Bernard Hopkins Interview Transcript Part II - Hopkins vs Calzaghe
Chris Murray, Philadelphia Tribune: Bernard if you're victorious in this fight, you've basically climbed every mountain in this sport in terms of fighters. Who else would be out there once you get past Joe Calzaghe?
Article posted on 05.04.2008
Bernard Hopkins: When I get past Joe Calzaghe I will really, really will have to make a big, big announcement. Heavyweight division is not in my circle any more because Moscow was the guy that I wanted. Thought that that would be a perfect match for me and there's no other guys that's too big that holds the title. I ran out of opponents. And when you go look for a fight it's like being in the neighborhood you normally pick on the person that you shouldn't have picked on? I'm not going to be in that position because now I'm looking for a fight then having something to fight for.. There's a big difference. And so, you know, whether I want to retire or not I think I'm force to retire because I ran out of opponents. When I mean run out of opponents I mean first of all I'm not going in there to dance with no guy 24, 25 years old. I don't pick on nobody unless they 35 and up. So, you know, there's no one in the game at a high level to be able to satisfy my cravings around. I've eliminated I done ran out of really quality names to fight to be honest with you. And so, you know, is it a sad thing that I can retire on top? No. But, you know, it's a thing where I know that Bernard Hopkins is going to win this fight and I'm going to win this fight big. And then I'm going to go and do the things that the company needs my undivided 24 hours or whatever day it takes to sign more fighters to Golden Boy from Golden Boy East. And, you know, definitely spend time with my family and do things in the city as you know in Philadelphia, you know, we got a new mayor. We got things turning around in that city and I want to be a part of that. Maybe a political future for Bernard Hopkins. I have a lot on my table to not get bored to be honest with you. So I'm going to have to make that come in a second. Look I'm 43 years old so at the end of the day trust me I know I got a body and I've been told I got a body and Mackie tells it all the time, you know, Bernard they don't know you're 43. But I know you're body and I know this test and I know how you run and I know what numbers you get and I know how your heart rate drops down so calm after a hostile workout. You got a 28, 29 year old body but they think you're 43, and that helps. So I consider 43 to be a time where it's time to back up. It's time to do this. It's time to smell the roses. I just bought a house recently that there are many things that I want to accomplish with that. And enjoy that 17,000 square feet house on 5.5 acres. I'm going to enjoy that. I waited late in my career to really buy the biggest purchase, you know, I got property, rental property, I had a nice house, still got a nice house but I waited late to really buy something that I always wanted late in the game and I want to sit back and enjoy that. So I find something to, you know, to be able to take that void, you know, that middle spot of not being able to box anymore or to train anymore and every year you get older so, you know, it's not my choice no more. It's nothing I can do about it. It is what it is.
Chris Murray: Would you say that if you were to lose this fight by decision or whatever?
Bernard Hopkins: It's the same no matter what. You know lose, win or draw. I can win a fight and know in my heart that, you know, I'm done. It's a desire and a will to prove that I can do it and to prove to others that you're wrong again. People might say well Bernard, you know, you be 100 years old trying to prove people wrong but people's going to think the way they want to think and have they opinions to do that and that's it. But, you know, they got to stop with me, you know, because no matter what you do in life there's going to be somebody saying that you, you know, yeah but you could have did this, yeah but you could have did that so you can't satisfy everybody. So you know win, lose or draw and I never like to add all those in there my thing is win but if things don't go my way it's the same one way or the other because I've ran out of opponents. I have nothing to be ashamed of I have everything to be grateful for. And I've done what most fighters and most people couldn't imagine doing. I done surpassed most people's expectations on what Bernard Hopkins personal life will wind up being. And definitely my athletic definitely in my professional life. And they will have to find a place to put Bernard Hopkins in history. And I don't say that to be bragging I don't say that to be cocky. I think that when it's all said and done with the stamp of approval of Bernard Hopkins winning impressively undefeated southpaw fighter that they made up to be great is going to be a profound statement. This fight here surpasses Tarver fight because Tarver had flaws. He had a loss before. Tarver Tarver it was unique because it was history because Ray Robinson couldn't pull off what I pulled off. That's the unique thing about it but this one this one is a little bit more spicy. This one is a little bit more spicy. It's another undefeated fighter like a Felix Trinidad. It's another undefeated fighter like a guy I fought named Blaine Johnson and nobody even talks about when he's 30 and 0 and I knocked him out. You know you don't even hear that. That means to me some media don't even talk about that fight. But I say that at the end of the day my worst critics will have to pay homage to my legacy.
411mania.com: Now, you know, you're in another fight that obviously a lot of writers are picking you to lose which seems kind of like the norm now days I think but besides proving the doubters wrong, I mean what else motivates you right now at this point in your career for this fight especially after accomplishing so much already?
