Kelly Swanson:"Good afternoon everybody and thanks for joining us today in what will be the final telephone conference call for Bernard Hopkins as he is making his final preperations for his fight with Oscar DeLaHoya September 18th at the MGM Grand on HBO PPV. We have Bernard Hopkins on the line with us, Mr Bob Arum and Lee Samuels also from Top Rank so I think Lee can answer any questions in regards to the logistics of the credentials and scheduling. I just want to say, from my own personal experience working with Bernerd he is a true professional. I was in Miami last week, saw him training and DeLaHoya better be ready. That's all I have to say because I've never seen a machine like him. Mr Arum, on that note I would like to turn it over to you and we'll go from there."
Bob Arum:"Hey Kelly. Thanks very much. It's a pleasure to welcome you all here to the champion Bernard Hopkins conference call. We got into September today and it's now eighteen days until the big date of the fight. I've been traveling around the country with Bill Kaplan and talking to alot of media. Everybody is excited , everybody is pumped. The buzz on this fight reminds me of the buzz that we had when Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard fought and so I'm really please the way this is going. Without further ado I would like to turn this over to the champion who will say a few words and then we'll open it for questions. Bernard take it away."
Bernard Hopkins:"Thanks Bob Arum and everybody at Top Rank and also Kelly my publicist and everybody that's on the conference call. I'm ready for all questions. Hard or soft I would try my best to answer."
We talked to Oscar DeLaHoya yesterday and he talked about this fight before the last hurrah. That he may retire after this fight. How do you view this fight as far as your career after September 18th?
Bernard Hopkins: "One thing that I can tell you for sure is that he will retire after September 18th. So he's accurate when it come to his faith. September 18th, there will be no reason for him to go any further especially after I do what I know I have to do to him. That is basically the way competition is. You go in the ring and you do what you have to do. I'm the hungriest fighter in the world right now. I have alot to prove. That's my edge along with alot of other things. DeLaHoya has done everything you can do in boxing. I think that when fighters get into the sport of professionalism, one is to become a champion and then second is to make money. There are a few out there that just want to make money and don't worry about being the champion. Oscar I can say being a champion is very important. He accomplished that in five weight classes. He made more money than any fighter probably made in the history of boxing. As far as the accumilation of the dollars that we get paid as athletes. Today, especially in boxing compared to when Ali and Frazier fought. Frazier to my knowledge got two million dollars for one of his fights against Ali in the late seventy or early eighties. That's one of the reasons that he feels probably that I'm playing devils advocate is thinking about his retirement. I think if things go the way he plans it to go then there is no reason to retire because he always can wave that carrot in front of Trinidad and Shane Mosley's face and they will be gald to fight for the Undisputed Middlewight Championship of the world. But I'm going to make sure that doesn't happen. I'm going to make sure, I believe, that he's going to be out because of what I have to do and also what should he go further in his career and damage his health. So, it's two ways you could look at that. I gave you both of them."
How many fights do you see yourself fighting after this?
BH:"It isn't about how many fight I'm going to fight. With me it's about how long in years that I'm going to fight. And let me tell you, I never really even sat back and said to myself well I'm going to fight one more or two more fights. Or even three more fights because you know I haven't had the opportunity to sit back as a luxury of good and bad to say I'm going to quit because I made a hundred million dollars. You and I know that I'm not no where near one third of that. Then the second thing is I don't have no signs that I see. Pains, aches, headaches or any hard fights that I could look at myself in the mirror and say if I was Arturo Gatti would I think about retiring right now. And it's a difference when you talk about Bernard Hopkins. I'm a rare breed. I don't even think about when I retire. I hope that I'll be able to say that in a good position instead of a bad position about retiring. I never even thought, it's not even a thought in my mind. It's not even in none of my conversations that I have been doing interviews for the last three or four months. I haven't even thought about it. When you running you never look back because if you look back that split second you get caught. And that's what I always went by and that's how I always been taught coming from the streets. You run, you never look back. So I never looked back and think about wel I'm going to fight three more fights or I'm going to fight one more fight. It's not really up to me. You can go in the ring and get a detached retina in one fight and have to retire. I'm just blessed everytime I can not only come out of the ring and fight another day but to come out with a W and still be Undisputed Middleweight Champion of the world. I'm going to continue to bask in that glory while it last because nothing last forever. That's one thing for sure. If life don't last forever, you're career is definitely shorter than life."
