Boxing


Hopkins vs Taylor 2: Bernard Hopkins Conference Call Transcript

23.11.05 - On the line we have Bernard Hopkins. And I would like to turn the floor over to Ms. Kelly Swanson. KELLY SWANSON: Hello, everybody. Welcome back. Thank you for being patient. And as the operator, mentioned, we are on the call today with Bernard Hopkins as well as Oscar De La Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions, who is co-promoting the event with DiBella Entertainment.. Again, we have Taylor Hopkins II, No Respect December 3rd, but 12 days away at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, and available live on HBO Pay Per View beginning at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. At this time Iíd like to turn the call over to Oscar De La Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions.

OSCAR DE LA HOYA, PRESIDENT, GOLDEN BOY PROMOTIONS: Thank you very much, Kelly. Thank you very much to all the press who is listening. We greatly appreciate on behalf of Bernard Hopkins and myself.

This fight here is probably the most anticipated middleweight fight or any fight in the history of boxing. And the reason why is because the first fight was so controversial. To this date people are talking about how the fight was so controversial.

And to give you an indication on how well this fight is doing, tickets are going extremely well at the Mandalay Bay, which will be live from the Mandalay Bay December 3rd, live on HBO Pay Per View for the retail price of $49.95. Tickets start at $800, $600, $400, $200 and $100. The preview show we had on HBO right after the Floyd Mayweather fight on Saturday was the highest preview show ever in the history of boxing. So, thatís a great indication that this fight is very anticipated by the boxing fans.

And now let me turn over the mike to your champion, a legend in the sport of probably the best middleweight ever in the history, Bernard Hopkins.

BERNARD HOPKINS, BOXER: Iím glad everybodyís on. Iím willing and open to answer any questions.

OPERATOR: Thank you.

Once again, ladies and gentlemen, thatís star one on your touch-tone phone to ask a question.

Your first question is coming from William Trillo of Boxing2005.com.

WILLIAM TRILLO, BOXING2005.COM: Good day, Bernard. Itís a beautiful day in Southern California. How are you?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Hey, man, itís great. Great, man. Youíre not too far from me. Itís beautiful up here in Big Bear. It isnít snowing, so itís great.

WILLIAM TRILLO: I know, man. You couldnít be here at a more beautiful time.

Listen, obviously you know that Jermain just had a conference call before. And I hit him with the question Ė I was up speaking with you last week. I asked him about if he gets hurt and he turns around that youíre not going to pull no punches and he might get smacked in the back of the head. Jermainís response to that was, ďI give him 100 percent permission if I do that, to smack me in the back of the head.Ē I thought Iíd pass that along to you and get your comments on that.

BERNARD HOPKINS: I mean, if he turns his back I think the referee is going to make sure that he gets warned or maybe a point because thatís a sign of a retreat. He already has that type of mentality in him because he already showed it without being like prepped to even say what he would do the next time or not.

But I tell you this fight here is the most anticipated fight and itís going to be the most fight that people are going to remember for a long, long time. Iím glad to be the last chapter of a book thatís been open from the beginning and now is going to end this year with the boxing world waiting for the next year to come in for big fights from the boxing community or from the premiere fighters today.

So, Iím glad to end the year on this magnitude of the last pay per view fight of 2005, the most anticipated fight of 2005. And Iím glad to be a part of that and to let people know enjoy their holidays and then get ready for next year, because thereís a lot of great boxers that can carry the baton that goes through the remaining of the years to come.

So, whatever Jermain Taylor brings to the table Bernard Hopkins is going to make sure that it backfires on himself.

WILLIAM TRILLO: I tell you one of the things I asked Jermain what he was going to bring to the table Ė heís been saying that he learned a lot from his last fight and he learned a lot from his last fight. And I asked him, ďOK, we know you learned a lot. Whatís the most important lesson you learned?Ē And he said that he has no time to take any break. He canít take a round off. He canít relax at any point during the fight. He claims that when he did relax during that last fight thatís when the head butt ensued and thatís when the trouble started. So, this time there will be no relaxation on his behalf.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Well, thatís what he says now. Itís a difference between relaxing and getting tired and getting hit with right hands upside your head. I mean, Jermain Taylorís in very, very denial mentality right now. I mean, people are not stupid. People are smart. Theyíve been watching boxing. Thereís a difference between relaxing and breathing and holding and grabbing and turning your back. The man was tired.