Bernard Hopkins: I made two that is 99.9% of it to be honest with you. Absolutely because, you know, if I didn't have that I don't think I'd even be on the phone talking about a press conference because there probably wouldn't be no fight. I mean this is what kept me they've been my biggest supporter in taking my body through, you know, aching pains. I wake up with a cramp here and a pain there and this and that. To be honest I don't camouflage that. You know I just deal with it. I'm a professional. So when, you know, and I don't, you know, I usually when I was ignorant or I was emotional which is the worst thing you can be in anything whether its business table whether it's in the ring is that I used to try to convince people who didn't agree with me why I'm not old and why I'm not, you know, going to lose a fight even when I was in my 20s and 30s. And I really, really it took me a little while but I really realized late in the game that it's their opinion but how can I now make the most respected person in boxing analysts or, you know, judge or reporter wrong? And at the end of the day found out I was wrong. There's a lot of them that will come up to you and say Bernard hey man I picked you to lose man and you shocked me man and you won. And I respect those who do, but then you get some that don't even come to the damn press conference after the fight. Or they come but they stand in the back if you'd have lost they'd have been up front. So to me those the ones that have they separate their jobs from having a personal agenda. You know whether or not I like this guy it ain't about liking a fighter. It's about writing a story for the fans where your credibility comes into play. And so I know I got these persons out there and I see them and I smile and shake their hands and they know who they are. But you know what they help me to be honest with you so why would I fight with them? They're entitled to their opinions we live in America. I'm entitled to my opinion. I'm entitled to say what I feel like I need to say because that's just the way I feel. Everybody might not agree with it but that's the way I feel. Hey we don't live in a third world country where they take you out the house and hang you by a tree. So if we want the luxury when it benefits us then we have to accept myself and I have to accept that when people don't agree with me I don't have to get upset. How can I prove to them? Go in there and prove them wrong. That is my motivation. Listen I'm 43 years old getting up 5:30 in the morning West Coast time. I mean why would I put my body is the question I think that probably maybe somebody want to ask but I'm going to take it away from them. The answer is at 43 years old I've done well with my money I made great investments; I'm still a coupon clipping guy. I've still got a Costco in my wallet Costco card. Why would I put my body 5:30 in the morning when I could be sitting somewhere drinking a virgin strawberry daiquiri in Miami in one of my properties and here I'm in with this manic guy named Mackie Shilstone who's getting me up at 5:30 in the morning and he's 57 and he's running 880s with me. And anybody knows what 880s means. You feel like your heart is coming out of your chest. And I'm sparring with three or five spar partners who are 15 years younger than me maybe younger with careers and records who's throwing Joe throw 1000 punches around say they're throwing close to that but its four different spar partners so you put 100 punches around for four guys add that up. That's almost 400. And I don't get out the ring they get in the ring. They bring one guy in one guy out I stay in the ring. So people that's listening to this understand this is in me. This ain't about buying another car another house. This ain't about actually a payday. This should tell people that how that they mind might be clouded by some other things that I've said or that they've seen that they did that they disliked. They should just understand he put all that stuff to the side. This man is 43 years old and I know how it is to take that much dedication to prepare for any fight. But it got to be just as difficult and to do that at this stage in my career. And you know what? That's because it's in me and I'm in this to win it. I'm not in this for the emotions of it. I'm in it to prove that with me and inspire others that 43, 42 anything in your 40s and up is not a death sentence if you take care of yourself before you become 40. Especially if your 40 then start taking care of yourself now. And I'm the poster boy for that.
Ramon Aranda: Now with the same token do you think that if it would have been the opposite way say you would have been pumped up as the face of boxing, you know, being the guy that everybody always picks to win. Do you think if your career would have went that route that you would have probably had a shorter career or gotten bored earlier with it at all?
Bernard Hopkins: Probably so. Because when you are that particular poster boy and you're that particular guy that they want you to win whether its TV whether its and I say TV based on what revenue you bring, what excitement you bring, what ratings you bring all that counts. Then you got the promotion of the promoter, they got the promotion of who they write about. See the prime example is Jermain Taylor and I wish I had another name to mention. I do have another name. He's from Philadelphia. And right now he's damn near homeless. His name is David Reeves who won a gold medal. See the worst thing can happen to some athletes especially boxers. They will give you this false security and give you something that you really ain't ready for right now. A title. Jermain wasn't really ready for that title and he made a few dollars and I hope he's done well by it. But it's nothing like experience and there's nothing like taking you through those curves to understand that this is going to make you keep the title when you get there. This is going but this microwave mentality yes I said microwave not oven microwave society or business where they don't care about longevity. They care about the dollar. They care about let's get this title by any means necessary well the man got to defend it. Now here I am at 43 this guy is supposed to have beat me where my career and where his career at? See I just have patience I just prove them wrong and I stay and challenge them. Behind a plate they're going to have to put me and they might not follow it. I'm still cool with that. But there's going to be a place other than pound for pound because right now its surpassed that right now. Everything I do or everything I did to surpass oh Bernard do you think if you beat this fighter you should take this fighter? Somebody asked me the other day from the media. I'm not going to put them on blast but I say why would I shortchange myself like that? Don't disrespect the pound for pound. Everybody got their own limits. Everybody got their own pound list. I said its past that baby. I said you thinking like that, that's short minded thinking. I've surpassed that. Come April 19 Bernard going to show again that all these years that I've been in the game, 40 something years old. Y'all got something special amongst us so just enjoy it while I'm here. Enjoy April 19 because it could be the last great fight you see from Bernard Hopkins for some and the Executioner for others.