We've seen change in Oscar DeLaHoya since taking Floyd Maywether as a trainer. This shoulder-rolling defensive style. How do you think that's going to play into your strategy for this fight?
BH:"I think that for his view of it he probably thinks it's going to work good for him. Everybody has a plan before they get hit. That's the old Mike Tyson quote. The young Mike Tyson. The Mike Tyson that was terrorizing the heavyweight division. And I never forgot that quote,"Everybody has a plan until they get hit." A shoulder can be hit. It's legal for me to hit that shoulder with my left hook and my right hand. You can give me your shoulder, I'll take it. I'll take whatever limb, trust me I'll take whatever limb. Whatever limb you give me I'm punching it."
The right hand that you landed succesfully countering Trinidad's left hook in your fight with him. How do you see your right hand and his left hook playing out in this fight if he decides to use it more frequently?
BH:"I think that DeLaHoya became real, real confident throwing his right hand since he's had Floyd Mayweather Sr. in his corner. He's gotten better. All due respect, I've been watching tapes of course just like he's been watching tapes of Bernard Hopkins. And his right hand has improved. He never really probably worked on his right hand that much because his left hook was working all the way through the amatuers. I watch a whole tape of him and Ivan Robinson from Philadelphia in the amatuers. That's how far I went back in DeLaHoya's boxing career. I have the tapes right here in camp. All the way up to his previous fight. The thing is this I beleive that I have a better right hand than Oscar DeLaHoya. I have a better left hook that alot of people seem to forget than Oscar DeLaHoya. I truly believe out of everybody that DeLaHoya fought, and think about it, it goes back a long time. I believe that I'm the best fighter talent wise, strong wise and also versatile than any fighter he fought. There goes for Pernell Whitaker and Pernell Whitaker was kind of agey when he fought him. Pernell Whitaker still had some life in him where Pernell didn't get knocked out in that fight. And I look at another situation where Julio Cesear Chavez in fight one and two. Way over the hill and the problems that he gave Oscar DeLaHoya. So when you look at a guy like Bernard Hopkins who stood up against one of the pound for pound fighters of my era, will go down as a great fighter I believe, and that's Roy Jones Jr. You look at Oscar DeLaHoya, could he have went twelve rounds or be real competitive with Roy Jones Jr in any weight class? Styles do make fight but I believe that everything that DeLaHoya does or has done as far as in the ring I believe that Hopkins can do better. And that means jab, right hand, left hook. Foot movement I believe I beat him hands down. The greatest foot movement I've seen Oscar do is when he fought Trinidad in the fight that I believe he won. I believe he won eight to nine out of twelve rounds of that fight. And that's one of the fight s that I've studied because I believe he's going to do alot of that movement with me. I see brilliant foot movement, brilliant hand movement and patience and staying calm and not getting any emotions. And that's the thing that going to play a very important role in this fight. If you watch me when I fought Felix Trinidad everytime I outgunned him, outshined him, outpointed him, outpunched him, I never got caught up in the hype. And you will see that in this fight that I won't get caught up in anything I do well. Anything I do well, that means knockdown, that means staggered, that means when I cut him, that means when I cut him, you will never see emotions from me until after the fight is over and that's it. That's that tunnel vision. And the day of September first is tunnel vision until September eighteenth."
You've said the only thing that you put in your body is ginseng. In light of the fact that alot of track stars and other athletes get caught up in the Balco and the drugs. Do you take a certain amount of pride in knowing that you've never cheated?