I think people respect you more when you say, ďMan, Iím in there with Bernard Hopkins.Ē Itís not embarrassed to get tired. Bernard fights one round like the last four rounds. Heís going to be energized. Bernard never got tired in a fight.

So, itís not embarrassed. He thinks it is. He think heís got the Ė Iíve been hearing a lot of things about this guy. He donít have enough sense to understand that should he give a little credit to a 20 defense or 21 defense athlete that just happens to be a person that will go down in history as one of the top four or five middleweights of all time, donít I Ė shouldnít I get a little bit of respect from why he didnít do the things he did with William Joppy or any other person he fought that wasnít on my caliber? And thatís his downfall.

I hope he come in confident. I hope he come in not as nervous as he was. See, being nervous and being edgy and being new to the game of this magnitude of fight the first time that saves him. You know, uncontrolled energy in certain situations prevent certain situations from being knocked out.

So, Iím hoping he believes that Iím not a big puncher. I hope he believes that he can just go and do what he wants to do. And heís been there the first time, so itís going to be a walk in the park. Well, thatís great because heís already left something that made him survive. That got him through. Heís not intelligent to understand that.

So, Iím going to sit back and let him run his mouth and being an impersonator of who he thinks he is a champion and then let the world witness it December 3rd. December 3rd is definitely going to be the execution day and theyíre going to see Ė the worldís going to see me rectify the systemís problem. And then Jermain Taylor is going to beg for a rematch and he wonít get one. Thatís whatís going to be the deal, because Iím undefeated on rematches. They know my history. I destroy guys the second time around. What makes Jermain Taylor different?

WILLIAM TRILLO: I just like the Ö

BERNARD HOPKINS: I destroy Ė I destroy Ė I destroy guys with their careers is in limbo the second time. Donít believe me. Go on the computer and look up my jacket.

WILLIAM TRILLO: Like your last fight, Bernard, you laid out a game plan the first fight, you let everybody know, and you laid out a game plan this time. And weíre really looking forward to seeing that.

KELLY SWANSON: Thank you, William.

WILLIAM TRILLO: OK, take care.

KELLY SWANSON: Operator, letís move on, please.

OPERATOR: Thank you.

Your next question is coming from Kevin Iole of ďLas Vegas ReviewĒ.

KEVIN IOLE, ďLAS VEGAS REVIEWĒ: Hi, Bernard. How are you?

BERNARD HOPKINS: All right, Kevin. How you doing, man?

KEVIN IOLE: Good. I wasnít sure if we were on a William Trillo conference call or Bernard Hopkins call.

KELLY SWANSON: Sorry about that, Kev.

KEVIN IOLE: Hey, I wanted to ask you a couple questions.

Number one, why did you fire Bouie?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Who said I fired Bouie?

KEVIN IOLE: Bouie.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Where did you read that at?

KEVIN IOLE: Bernard, Fernandezís column in todayís paper.

BERNARD HOPKINS: No, I didnít. It doesnít say anything about firing Bouie in that paper. It donít have anything. I donít fire Ė why would I fire Ė I wouldnít even fire Bouie at all. I didnít fire Bouie at all. Iím in great hands with Nazim Richardson. And I donít believe the paper said I fired him.

KEVIN IOLE: Well, he said Ö

BERNARD HOPKINS: Unless Iím missing something, Kelly, the paper said I fire Bouie?

KELLY SWANSON: No, it didnít say that.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Wait a minute. You said something. I want to make sure we donít elaborate on it because itís about Jermain Taylor and Bernard Hopkins fight. Weíre going to get off this in seconds.

Did anything there say something about me firing him, Kelly?

KELLY SWANSON: No, I donít.

KEVIN IOLE: I was Ö

BERNARD HOPKINS: Kelly, did anything say about firing?

KELLY SWANSON: No, I did not read that.