Daily News: You know when you were talking about this being possibly your last fight because you still got gas in the tank but, you know, where else is there to go? I don't know I know you're an Eagles fan and follow the NFL but this sounded a lot like a couple weeks ago with Brett Favre. Came within one game of going to the Superbowl He had a great year at 38 and just said, you know, I think this is it, you know, he obviously could have played another year maybe another couple years. But now that I'm throwing this out I mean do you kind of like liken your situation of where you are now to where Brett Favre was when he decided maybe it's time to step away?
Bernard Hopkins: It's slightly different in a way because with Brett Favre I think it's a situation where, you know, football and boxing is obviously different but there are some similarities there. I think more with me than with Brett Favre is that, you know, even though they came so close I think three out from being in the Superbowl but maybe four with me it's just that there's no other person that they can bring to me that's realistic. I ain't talking about a Heavyweight. There's no one on the bottom from 60 there's no one at 70 that can bring what I need to be motivated for this fight. Other than the Joe Calzaghe's. Because I mean I have to be honest with myself there's no (unintelligible). And Bernard, if I start getting in the ring strictly based on money then I won't hire a guy like Mackey to go do something at (the) store. I won't go spend extra money bringing (Freddie) in got (John Nazeen) got John David Jackson. Hey I got a payroll that's pretty hefty with these guys. I didn't do that to lose. If I am coming somewhere to lose, wouldn't I save as much as I can? So my thing Bernard, is that if it was people that are in the game that can bring a reason for me to do it, other than money, I would do what Foreman had done. Stay around until about 45 or 46 and I said it before and I'll say it now. If I wanted to I could fight another three or four more years. I know Bernard that people will say "Well why would you do that?" Because A) I can and second) tell me and show me other than looking at my age. Am I embarrassing myself? No. Am I winning? Yes. So you tell me "well you should quit because you're 45." You should quit because you're 43. So I should die? I should just roll over and get a fat stomach go to Miami and sit on the beach because I'm 43? This is 2008, 43 in the 70s is not the 43 now. And so the reason that I came to this Bernard, is I just ran out of people to beat. I just ran out of people to beat. I ran out of people that could bring that thing that's in me that I can say I'm going to prove someone wrong again. If that's not there Bernard a big part of my motivation, a big part of my psyche, a big part of the way I get up, the way I hike through the pain in the morning, the way I fight I don't fight running but I have got to get up at 5:30 crack of dawn. If I don't have that Bernard, I won't be Bernard. I won't be me. I train like I fight and I fight like train. And if one thing is missing out of my 20 plus year career I'm doomed. I'm literally doomed.
Bernard Fernandez: I almost feel like you ought wear a number 4 Packer's jersey into the ring.
Bernard Hopkins: Yes, the Packers, for Brett huh? The Iron Man I call him. They call him the Iron Man.
Bernard Fernandez: Yes he played the game with, you know, a
Bernard Hopkins: Finesse.
Bernard Fernandez: and joy that you've brought to boxing, you know.
Bernard Hopkins: Bernard and anybody that's listening, when you see it is perks in being a veteran that survived the scraps and the bumps and the wear and tear that boxing can bring on you. But also it is rewards in it. See because guys like myself and Brett Favre and other older athletes that came before me the Jerry Rick and guys like that we know how to finesse our wins. We know how to finesse our wins because everything ain't all when you're young you're running through the door when you're older you twist the doorknob then open then walk through. You get smarter. You get more finesse. You get more technical about anything you do because you know that you can't step on a minefield. And that's the difference between young and (life) and being older. The choices you make, the way you do things, they way you take care of your body it changes compared to when you was 20 and 30 and now I'm 40. I just wanted to put that out there and next question.
(London): Since we sat in that press room when Ricky Hatton and Floyd Mayweather told me you were going to be the modern day Paul Revere. I'm so delighted we're nearly there now because the British sure are coming. You say that your worst critic will pay homage to your legacy like Joe Calzaghe who is a Super Middleweight Champion for ten years you were a Middleweight World Champion for ten years. Do you agree that this is as much a defining fight for you as it is for him?