BH:"Exactly, and I echo that but I say it in my own words that I never used any substance to enhance anything that helps my performance. In my case it would hurt your performance but anyway either way I never took or even thought about taking anything to have the advantage that I might think I have on another man and I take pride in that. I take pride in being a throwback hard working blue collar boxer like the Marvin Hagler. Bob Arum, Mr Bob Arum you know about those fighters being out in Baltimore, DC area, Philadelphia area. I take alot of pride in just living clean and getting proper rest. Not hanging in the streets. Not being up three or four in the morning at after parties. Rolling dice at a casino. I'm not saying these people are bad for doing these things. I just don't do them. I'm not saying that I'm perfect and they're not. I just saying what it comes to boxing there is no room for ignorance and substance abuse. You know I'm a role model. That's why I talk about the pennitentary alot. I read something Oscar said recently that I talk about jail like that's something hip or that's something good, like that scares him. I don't say that and I want to be clear to everybody that's listening and that's going to ask me questions after you. I don't mention incarcaration or pennitentary as a thing of pride. I don't mention that as a thing of bragging or to show how big and tough I am. This is something that appeared in my life that I am embarrased of but I've grown to know that it's something that I remind myself and I remind others that if you can come from a place that is close to death then there is nothing that you cannot overcome once you're in that situation. if you've never been there Thank GOD. You would never understand why I say that. You would never understand why I would feel that. You would never understand why everytime I get ready for battle that it is part of my psychic, that is part of my motivation and that is pat of my work habits, is to know where I came from and where I came from is not a good place. But I've made good of what I have came from. That's why I bring it up to let people know that this is where I come from. This is what I fought for. I've come along way from sitting in a five by five cell. With no gold medal. With no big sponsor contract. With no big promoter that's coming out to take me to another level instead of taking me to a different level. So this is my motivation."
You've talked about watching a tape of Oscar from back in the amatuers. How many fights of his are you going to look back at when it's all said and done?
BH:"Most of the fights I have looked at about twenty of them. First of all before Oscar even became a welterweight I was like Oscar DeLaHoya's fan as far as his ability to overcome. His mother dies when the olympics before he won the gold medal. He dedicated the olympics to his mother. I go that far with DeLaHoya and like I said right now I have a tape with DeLaHoya and my friend Ivan Robinson from Philadelphia in the amateurs. In the amatuers. That's how far I went back. They had to be about fifteen, sixteen years old."
And what did you discover looking back at him going back that far?
BH:"When I went back is I went back to see his development from the amatuers all the way up to his real big televised fight. To his fight that I can bring to you and say that I remember when he fought Paez. You remeber him? The guy that dressed up like a clown. We're going back now to jr lightweight. And I've been watching those fights because you look at DeLaHoya then, you know he had his best. He's seasoned now but he's at his best leading up to those fight like the Ruelas brothers, remember that fight? I forgot the name of the guy who died on the undercard. Killed by one of the brothers that hit him and he died. Anyway they both fought on that card. What I do is I look at those fights and I say this is DeLaHoya when he didn't have two hundred million dollars. hen he didn't have the hundred million dollars. This is DeLaHoya when DeLaHoya was stating his claim in the boxing world to be in the future which was back then, the future is now, but back then was in the future he's going to be what he is today. And to me you can't get no better blueprint of a guy that's hungry. A guy that's not trying to make any mistakes. A guy that's not talking about rolling his shoulders because he don't want to burn out in the later rounds because he don't want to use his legs. A guy that got to put his heart and soul in it to get to that next level of a world championship. Remember as far as the fighst I mentioned he wasn't a champion then. i look at those fights and look at the progress. Things change. You get bigger, you gain weight and move up in weight. I look at the increase and the decrease from early stages all the way up to the Felix Sturm fight. And that to me gives me a blueprint on the difference in how we all have changed but how he has changed from being a guy that rarely got hit, back then. Then get hit with anything and the kitchen sink now. And why is that? Well it could be alot of reasons and I'm not going to put everything out there why I think that. I'll show it September 18th but I can tell you it's a good reason."
You always stay in shape all the time. Where does that come from? I've talked to alot of people about your camp. People tell me it's the most professional camp they have ever seen. You don't allow any screwing around. All business.
