"The biggest fight of November is my (legal) battle with Don King!"
GL: What's the latest and greatest Bernard?
"The latest is, in a couple of weeks from now Arnold Joseph and my lawyer in Miami are going to depose Don King, and after that I believe a lot stuff is going to come out about why Bernard Hopkins never got the due I should I have received for the big fights I signed for. That's going to be the biggest news in boxing, and it's coming to you soon. (Don) settled with everyone else he's gone to court with and I believe I should be next."GL: Will it be Felix Sturm or Howard Eastman?
Bernard Hopkins: "I don't know. I got a mandatory with Howard Eastman due. Felix Sturm is fighting in December and he may not be available. But I'm going to go ahead and fulfill the obligations of the mandatory. It looks like Howard Eastman because you know I'm not going to give up any of my belts and Eastman is a credible opponent for my twentieth defense.
"I saw his fight with Joppy so I know he's a worthy opponent. He's definitely a lot more credible than Morrade Hakkar."GL: Is it disappointing to have follow the biggest win of your career with a Howard Eastman, who lost to William Joppy right after the Trinidad fight?
BH: "Naw, because everyone else is unavailable. Name someone big; Shane Mosley is fighting Winky Wright and that's a big fight. Jermain Taylor is not ready to step up to the plate. And there's really nobody else out there that means anything to the public. Other than a rematch there's rarely back to back big fights.
"There's always something in between. And in my case, it's my twentieth defense. Eastman is a credible guy but everything changes when it comes to who Bernard fights now. I think people are starting to believe I'm the second coming of George Foreman.GL: You and De La Hoya were recently together in Florida. What do you talk about? Did a potential rematch ever come up?
BH: "I don't think there's any rematch with De La Hoya. We just so happened to be in the same place and we wound up in the same row. I thought it was cool though because when I beat Tito's ass, he wouldn't come around me. He was avoiding me and he was fearing me like we should all fear God.l
"But everything with De La Hoya was cool and since we're not fighting each other again remaining pleasant is better than acting like Pit-Bulls."GL: When will your next fight take place?
BH: "I have nothing etched in stone but I know HBO has pencilled something in for February. There's a lot of rumors out there right now Greg, I've even heard that the fight could take place in Philadelphia, but that's not the case. "GL: Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson will be fighting each other on December 18. In the past you've mentioned fighting both of them as possibilities. After your twentieth defense where will the winner of that fight fit on your things to do list?
BH: "Glen Johnson and Tarver are going to fight and that's going to be a good fight, but my whole thing is I'm a true middleweight, a bona-fide middleweight. I could even make junior middleweight for a unique and special fight.
"With the Oscar fight, I just wanted to make a statement to boxing world that I am only a pound away from junior middleweight. If I have to step out of my habitat, I'm putting myself at a disadvantage."
"But I guess that's what it will take to express how unique my career has been. I need to do things that make people scratch their heads. If the reward outweighs the risk the fight will happen. I have never ducked anyone in my life, but I'm a bona-fide middleweight.
"If Trinidad or anyone else wants to become the best fighter in the world, they need to deal with the reality that all roads lead through Bernard Hopkins.
"But they need to come to the table humble. And I will not try to treat anyone like Roy Jones was, I'm going to make my own path. Tarver deserves money and Glen Johnson definitely deserves everything he gets.
"When it's all said and done all roads lead to Bernard Hopkins. The winner of Wright and Mosley, where else should they go? If they want to be considered the best, there's no other fight for them but Bernard Hopkins.
(Hopkins has lots more to say in part 2 of this exclusive interview. Stay Tuned)
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