BERNARD HOPKINS: OK. Can the next Ė can we talk about the Jermain Taylor fight?

KEVIN IOLE: This is about Jermain, Bernard, because Ö

BERNARD HOPKINS: No, no, no. Iím fighting Jermain Taylor and Jermain Taylor is fighting Bernard Hopkins. This isnít about Ė people are coming Ė you know, people are coming to see this fight December 3rd. Theyíre not coming to see Nazim Richardson fight, whoís the trainer, Bouie Fisher, Pat Burns, Lou DiBella. They come to see two athletes. And thatís not Ė and letís not depreciate the value of a big fight that boxing desperately needs. You understand?

I donít have no problem after December 3rd. We can talk all day long about any little thing you want to talk about and take a side if you want to take a side. Itís good journalism for some. But this fight cannot be watered down. It cannot be disrespected by any of the allegations or anything that nobody really know the true deal. I canít get into gossip. I canít get into none of that. I just want to be clear I didnít fire nobody. But I want to be clear that December 3rd is the fight that is on my mind. And thereís no other distractions or any other conversations thatís not dealing with that. Letís not disrespect this call.

This call Ė not that youíre trying to do this, but letís Ė and this is for anybody else thatís listening. This call is about Jermain Taylor and Bernard Hopkins, big super fight that boxing has been thirsty and desperately something to talk about like a rifle. And I think that we should respect that whether whoís wrong or right about any other incident or any other issues or allegations or rumors about anything. This is about Jermain.

One thing we know isnít a rumor. Come two weeks Bernard Hopkins and Jermain Taylor will set the record straight with No Respect at the Mandalay Bay. Thatís very important. And if we can Ė letís stick to whatís really important, and itís the fight, this Bernard Hopkins fight and Jermain Taylor or Jermain Taylor fighting Bernard Hopkins.

KEVIN IOLE: Well, Bernard, I appreciate your point of view. And I was Ö

BERNARD HOPKINS: Thank you, man. Thanks.

KEVIN IOLE: Ö asking about the fight because I feel like whoeverís training has an impact on the fight. And if Jermain fired Pat Burns donít you think that will be significant?

BERNARD HOPKINS: I think it will be significant if I had somebody that havenít been with me for over nine years. I think that itíd be significant if I had somebody with me that havenít been Ė that have been energized bunny in my camp, and thatís Nazim Richardson. I mean, I love Bouie like a father. And this fight is dedicated to Bouie. Bouie sent me at seven years old. It reminds me of the Eddie Fletcher (ph) situation when he hired Ė I canít remember the guyís name, but heís a trainer now, the African American guy, Phil Torrence.

Like a fighter, sometimes things happen and sometimes you have to do what you have to do, I mean, whether itís Bouie, whether itís me or with anybody else. But my energize and my trainer are physical attributes and also itís a reflection of Bouie, whoís been told Ė taught by many trainers out of Philadelphia. Iím in great hands. You Ė matter of fact, you will see a Bernard Hopkins that youíre going to be Ė you thought I looked young July 16th by not getting tired and finishing strong in the championship rounds, which most writers forgot about, the championships rounds, which is most important in 12 round fights of this magnitude.

You understand? Itís going to be a lot of questions as how great I look come December 3rd. And I am in great hands, had a great camp, and couldnít train at a better place. The weatherís nice. I didnít have to pack up for no storm. I didnít have to leave no hurricane. I didnít have to leave no floods. I didnít have to vacate to another city or state. Iíve been up here in this high altitude chopping wood in Oscarís facility. Itís been great here. Iím not going to let any negativity, anybody plant any distractions other than I got to execute Jermain Taylor December 3rd.

And then after that the press conference we can talk about anything if I got the time. I want to deal with my family because I havenít seen them in seven weeks. Then we can talk. But other than that, man, Iím not trying to be ignorant. Iím not trying to be sarcastic. But letís not take away from this great, great fight from a preview show after the Mayweather fight, done the highest ratings ever. That Ė to me, that shows that the world is interested and the world canít wait.