BH:"We sent two guys home in this camp. Two guys got sent home. Listen, two guys and Kelly knows what I'm talking, two guys got sent home. They weren't sparring partners it was workers and once you forget that you are here on a mission then you must, you get one warning and that morning is the meeting prior to going to Miami. That means you have a meeting in Philly. I'm not babysitting nobody here and James Fisher is not babysitting anybody. And Bouie don't have time at seventy-five, seventy-six years old to babysit anybody. He got a tough enough time handling me.So when you start having people that you have to babysit and continue to have meetings to tell them that this is important. Your behavor reflects on the champion then you must be excluded and cut out of that situation and sent packing back home. We had to do that. The thing is your information is correct. I run a tight military type camp. We don't play around. Look man, how many people can train in Miami beach or anywhere in Miami and not get caught up? Bernard Hopkins can. So I can train in the nicest places and think that I'm somewhere where it's the worst place because I know what my agenda is. I know what my focus is and I know what's more important to me and my family and my five year old daughter. Nothing distracts me and strangely enough, got to bring it up again, where does that come from? That comes from where I came from. The pennitentary. That came from not taking nothing for granted. Where I came from I will not jeapordize what I have came from in this second life and waste it on a bad decision for a minute or an hour or how long it last. And that's where the difference comes in between Bernard Hopkins and any other boxing athlete in the world today. I take pride in that. And anybody that wants to challenge that thats a fighter, that's a trainer, that's a manager. One thing that you better be sure of when you fight Bernard Hopkins as Oscar DeLaHoya has said recently at the press conference the other day. Tuesday or Wednsday whatever day he did it. It's that he's training and he's going to be in shape and he has this six pack. Why? Because he's ready to step in the ring with a dangerous man. And that's one thing about stepping in the ring with Bernard Hopkins. Is that if you don't come there to win, you come there not to get damaged because you got to come in there ready and you got to come in there in shape. And he's giving himself the best opportunity not to win but not to wind up on ICU somewhere. That's the key is that he's getting in shape because you will not come in there not in one hundred and ten percent. You're commiting suicide because I will start a pace. I will start a pace and I will set that pace like I always do from the beginning of round one. And you all will witness this. Get it now while I'm saying it so no one can say well Bernard you know you never mentioned, I'm telling everyone right now. I will set a fierce pace that DeLaHoya will be shocked. That I will keep it as long as the fight last."
How much of an advantage is it for you never getting out of shape over a guy like Oscar and others who get out of shape every single fight?
BH:"Once you take your body, like Oscar has done and other fighters have done. This is the negative part about Oscar is that when you let your body just flop and you go cold turkey without doing any running, any training. Don't lift up nothing but an icecream cone and then you put your body back in shock to try to push it to the level of getting in shape. That's a workout? That's a fight itself. And with Bernard Hopkins, I'm coming off the same training camp of June. This is lovely. How ironic that three, four years ago I was in a tournament of the middleweight division that just happened to be in September of 2001. And we now getting ready for my second biggest fight in September eighteenth. Not too far distance. Oh this is the same history for me three years ago. Unfortunately 9/11 played a part in that. But it's ironic that I get to show the world my talents again on a higher level in the same month that I did three years ago. Is that a coincedence? No it's not. I say for those that it didn't pass throught your mind I'm making you all aware now. Does DeLaHoya know that he made a mistake? He made a mistake by not, first of all, being in shape. Top Rank should have been mad as well that you show up like that. How you going to tell the fan that paid his money and followed you that you shaft him on this one because you didn't prepare right for this fight knowing that you have a thirty million dollar payday right around the corner. If nothing don't motivate you, the thirty million should motivate you to get in shape for the pre-fight to the main event. In my career everybody I fought I went there in one hundred fifty percent shape. And that's even an embarrasment of fighting Morrad Hakkar who ran in the ring for the first time in anytime in history. But I trained like hell for that fight, in Miami. I trained like that guy was a Marvin Hagler type of guy. I trained like that guy was an Antwon Echols. I trained like that guy was a killer. I didn't care because I didn't know him. I couldn't find a tape on the damn guy. He's a Europian fighter, he's from France. But I didn't go in there with my belly hanging out. I didn't go in there with a cup that's ten sizes bigger so you won't see my belly and my pants falling down. I take pride in my work. I take pride in being in shape. If you beat me you beat me becauase you were better than me. But you won't get a free ride and catch me and my excuse to the world, that paid my bills. That made me rich. That made me famous, I didn't train for this one because I couldn't get motivated. How can you not get motivated hwne a guy is coming in the ring to punch you in your face? I don't understand these guys. He's said I'm a bully. He said I was a bully. Well I got a chance to prove I'm not a bully as he thinks if he comes in shape like I believe he will and comes to win. Don't make me look like a bully then Oscar. Why am I a bully? Because I'm a professional to my game? I'm sincere to my game and I make fights look like I'm a bully because a guys are not better than me, or not in shape or he scared before we get in the ring. That makes me a bully. The bottom line is Oscar has a chance to stand up and give his fans the fight of history. I'm not saying stand in front of me. YOu got to fight the smart fight that you should fight. But fight the fight that you talking. You talking the talk now fight the fight to back up the talk. I'm going to bring it. That's one thing that you better be sure you're going to get from Bernard Hopkins come September eighteenth. I'm going to make him fight. Every second, every minute, every hour he's going to fight fight fight every round. And if he takes a deep breath the fights over. He better not get tired with me. He better not get tired."
