Bernard Hopkins: Calzaghe only goes distance if his father is brave enough!

By G. Leon


Bernard Hopkins: Calzaghe only goes distance if his father is brave enough!

"This might be my last one!"

GL:  What's the latest and greatest with Bernard, how's camp going?  "I'm ready, I'm feeling good, it's great weather out here.  I've got Mackie Sjilston coming in Sunday, Freddie will be done Saturday definitely with a victory.  Unlike most camps that I've been in my years, it's on schedule, it's on time.  I'm ready to go and finish up the last four or five weeks from today.  As a matter of fact, it's been thirty days today that I've been here.  We'll be headed to Vegas on the 14th, it's cool, I'm ready to roll att the right time, at the right place, and peak at the right time. 

GL:  How does this camp compare to the two previous camps you had with your last two southpaws, Tarver and Roy?

Bernard Hopkins:  Basically, my thing is my last two camps for southpaws have been the same.  We get up at the crack of dawn, west coast time, which is a little later than New York time.  I'm working out while most people on the east coast are on their way to work.  I get up at 5:30 a.m., we stretch.  I've got this guy named Tony that's been with me for six years, he gets my body warmed up and stretched out with his table.  We've got it set up at my place.  We load up in the cars, trainers and all, and get to where we're going, including Hassim.  Now that John David Jackson helped Nate Campbell shock the world and beat an undefeated fighter nobody gave him a chance against, he got on a plane, came here, and he's been here since last night I think.  I'm mentally and physically prepared to take this fight to a level where people are actually going to just forget about pound-for-pound. 

No disrespect, I think it's an honor to be recognized in that bracket and talked about in that way.  Prior people have thought that I should have been second or first.  With this fight, I think that people are going to understand they're going to have to find a category for Bernard by himself.  He should be by himself right now, until someone reaches that quota.  I think it's that time right now, and I think it's based on my age.  I want to promote that age, because I want people to understand that this is not normal.  And if I don't promote it, they'll downplay it, because they know if they had a fighter, or were involved with that fighter, they'd be the first to say they have a 43 year old fighter.  I sort of have to blow my own horn without bragging about it, or boasting about it.  Just so people are aware, and don't get it twisted, I was born in 1965 on January 15th.  I want to pound that in their heads, so that when they see me on April 19th, they have to put all those accolades behind what they name me in the Hall of Fame of Boxing.  That's one of the biggest focus, and one of the biggest things I said to myself. 

There's only two athletes, and one of them just retired, in the sport, in the United States, at the top of their game, and fighting at the top level, getting paid top dollars.  That was Brett Favre and Bernard Hopkins, Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers, and Bernard Hopkins.  Two guys that are like ironmen, I would say Jerry Rice, but he retired.  This is my season, and my season just happened to bloom late.  Some peaches don't bloom when they're supposed to, some flowers don't open the bud up when they're supposed to.  They open up at a time when nobody expected, I'm that rose that didn't bloom when it was supposed to.  I bloomed late, like a late crop on the field.  That's how I can make sense out of my life right now, and my health.  I could give all credit to me and say I'm that good, but I'm not a fool.  There are a lot of things that come into play.  One thing is I'm one of those guys, if I were a plant, I'd be the one that didn't not open up, but opened at a different season when he should have been gone.  If I were a flower, I should have been dead by now.  It's going to be a great night come April 19th, for a lot of reasons. 

GL:  Is Calzaghe going the distance?

BH:  If his father's brave he'll let him go the distance, but it's not up to me.  It's up to me physically, but it's up to them how long they'll let him fight.  When he's bleeding, busted up, and he's been in a fight like a car accident.  To me, I'm going in there to do what I have to do, and to make them realize it's only one loss.  He can come back, he lost to Bernard Hopkins, there are some future Hall of Famer's that have lost to Bernard Hopkins too.  Speaking of Hall of Famer's, name one fight on Joe's resume that's even eligible, even if I give you Eubank's, who I don't think will make it in the U.S., but will probably make it in England.  You don't need to do too much to be in the Hall of Fame in England.  Name the Hall of Famer's who are on my resume who will probably get in with one ballot, big, small, whoever, I beat them.  This doesn't mean that I underestimate the guy. 

