"I Don't Care Who Got Next, I Got Now!"
Exclusive Interview: Bernard Hopkins Part 3
Undisputed middleweight king Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins told Boxingtalk.com, "It's Sunday evening and I just got back home, we just finished helping Frank Cappucino. About three or four months ago we were at a fight at the Blue Horizon and he asked me if I could help him. He was telling me about his son, who basically fell on hard times and didn't have the finances to deal with the disease that he had. Without getting into too many of the details, I helped him out. Sometimes you give your time, sometimes you give your money, sometimes you give a pair of shorts. I did all three. They auctioned off the shorts and Frank broke down and cried after seeing all of the love that he got from everyone."
"Frank was the ref in a lot of my fights. I remember one of the fights where the man took two points from me, so Philly or no Philly the man does his job. I had to go and give my respect to be there. It's a good cause, I'm just getting back it's a little after 9PM on Sunday and I'm just getting back. But this is what I do, without having cameras around or any media around, Bernard is going here and there helping people out, but I do this all the time. I just fought last week for God's sake. But this is what I do, I enjoy doing it and I will continue to help out and contribute whenever I can."
GL: Tell us what you think about the Johnson Vs. Jones fight.
Bernard Hopkins: "First of all Greg, let's talk about Glen Johnson who I know very well. I've known Glen Johnson since 1998 when we first me in the ring. He was a dangerous sleeper back then when I fought him. When they say the guy can't punch or he's not a big puncher, he's got a pretty good punch. I was in the ring with him for eleven rounds and I might have beaten him for all those rounds like he's told Boxingtalk.com, but he's got a respectable punch. For Larry Merchant and them to say that this guy isn't known for punching....uhh......they haven't been in there. It's a bit different when you're in there taking it. They were trying to undermine the livershot, but they never did when Roy Jones Jr. hit Virgil Hill with the same kind of shot. Until you take one of those punches you can't play Monday morning quarterback. That's for Larry Merchant, and I hope he reads this.
"Should Roy ever fight again? Nope. He doesn't need to. Matter fact, my blueprint for Roy, and again, I like to play that manager game and put my hat on. After Roy beat John Ruiz and did something that he always wanted to do, he couldn't get no big fight at heavyweight, he should have just stepped off. He never got the big money after the John Ruiz fight. So what stick around? You can't have your cake and eat it too and you can't have the best of both worlds. You've got to know when to step off. I assume that he's took care of his money. We've all got nice things in the garage but you have to know when to step off.
"I pray to Allah that the same thing that came back to bite Roy in the ass doesn't bite me. But I know that I'm going to listen to that call. Any fighter who doesn't listen to that call when it's their time hurts themself. I'm just starting to get a taste financially of the success. Later in my career when it benefits me to know that even if I want to stay, I can. Do you see the way things have been structured for Bernard Hopkins? I'm four months away from 40 and I'm still fresh as a daisy. I'm not saying that every now and then I don't have an ache here and there, that comes from being in this sport for so long. I never said I was a robot.
"I know one thing though, I'm fresher than any of these other top fighters out there right now. I don't care who got next, I got now! And that for the Taylor's of the world and everybody else. I got respect for those guys. They might not think I have respect for them because they listen to their puppetmasters so they may be ignorant to where they don't know the deal yet. But Jermain Taylor is starting to witness how this boxing thing works outside the ring.
"Glen Johnson could always fight. Glen Johnson, when I left Miami was already training very hard. I know his trainer very well. We've talked, we've laughed and I give them something that I want them to see and I don't show them anything I want to keep secret. It's all competitive (laughs), but the point that I'm trying to make is that Glen Johnson has been a tough fighter. He was 24-0 when I fought him and out of all his nine losses the one fight he could really say he lost was Bernard Hopkins. Even he could testify to that. The man has been robbed everywhere he's gone. He got robbed bad when he fought Zab Judah's brother.
"Everybody slept on this guy but that's because they don't do their homework. They should have understood that Roy was coming off a devastating loss to Tarver and Glen Johnson is the kind of guy that trains his ass off. Before my fight with Oscar I said I'll take a hungry fighter over a complacent fighter, and Glen Johnson was hungry working his ass off in Miami. I give all the credit to Glen Johnson! We've got the same fitness coach and I gave Glen Johnson my best wishes before I left Miami.
"I know for a fact that this is the era of the underdog. I'm talking about the true underdogs. You can't be an underdog if you're filthy rich. You could never be an underdog mentally when you've more than $50M in the bank. As Larry Merchant and them tried to indicate Oscar De La Hoya didn't get eaten by the big bad wolf. But after my last fight this is the same guy who was saying that all of the top junior middleweights should step up and fight me because I was ripe for the taking!"
"Not only did I come down to junior middleweight, but I proved Larry and all of the other critics wrong. First it was George Foreman and now it's Emmanuel Steward, it's unbelievable! I thought those days of when Sammy Davis Jr. was around were over!"
"When I was watching it, I was praying that Roy Jones Jr. wouldn't wind up on that canvas like Gerald McCllelan, which is what he feared most. The way he was down there and the punch hit him behind the ear, where all the nerves are at. It was a helluva shot. He was trying to get away and he got hit back there, and that's not where you want to be hit because those are vital spots."
GL: After you make your twentieth defense, if you were going to step up to light heavyweight, whom would you prefer to face Glen Johnson or Antonio Tarver?
Bernard Hopkins: "It really wouldn't matter to me. I'll fight either of them but I think the rematch with Johnson would be bigger. If that would come to pass Johnson would get the opportunity to erase one of his only real losses. I want to avenge my losses and I know now I'll never get it. Could you imagine if I said I wanted to fight Roy Jones Jr. now? Larry Merchant and the rest of these jokers would be calling me a bully!
"They did a poll on HBO and the poll suggested that the fans want to see me fight Roy Jones. But now that's out and that will never happen. I've beaten Glen Johnson, I stopped him in the eleventh. Any true athlete wants to redeem himself, but Johnson has been mistreated and hasn't gotten the opportunity in so long that I wouldn't blame him if he ran where the highest money was at. I'm not trying to negotiate on Boxingtalk.com with Glen Johnson and I'm not trying to call him out. If he could make more money fighting Tarver, he should do that. God Bless him though. He's been struggling for a long time showing up to the gym with a car that's broken down. I'm very happy to see him finally get an opportunity he could make the most of. I'm happy for him as well as his family."
GL: How does seeing something like Roy Jones Jr. laying unconscious on the floor lead you to say to yourself, 'I'm just going to get my twenty defenses and then just call it a day because this is a dangerous game?'
BH: "That's the chance we always take Greg, but that's why I'm going to do what mom said before she passed. It wasn't on her death bed or anything like that, it was about a year before she started getting sick. At 36 she thought I was too old to be boxing, she had been saying that because that's how moms think. I'm not looking to generate a $100M in this game. I'm not looking to generate $50M in this game. I'm looking to do right by what I can get and not look at anyone else's pot of money. I'm not trying to chase something that's there that would take Bernard risking more of his life at this stage of the game. Roy Jones looked old in the legs two fights ago Greg. He's been living on the ropes and even when Glen Johnson wasn't pressuring him he would go to the ropes because his legs are shot. It's just like my man Allen Iverson, his greatest asset is his speed and once he gets older and that speed goes, he needs to substitute that speed with something else. When Roy's speed left him, he became vulnerable to get knocked out by anybody.
"But right now all roads beginning at 147 on lead to Bernard Hopkins."
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