You sound like an advocate of the german philosopher. The guy that said "That which does not kill us will only make us stronger"
BH:"I'm pumped. This is September first. I look at the calender today, it's September first. Seventeen days. I'm ready and I got a promise from the city of Philadelphia. Second is not noticed anymore in the world. Everyone likes first place. I have an ultimatum, you win and the city is yours and that's what I'm going to do. And I'm pumped up. I'm pumped up."
What happens if Oscar lands his best shot and you don't blink? Emotionally what does that do in terms of swinging the fight even more your way?
BH"I think it would be the same reaction that Trinidad had when he hit me square on the chin with a left hook off the ropes and I didn't budge. Matter of fact I fired back three or four, five times. I been in there with Roy Jones Jr. Robert Allen was a good puncher but not as big as Antwon Echols. And I went on record saying that was the hardest puncher I ever fought so I know what Marvin Hagler felt when he fought John"The Beast"Mugabi. Once Oscar DeLaHoya lands any shot, if he lands one. There is a great chance me being the hunter chasing the rabbit you're vulnerable to get hit with something. That's how the nature is when you're chasing and you follow and you cutting off and you stalking and you pounding. But I'm moving my hands I'm not just moving my feet. I'm going to be punching while I'm coming. You might get hit one or two time and I'm not afraid of that. And I have a great defense. Don't get hit often but once he lands what he may think is his best shot I will look like a bully after that. I will look like a bully once he realizes he can't hurt because then it's just a matter of time. When you can't hurt a fighter and when a fighter realizes, and this is my fourteen years experience, once a fighter realizes that he can't hurt you and that fighter realizes that he can take more chance and more risk because he took his best shot that other fighter is worried as hell. if you can't make a fighter respect you,and that's by hitting him, not by your footwork. Not because you got a gorgeous looking face. If you can't make that other guy respect your power you have a long nite. And that's what Oscar's going to realize. With alot of other problems that he has to deal with that's one of the key ones. When he realizes he can't hurt Bernard Hopkins. He's going to get into that survival mode and I hope that he don't bore that fans and don't bore me because I'm trying to get fight of the year. I'm trying to knockout Tarver from being a front runner right now by knocking out Roy Jones. I'm trying to be candidate when me and my trainer a second round to be around New York City and being able to enjoy what we should have enjoyed for the Trinidad situation but that's another story. I have an opportunity now to do that and I need Oscar to dance with me because if he don't dance with me and do his part like he's talking on the internet then I will look like a bully. I would look just like he's planting a seed that Bernard Hopkins is a bully. He has to make sure he stands up to the bully as he has been quoted as saying."
Is there anything that Oscar can come up with that you haven't seen or haven't prepared for?
BH:"No. That's the million dollar question. Oscar DelaHoya hasn't, in my mind, came up with anything that I feel he can beat Bernard Hopkins. My mind is set. This to me is bigger than a win or lose column. This is bigger than just going in the ring and saying that I could win. There;s alot of pain and there's alot of joy. It's alot of emotions that's beyond this fight. My mom won't be here for this big fight. She was there for the Trinidad fight. It's been a year already last month in August she has passed on the fourteenth. It's not just me saying I finally made it. I'm vindicated. I'm snubbing my nose to the people who said that I would benever get this shot. That's in the pot of soup. It's alot of family litigation and courts. Fighting promoters, not getting my due. Fighting three hundred thousand fights a year ago with William Joppy. Oscar DeLaHoya, thank God for him he didn't have to got through that. You have to understand there is alot of... Oscar is in trouble. This isn't a fight where we're just going in the ring and the best fighter is fighting the best fighter. This is bigger than that. To me it's bigger than that. There's alot of stuff that Oscar was privilaged not to go through that gives me the edge and the motivation to do something to him. And that's what I got to do. This fight here shuts my critics up by saying that Bernard Hopkins cannot deliver a big fight and will never get the big payday he deserves because he outprices himself and he's hard to deal with. And Arum has already showed them that they are liars. Now to go in there and not win the biggest fight of my career. The Trinidad fight wasn't the biggest fight, this is the biggest fight. You know why? This fight generates the money that I truly deserve and the money that I truly am worth. That's the big thing here. The Trinidad fight was getting over the hump. I gave up the pay per view money. I gave up millions of dollars for the opportunity and then to have too much leverage becasue I wasn't quote unquote marketable enough so I bit the bullet. So Oscar has been privileged to no fault of his, but this is the edge and the fire in my belly that will give me victory come September eighteenth."
