On Saturday, May 20 during HBO’s World Championship boxing telecast of Barrera vs. Juarez, Antonio Tarver and Bernard Hopkins were interviewed live via satellite. Antonio Tarver and Bernard Hopkins appeared from their training camps. Antonio Tarver is in his training camp with Buddy McGirt in Vero Beach, FL. Hopkins is in New Orleans, LA where physical trainer Mackie Shilstone is in the process of helping Bernard build a light heavyweight body. Below are excerpts form the interviews.
HBO’s Jim Lampley:
Antonio, you reportedly got up to 218 pounds while on the set of Rocky where you were playing a heavyweight champion. How’s that process going and has it pre-occupied your training?
No it hasn’t. I don’t remember getting up to 218… The whole thing is this, I’m the light heavyweight champion of the world. Until I get my credit from boxing fans and so called experts around the word, I got a big chip on my shoulder. And until they find someone to beat me, I’m going to take it out on everyone that steps in the ring with me period!
Bernard, you perfected the art of having a chip on your shoulder your whole career. Do you believe Antonio is being sincere that he has been slightened leading up to this bout?
I think Antonio is going to say what he’s going to say. I plan on making history like no other middleweight has done. To me what’s important is kicking his butt June10th, making history and going out like a king.
You look thicker already. Tell us about the process of going up in weight to the light heavyweight division. How high you going to go? 168? 175?
Well I’m staying in New Orleans and they’re feeding me gumbo and a lot of different kinds of foods. I’m going to be comfortable where I can be competitive and win. It’s not the size of the dog. It’s what’s in the fight of Bernard Hopkins. I want to make sure there are no excuses whether Tarver’s 218, 212. He will be defeated come June 10th.
Antonio, you’re considered one of the hardest punchers in the light heavyweight division in years. Do you expect Hopkins to fight you or do you think he’s going to try and hide?
I hope he comes and fights like he talks. I’m gonna be right there on him. If Bernard comes and fights like he talks, the people and fans get ready for an electrifying night. Like I said, this fight isn’t gonna last past 6 rounds. I’m out to destroy Bernard Hopkins and until these people finally respect me as the best light heavyweight today, I’m gonna take it out on Bernard Hopkins like nobody’s business! He’s going down in 5!
Bernard, is the purpose of this fight to wipe away the bad taste from losing to Jermain Taylor?
Absolutely not. I have no bad taste in my mouth. I have a new goal and new vision. I make decisions on history and what motivates Bernard Hopkins. Come June 10th, I’m gonna shock the world.
Bernard, Antonio, why are you going to win the fight?
I’m the better fighter and the better athlete. People know around the world that I can do it all. Antonio Tarver doesn’t have those credentials. June 10th I’ll prove it.
I’m going to win the fight because I’m the better fighter. I’ve always been the better fighter and I’ll prove I’m the best fighter he’s ever faced in his entire career. He’s been known as to making all the right decisions in his career and he waited until the ripe old age of 41 to make a dumb move. It’s over Hopkins!