Over the weekend, undisputed middleweight champion Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins gave Boxingtalk.com an hour long exclusive interview. "Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins are coming together as a company and as a new breath of fresh air to boxng. We are joining together not only on the business deal with Golden Boy now on both the east and west coast, Bernard Hopkins will be promoted by Golden Boy Promotions until his career ends." GL: Is that why you told Boxingtalk.com that the De La Hoya rematch would "never happen" the other day?
Bernard Hopkins: "I was hinting to it because any rematch would be a complete conflict of interest since we're business partners. I also have equity in the company also. I can't disclose the exact amount, but I have an equity in the company."GL: I've been hearing that several Olympians such as Rock Allen and Vicente Escobedo will be involved during this venture. Is that correct?
BH: "As always, what you're hearing is over 90% true. There are five Olympians who felt short of winning any medals, but they're waiting on me to get back to Philly now. This is a great thing for me because it's going to help me and help other fighters become business minded fighters. It's a new day in boxing.
"I'd like to commend Bob Arum for stepping down, realizing that the sun has set. Also, I'd like to...GL: (cutting in) When you say stepping down, are you referring to Top Rank or as your expert witness in the King arbitration?
BH: "Stepping down means whatever position he was in, he doesn't want to be in that positon anymore. And I'm not going to take a negative stab at him. I commended him for it because most people don't know the sun is setting until it sets. Maybe Don King will get a whiff of the aroma and do the same thing. Oscar and Bernard Hopkins, I think we will both be honored and glad if we can have that longevity of 40-50 years in boxing being successful.
"We're about setting examples and how do you set examples Greg Leon? You do the opposite of what's been done for the past 40-50 years. Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins have credibility in ways that no promoter as of yet has.
"We are fighters that show the world how this should be done. As fighters, we will go down as the best of our era and we're both going to the Hall Of Fame. That's a given. There's no debate to that. The unique thing about it, is we're transforming our ability into the business side of it so we could become Hall Of Famers on that side of it too."GL: When did you and De La Hoya come to this decision? When did this process begin? Give us the low down.
BH: "Right after the Robert Allen fight I approached Shaefer. I heard this guy's nickname is the number man. Not the kind of guy who's in the hoods telling you could put a number down for a dime, but the number man who knows the business of money. That got my ear and the things that I've heard he's worked some big things with Oscar, and I know he has to have credibility for Oscar De La Hoya to be working with him."
"I want to be surrounded by people that aren't recycled people in the game. I want to be involved with people like this especially at this time of my career."
(That's what Hopkins had to say when he called Boxingtalk.com from his limo en route to the presser, later that day Hopkins contacted BT again.)
"As of today, November 20, 2004 Golden Boy Promotions and E-X Promotions have come together as two powerful forces. One as tremendous athlete's and the other as business partners. Golden Boy Promotions will be promoting my fights until I retire. I will still be promoting while I am fighting also.
"One of the questions asked was if I was going to do both or wait till I was done, but I'm going to do both now. And I think what was done today was extraordinary. I think Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier had the opportunity but didn't have the vision to do it. I think Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard had the same type of, not only charisma, but star power to come together. No matter who the promoter of that particular time was, they had the name recognition and the star power to actually do what they wanted to do.
"It would have been easy. The vision wasn't there. Hopkins and De La Hoya had that vision, got that vision and now we're manifesting that vision. There's going to doubters, haters, pretenders and obstacles who will have a reaction to what most people will believe, is a good thing.
"Someone in the world has the step up and set the example of what comes with the territory of history. We have opened the door for others to eventually walk through the same gate because we are brave enough and smart enough to take that stand today."
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