This is the first fight with all four belts on the line. We understand that you may not be keeping the WBO belt. Can you tell us about that?
BH: The WBO belt will be on the line come September eighteen and I have a meeting with the president Paco right after the fight. The WBO belt is a belt that is a championship belt and I haven't verbally or written anyone, especially Paco who I have alot of respect for,that I will not keep that belt. I can tell you right now I will be the four belt holder of the middleweight divison. Right now that's where it stands I respect the WBO and their belt is on the line and that's the way it is. So where ever you heard that from or read that anywhere because I haven't, then that's incorrect. I will be defending all four belts. My three and the belt that DeLaHoya has come September eighteenth."
In the match with Vargas if Oscar comes out with that foul protector that high, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to talk to the ref or kind of address that?
BH:"Bouies aware of that and my seconds, they're aware of that. One thing we're not going to do is nick and pick abou this or that. It's all into the sport. That's their jobs. I got Bouie and I got Naseem Richardson for those who don't know he's the one that spotted Trindad's hands being taped over the skin and then gauze and then tape again which is illegal. I have a confident and professional team that know what to say at the rules meeting. As much as I might talk and as much as I might talk about the other things other than the punching part or physical part I do know when to step back and let the people that I'm paying great money to handle those siuations and they will bring that up."
What's Oscar last meal going to be?
BH:"His last meal will be some Reyes gloves. I'm using Reyes and I'm pretty sure he is too. I do my most damage with those gloves."
Is it easy to let your guard down in this business or are you sometimes wary and cautious of the people that present themselves?
BH: Maybe I need therapy or maybe that's something I have to work on. Again, I'm not perfect. I'm always paranoid in boxing. I learned that in the business not in the ring. In the ring, you know what, I'm so comfortable. I'm more paranoid in the suburbs where I live at than I am in the ghetto when I ride back to Philadelphia. That's just because I'm comfortable when I ride home and you can hear gun shots fifteen blocks away. You pay no attention to it becasue you're used to it. When you go to the suburbs you have to be worried about other things believe it or not. You're looking around because maybe you're not familair with the area, maybe you're not familiar with the people around there, maybe you heard certain things. It's not like alot of us around there and you're kind of leary that someone might mistake that you're a burgular or something. But at home, believe it or not, no matter what kind of chaos is going on you been around it twenty something years of your life then it's no big deal. But bring a stranger in that neighborhood like I have done with media people, where we going? Where you taking me? Calm down a little bit this is where I grew up at. This is a thing where are you better off having your guard down in a sport where you have to be on your toes whether you're a promoter, fighter or manager or whoever. Even the trainer in some days especially if you have a hot fighter. Or do you be to the point where you have to be on your guard and have your ear to the ground and be aware of anything and everything and keep every stone turned. It's a thing where I feel I been comfortable with. It's a thing that has paid of for me. It's a thing that has not bit me in the butt. It has benefited me and so I see the rewards of being up on my game in and out of the ring. It hasn't been a distraction to me. I know when to cut it down. I know when to put everything in other peoples hands like now. And I know when to go ahead and say ok this is the time now to be the athlete. This is the time to be the fighter. I been blessed to be able to turn that off. To be able to be in the ring and be the Executioner and be Bernard Hopkins and I change and transform into a different person that in camp people don't even want to be around me. Bouie will tell you and trainers will tell you because I get moody. I'm real moody but when the fights over I'm the nicest person to be around with. I can change that personality which some fighters can't do. They take that fighter mentality into society and then you make the papers. Than you make the news. Then you make ESPN sports, you make Cold Pizza. You make all the comedy shows, everybody talking about you. But I've learned to take that jacket off and take that baseball cap off and go into another personality and be with my family and be a regular citizen. That's one of the reasons I've stayed in society for so long without ever skipping a beat or trespassing or jaywalking anywhere. I have learned to be able to transform from being Bernard Hopkins the fighter who I have to be everything mentally that I was when I was ignorant. In boxing I go in there with the mentality that we're in the streets. I don't care nothing about you. I don't care nothing about who you with. Your family I don't care nothing about that. That might seem cruel and that might make you angry but you have to understand to be a fighter, to be a real bonifide fighter is a mental game and once you know you have to be strong mentally, you have to take that into combat and take that into the ring and you perform and when it's all said and done we going to hug each other, most fighters do. We going to congratulate each other and we're going to go about our business. But we just taled about killing each other an hour ago. We just talked about we don't like each other two days ago. When the fights over nine out of ten we will embrace each other and go about our business. That's the most beautiful thing about boxing, that I think."
