Bernard Hopkins speaks on fighting Winky Wright

By G. Leon


Bernard Hopkins speaks on fighting Winky Wright

Before we could get a question in, light heavyweight king Bernard Hopkins told, "I'm out here in Miami with Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr and Floyd got real gangsterish. I hope he doesn't cry after the fight. He gets gangsta before the fight and then after he's on the ground crying...'ohh my God.' I mean you have to keep it gangsta all the way through like (Al) Capone or John Gotti. But what's going on Greg?"

GL: Before Richard Schaefer interrupted our last conversation you were saying that this was the first you were hearing of Winky taking...

Bernard Hopkins: (cutting in) "Well it was the first that I heard of him accepting it. We were going back and forth for a minute, but Richard Schaefer worked his magic and that's why he's so respected in the game today. He knows numbers and he knows how to handle a productive business and he needs our confidence to be able to do that. He's got my confidence, Shane's confidence, Barrera's and on and on and on. You sort of pushed the envelope a little bit because you call, Richard calls, you call, Richard calls and now I'm getting a lot of calls. I've been waiting, and somebody knew something but they weren't totally accurate all the way. Normally when someone says you have a deal, you have a deal. When I look at the last negotiation with Roy Jones Jr, the bottom line is nothing is really done until he's done. I've confirmed with Richard that we have an oral agreement which is done. Now we just need to get Winky to execute on the contract. Our side is already done because I offered the terms through Richard, so here we are.

"This is one of the biggest fights of 2007 that Golden Boy is involved in and I couldn't be happier."

GL: As skilled as you and Winky are, some people might not expect this fight to be the most crowd pleasing stylistic match-up out there. Can you tell us why you beg to differ?

BH: "We've been fooled before in boxing. Sometimes the fights that we expect to live up to the hype do not and sometimes the ones you don't expect to be all that have more action that you expected. I think people realize that here you have two guys that don't do a lot of running and don't do a lot of sitting around and waiting. My style is totally different. Winky is not an easy guy to hit and he's not an easy puzzle to figure out. People who know the art of boxing, that's what missing in the sport today in my personal opinion, is the art of boxing. What is the art of boxing? To be able to figure out a puzzle within time, to be able to capitalize on it within time to be victorious. If you're looking for styles that maybe emulate Gatti-Ward I, II or III, then they might be upset that they paid for it. But it could easily turn out to be that and become the opposite of what people think it might be. I look at the names of the fighters and the deeds of the fighters in the past and the styles of the fighters from the past. When you put all those together, it's a fight that's interesting. That's where it becomes an eye catcher, because it's interesting and it can go in a positive way all the way around the board. 80-90% of the people out there believe that he beat Jermain Taylor and I am one of them. There's a good percentage of people who think I won the first fight. You have two guys coming off of two controversial fights in 2006 who will meet at a catch weight of 170 and it's the middle of where we are strong and weak at."

GL: Can you tell us what made you decide to fight below 175 after saying that you planned on dominating from 175 up?

BH: "What's on the table right now is Winky Wright and not O'Neil Bell. He has a fight in France and I wasn't thinking about fighting anyone else unless it was the undisputed cruiserweight champion of the world. There's only twelve months in the year and everything is about my date, my body and my mind, and the fight that generates interest for TV. It will be happening during the summer when baseball is just starting, basketball is over so it's a slow time for sports and I believe it's the perfect time to do that fight. Now that Winky has agreed I believe he's comfortable too."

GL: Winky is one of the best defensive fighters in the game. I don't think you've ever faced someone with his defense. What makes you think that you're going to be able to penetrate that turtle shell?

BH: "That's going to be the million dollar question and I'm going to have to be ready to give a two million dollar answer on July 21. I have to be able to do what others have been unable to do. I've been up against similiar challenges before and this is one of the reasons that it's worth coming back. I know I'm not fighting a Joe Blow, I'm not fighting someone who's going to show up for a payday and doesn't care if he wins, loses or draws. This is a fight that I know I'm going to have to be a problem solver, a puzzle solver. I'm prepared to go through a hard, hard schooling of tape watching. Nasseem and John David Jackson are excited about this fight. Another southpaw. I'm 10-0 against them, maybe 11-0. If it was up to me I'd fight a southpaw every time out. I have no problem fighting a southpaw, I prefer them over orthodox fighters to be honest with you. My unorthodox style makes it great for me. Tarver was a southpaw and now thanks to Roy I'm going to be fighting another southpaw, Winky Wright, who is considered one of the three best pound for pound fighters in the world. I'm not trying to fight a deadman and I'm not trying to grab a check fighting a nobody. This is a tough fight and he's coming off his fight with Ike Quartey, which was a high energy fight. You asked him not too long ago on the site and he said he'd be throwing rapid fire punches and that's what he's going to have to do."

GL: Most are going to expect you to win this fight, how do you view its risk-reward factor?

BH: "First off the reward is that Bernard Hopkins beat a top fighter, one of the top three in the world. People have been asking for a Bernard Hopkins-Winky Wright fight for many, many years. Not as long as Roy Jones, but Bernard Hopkins will have beaten another future hall of famer, who fought Shane and fought a lot of people. I'm taking a risk being in a tough fight at this stage. As far as history, Bernard Hopkins is 42 years old beating these younger guys up. Is Bernard the new George Foreman? Is he the new Jerry Rice who reached his peak late?


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