollar fights from Roy, and I'm ready to take another one away from him when I fight Joe Calzaghe.  At the end of the day, I'm going to be that same guy at door #3.  When Jones wanted to fight Winky, I eliminated that.  He wanted to fight Tarver I eliminated that.  God and Pavlic, or Pavlic and God removed Jermain Taylor.  I'm the only last man standing, and I'll be the last man standing on April 19th. 

This is one of the reasons me and Roy Jones will probably never get a deal, because of the mentalitly of how he thinks.  A guy like him ain't smart enough to be humble, he got his win off a name guy that he basically couldn't knock out, that's a shell of himself.  Instead of him continuing to run his mouth, he's pulled the covers off of himself.  Now he's got people going against him saying I know you wanted to fight, but come on.  He done got a win over a name, and couldn't tuck his chin, and take that and see if he could fool somebody.  He's still talking about he's the draw, he did 500,000 buys, we're fighting on HBO is not a good thing, but it's a good thing.  I can't sell, Joe can't sell, Bernard going to lose to Joe, because Joe can do this and that.  roy's got a commercial interest in me losing.  He doesn't want to fight Bernard Hopkins, he can't sell me the bullshit, because he's been selling it for a decade.  I understand his thinking.  My thing is beat Joe Calzaghe, and if it's something I want to do after that, then I'll do it. 

If not, then that's fine.  I might go ahead and do what I wanted to do before, if Ibragimov beats Klitscho, me and Ibragimov might fight.  I have a lot of things I want to do after this major fight is finished.  I'm not underestimating Joe, but I've got a future for right now that I want to fulfill.  You started a major wesite, that blew everybody out of the water.  Then you said, "I'm giving advice, and guys are making millions of dollars off of fights.  They're paying someone else for the same advice, why shouldn't I do that."  It's like that string on a bone, when you've got a dog right behind the bone.  Evrytime he gets close, he gets it, he gets it, but he accomplished walking two miles, because the bone kept moving.  Then you get the bone, you've got the progress.  You've made the achievements, you've made the steps, starting off with a microphone and a taperecorder, saying, "Bernard, give me a quote.  What do you think?'  You've got to go back to those days, before you became who you are, talking about me.  Talking about those that understand this game with you, and always strive to go forward.  I must look past Joe to understand I must beat Joe.  To me, and to the world, I'm going to show the American public that Joe us just an ordinary Joe.

GL:  I understand everything you were saying about Roy, and I understand the fight will probably never happen, but do you agree that a fight between you and Roy, after you beat Calzaghe, is, at 175, the biggest moneymaker?

BH:  Yes.  To be honest with you, it's bigger than my fight with Joe.  On the real, based on the names.  Roy and I have a soap opera, Hollywood type event.  Roy accomplished a lot in his career, I'd be a fool to try to diminish that.  I can't downplay that, just like he'd be a fool to try and diminish what I've done.  That can't happen.  We are who we are.  We might dissagree with each other, at the end of the day, his record asks for and demands repect, and my record demands respect too.  At the end of the day, you've got that together, that's bigger than any fight in the light heavyweight division that I know of in the last 30 or 40 years.  I don't even think Bob Foster had an opponent, rival like me and Roy Jones would be at 175.  I totally 110% agree.  When you run into two Capricorns who's birthdays are a day apart from each other, I'm the 15th he's the 16th, that mentality whoever is wrong or right, bottom line is the ones I know who are under that same zodiac moon sign, we don't bend.  Hard, stubborn, knows and determined to be determined, when others say we can't.  Roy has that same mentality.  Trust me, I'm not looking in the mirror when I say this.  I'm saying half of that is in me too.  Half of that is his own personality.  We're all different, but I understand, the same as him, how to be a good businessman, how to continue to keep my body right.  I'm four or five years older than he is. 

GL:  With what I am sure you think is a lot less mileage.

BH:  Exactly.  I'm going to show the world that at 43 years old, Bernard Hopkins is that antique car that drives like it's a 2008.  I'm that old antique car, that the date says old, but the gas, mileage gauge says new.

GL:  You're a 1964, right?

BH:  1965.

GL:  You're a 1965 Cadillac, with no miles.

BH:  That's a new car.

GL:  There you go, you've got to use your birthyear with it.


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