What film of DeLaHoya are you studying the most?
BH: It's more than five tapes that I've look at. Like I said I have a tape here from when he fough Ivan Robinson in the amatuers. That's how far I went back whether I get something out of those fights or not, which I have, is really not important but I went that far back. I wanted to go as far back as I could before Oscar DeLaHoya became a fifty or sixty or seventy million dollar man because everyone that gets into boxing for the big picture, to become the world champion and make money and so they are at thier best or at least trying to be at thier best when they're trying to get to that level that he's at right now. I wanted to go from a transformation of then and now. It gives me a bio on how he has progressed and decreased and I've got that.
Is Oscar's toughness under-played. He's been down, he's been cut. He's shown a warrior's mentality even though he's the Golden Boy. Is thatsomething you don't think people really give him credit for?
BH:"I've read and heard personally people giving him credit. Oscar is no chump. That's clear and I don't think and I don't believe having this conversation for an hour have indicated that. I just said what I'm going to do. Oscar, as I review the tapes, is no chump. He will fight till the end, he will not quit. And that's one thing I respect even in my enemies and he's not my enemy. I don't have to say he's my enemy or I hate him or any word like that to be motivated to fight because my motivation is totally different, I believe, than any other fighter that's in the world fighting today. I have a different motivation of winning and staying up and being in shape at all times. My motivation is different than any fighter in the world. Oscar DeLaHoya is not a guy that's going to lay down because it's Bernard Hopkins. He's going to try his best to win this fight and I'm going to do my best to convince him early, not late, that he has no chance. It's impossible. And that's the pressure and the punishment that I have to show him early. There's no figuring out, there's no sitting around. I watch four of his fight and they come out everytime and they touch gloves. What the hell is that? You touch gloves one time and that's when the referee says touch gloves, go into your corner and you come out. And protect yourself at all times. So that was strange, I watch every nick and cranny of every fight even when they sit on the stool. How they breath, how they talk, where they're eyes are going. If they're looking outside in the audience instead of looking at their coach. I watch every little thing. So we won't see no hand touching every round that comes in he leaves and comes back and come and everytime the bell rings we touching gloves like this is a party. No, no, no no. We touch gloves one time. So when he reads this he will understand when he sticks his hand out there to touch gloves. You got one fair warning and it's the warning now that goes out to everybody who's going to write this press conference on this phone. There will be no touching gloves in between or starting rounds prior to going to war. I' m not doing it. So I don't want nobody saying he sucker punched him, he snuck him. No, no, no no, don't stick your hand out to me to touch gloves. We got one time if we choose to do this. That's not even the mandatory but I do it for respect and I do it because it's the honorable thing to do BEFORE the fight. And when you go back to you corner and you come out I don't have to touch your gloves no more. There are little things that I see. Oscar's been brilliant of rocking fighters to sleep like it's business as usual, like it's the day at the office. It's called conning. It's called conning a fighter that this is business, you know, Ray Leonard was a master of it. Ray Leonard was a master at conning you and when you get in the ring and then you wanna know why this isn't the same man I was just talking to, putting his arms around me. Showing all his pretty white teeth. I'm aware of the con man. I'm aware of the con man. Fair warning, you get one fair warning. I'm keeping the slate clean, don't come out there sticking your hand out to me talking about good round. No, no, no, no. You don't have to patrionize me. This is war."
Good luck champ.