Bernard Hopkins: I will hope so. I will hope so for him because that spells that you are going to have a great article to write and American writers are going to have a great article to write. When you have that atmosphere out there of two sides then the rope got to snap in the middle because there's going to be pushing from one side to another. And to me that's a great thing to have. And there's also a great thing to have when you're going up against an opponent that he also has a personality where he can talk and I don't have to carry the whole promotional quotes and sound bites. So to me he's already doing the right thing. He's already doing what he's supposed to do. He has his legacy to prove and bring to the people's attention that maybe don't know over here in the United States like they know mine. By the same token you've got to understand that the old poppy Hopkins he called me or Mary Poppins, she was a very, very powerful lady if you know the story about Mary Poppins. And if anybody knows the story about Mary Poppins other than the disrespect of him calling me a woman but he called me Poppy so he can't be calling me a female. But if you know the history of Mary Poppins which was one of my favorite bedtime stories when I was small she was a powerful lady. She had magical powers with that umbrella. Come April 19 I'm going to be glad that I was called Mary Poppins. Because the history of Mary Poppins is nothing to laugh about.
Philadelphia Inquirer: I just want to be clear. Are you saying that this is going to be your last fight?
Bernard Hopkins: Easily could be yes. Nothing else to nobody else to fight to bring this type of energy and motivation out of me. There's no one out there. I've cleaned out my closet. There's nothing in here. There's no motivation to fight anybody else unless it's just for money and I never, never went in there based and predicated on money. My track record shows it. My business decisions showed it when I left millions on the table, when I got crucified for it and wound up (throwing) bigger deals later on down the line but no. I would not go in the ring based and predicated on 100% motivation is money.I have to have a reason to be able to say why I'm doing this. Because that gets me through the training. The training is something that I need to get through on a proper way to prepare to win. And if I don't have that which was in my 99% ace in the hole for my 20 plus career. I would never, never appreciate that and never disrespect that. Then I'm doomed. I put myself in the line of danger even further.
Ashley Fox: But you said
Bernard Hopkins: I'll say it will be because there's no one else there on the horizon and, you know, to put the cart in front of the horse and start looking for other things then you looking for the wrong things. And right now Joe Calzaghe is the only guy on the planet that's over 35 years old that's important and that's part of my demands. And no one out there beyond him that I can see that's worth doing this taking my body through what I have to do being away from my family for six or seven weeks. You know as you get older every year you get to thinking differently than last year. At least I do. I don't know maybe some people think different I don't know. But, you know, you can only go to the well so many times and get water. You go there one time there ain't no water there because you already took it out. I'm going to the well April 19 because there's a bucket left.
Fightnews.com: Considering all the factors coming into this fight the age, the title experience, the championship fights, the British versus America thing going on here. Is there another fight that you recall that you had more to prove in your career?
Bernard Hopkins: Yes.
Andreas Hale: Which one would it be? Is this that fight or is there another one?
Bernard Hopkins: No there's another one. The Trinidad fight.
Andreas Hale: The Trinidad fight?
Bernard Hopkins: Yes.
Andreas Hale: It was bigger why?
Bernard Hopkins: It's because he was better known worldwide. Trinidad was undefeated, known as a dangerous left hook. I think I was a 5 to 1 or 6 to 1 underdog. No one in the media game that I can remember at least I ain't going to say any one I'd say about 80% of the media had me losing. First it was around at press conferences some falls before then. It's 9/11, 20,000 people under one roof in New York City of all places. It was tense a moment, but also it was a moment of standing out amongst, you know, any possible thing that I can dream of accomplishing on the most important fight, the most important year of my legacy. Had to be one of the saddest days of America. So while people are rejoicing some are stunned still. So it was a thing that I had to fight through adversity. I had to fight through was humanly was normal for anybody to have a letdown. I rose. I rised up. I rised up at the worst scenario case. So when you have this type of education and you have this type of experience and you have this type of trials and tribulations that make you a man. Let's not even talk about penitentiary. Let's not even talk about upbringing. Let's not talk about that. I'm going to let you beat me? When it gets to those points and you see five rounds or six rounds or you get hit with a good shot or something happen that's not in your favor. And you look across the ring and you look across at everybody and you say did I go through all this to let this happen? That' the reason you fight man. Everybody don't have that because everybody didn't live that fortunately and unfortunately I had the best of both worlds. And come April 19 Joe is going to witness something that he didn't witness with Joe (unintelligible). He didn't witness with any other guy that he's fought that he thinks that makes him great. Compared to my resume. It's going to be totally different and when it becomes different to him the fights over. When it becomes different to him the fight is going to be over that night.
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