When you hire someone to work with you, whatever team you've got with you at BoxingTalk, resume is important.  It gives you a blueprint, some kind of knowledge of the person.  I also know it took some type of skill, knowledge, and sacrifice to be able to do what you do.  Even though my competition is night and day compared with his competition, I'm ready to display that.  Maybe this information will help somebody bet the way they want to bet right now.   I'm watching all the tapes.  This guys father says they don't watch me, that's good.  I don't believe it, but that's good, don't watch me.  I've always got a lot of tricks up my sleeve, Joe's never fought a crafty, slick, offensive counterpuncher.  I'll make his style change, you can ask the fighters that have fought me.  The last five or six of them, what happened?  One guy said somebody poisoned his food, Tarver said someone put something in his food.  You heard about it.  It was that overhand right counter that put you on your back, it's going to be a big party.

GL:  What are the chances that this is your last fight?

BH:  It all depends on how I win.  You can get signs, even winning that there's no one left to fight, there's no other desire there.  I messed up another persons payday to fight someone else.  Tarver was supposed to fight Joe coming to HBO, it didn't happen.  Winky got eliminated, Roy couldn't get Trinidad seven years ago, because I interfered with that.  I'm going to stop messing people's dreams up, this might be the last one, it may not.  It depends on how Bernard Hopkins wins this fight.  I have to be motivated.  I'm motivated right now like I was making my 21 defenses, like when I was ready to fight Tito.  I like being the underdog, I want the crowd to be 90% Joe.  That's how I focus, check my resume, I love it.  I want to be the villain, for people to say can Joe shut Bernard Hopkins' mouth up.  That's pressure on me, where I have to actually fight for my country.  I don't have to do that, the only thing I'm fighting for is to see my legacy furthured.  What do I  have to prove, Greg?  They're going to rush to say Joe's never fought anybody after I beat him up.  That's what they're going to tell you all. 

GL:  You're going to beat Joe up and make it look easy?

BH:  Yes.

GL:  Is that because of some of the things that Nassim was touching on about a guy who punches like that being ready to get punched back?

BH:  If a guy is throwing punches, then he's open more as much as he throws punches.  If I throw a lot of punches, then I'm open to be countered a thousand times.  That's just the way it goes, it's nothing I made up.  It's something that's taught to you.  If a guy is offensive crazy, that always leaves opportunity, even if I was like that.  Even if he tries to change his style for this particular fight, he fall into my hands.  I'll track him down like a dog, it will really be an execution.  I want these punches that people say he throws per round.  I want to see if he throws a thousand punches a round this fight. 

That means I'd have a thousand opportunities.  I not hiding, I'm not going into a shell.  If you fire at me, you're going to pay, everybody knows that.  That's why this fight is supposed to be so great.  Everyone knows when you're in there with Bernard Hopkins, you're in there with the craftiest southpaw, the southpaw killer that you've ever fought in modern day time.  I'm undefeated with southpaws.  Joe Calzaghe isn't more experienced than Tarver.  The styles are different, because Tarver leans back to counter you. 

Joe doesn't look to counter, he's got a perfect amatuer style.  Not an amatuer fighter, but an amatuer style.  He wants to let the judges know that he's busier with his body language.  He's not throwing punches, but he's jumping around trying to show he's got energy.  American judges can't be conned by that, they're too smart for that.  Over here, he can't do that.  I don't have any respect for a joker that fights in his back yard thirty times, and is supposed to be great, and try to force you to think he's great.  Come out your back door.  If you say you're great then travel the world, and try to fight those on that same battlefield, but you're not home.  Now here we are, he was forced to be dragged here across the Atlantic Ocean, forced, and I'm paying him good. 

There's no way to get out of that.  In the famous statement I made in front of the media, I told him he has to fight.  I was a little dissapointed it wasn't made into a PPV fight, that would have got more people to buy it.  I'm happy and I'm fine.  Calzaghe's being taken care of very generously and very well.  Now we're going to be able to take this thing and make them understand the difference between the American top best.  Europe has always come in second when it came to boxing, they've always been second to us.  If you can't make it in the NBA here, they send you to Europe to get your game together, then you can come back.  Name someone Joe has fought that's going into the Hall of Fame.  Tell any of the BoxingTalk readers to try and search for one guy.  We haven't fought yet, so you can't put me on.  Name one guy.

GL:  Give us some closing thoughts.

BH:  I love BoxingTalk, it's the only place to get Bernard Hopkins on his time. Stay tuned for all the greatest and latest. Be good Greg."


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