The boxing world canít wait to come to this fight. Youíre going to see the Michael Jordans of the world. Youíre going to see the rappers. Youíre going to see the actresses and the actors. Iím pretty sure nobodyís going to recognize other than people want to recognize that either Bouie or Dale heís not there, but they will recognize Bernard Hopkins when heís in that ring. They want to recognize me when Iím in that ring handling my business.

KEVIN IOLE: Bernard, I wish you good luck. I just want to make sure I did not say anything negative about Nazim. And I have respect for Nazim. And I just want to clear that up.

BERNARD HOPKINS: No problem, because I want to Ė because I donít want people to think Nazim Ė Iím glad you did that and I appreciate that, man. And we can talk our biggest about anything else after I take care of my business.

But Nazim is a world respected guy that havenít been out there. And Iím in great hands and heís been the energy in the gym for the last nine or 10 years that heís been with me. Heís been the guy holding the pads. Heís been the guy that looked at Trinidadís hands and say that his hands being taped illegally. Bouie got that credit, but we arenít caring about big you and small Is. But Nazim is not an ego fanatic, an ego freak. He kept his mouth shut. He didnít step out of there and stay like that. I got a lot of respect for him. Heís seen me since I was an amateur. Iím in great hands.

What they should worry about is that now that heís in a position to be able to add onto the house and tweak the engine Ė I say tweak the engine, not take the engine out. Itís going to be Ė December 3rd is going to be an eye opener. Theyíre going to look at my birth certificate after this fight.

KEVIN IOLE: Good luck.

KELLY SWANSON: Thanks, Kevin.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Thank you.

OPERATOR: Thank you.

Your next question is coming from Chuck Johnson of ďUSA TODAYĒ.

CHUCK JOHNSON, ďUSA TODAYĒ: How you doing, Bernard?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Hey, Chuck. How you doing, man?

CHUCK JOHNSON: All right. All right.

You had the title for such a long time, Bernard. I was just wondering how has it felt like Ė felt for you the past four months not having that title attached to Bernard Hopkinsí name?

BERNARD HOPKINS: You know, great question, but it doesnít Ė to me and my personality and knowing that if you can deal with victory you can deal with defeat. But when you honestly know Ė like any relationship that you was the person that done the right thing, then you canít look at yourself as being a failure.

And then when you got guys like Ė Iím going to put you on the spot Ė yourself and other media who witness the fight and say honestly, ďLook, man, Iím not a big fan of the hood and all that stuff, but I had you winning,Ē that makes it even better for me to be able to say to myself in the mirror Ė Iím not talking about asking my publicist and doing what Jermain is doing and getting prepped to be able to convince himself as months went on that maybe I am the champion because I happen to have the belts. No, just because you got the belts doesnít mean that you actually earned the belts. This is boxing.

I can look in the mirror honestly and honestly say with 90 percent of the people in the world that witnessed the fight, boxing fans hard-core or not hard-core, can say, ďMan, Iím a Jermain Taylor fan, but your bull got robbed.Ē

So, itís Ė to me, I donít need a situation of having trophies to justify whether Iím a champion or not. See, I think because of the situation I became more of a peopleís champion. The belts is for the popping glitter and the show. But when youíve been a fighter like Bernard Hopkins who battle any topic whether itís politically correct or not, get respect for at least standing up, for all the things that Iíve stood up for, people get to saying to themselves, ďWait a minute, he wasnít as paranoid as he was saying. He knew they was out to get him.Ē That sort of made me a Ė that sort of made me into some people Ė like somebody that predicts something and was adamant about it and it happened in front of the worldís eye.

And now the boomerang effect was people embrace more. People are interested in my story more now. And theyíre more eager now for me to get him back. As they will say to me, ďYou got to get him back. You got to get him back,Ē whether Iím in New York, whether Iím in Philadelphia, whether Iím in Vegas, whether Iím in Ė anywhere I go and Iím recognized, which is a lot now, to be honest with you, is that they remember. ďYou got to get him this time.Ē ďWell, I got him last time.Ē ďI know you did, but you got to make sure you get him this time and not leave it up to the judges.Ē

Because people listened to me for years and years and people listened to other people for years and years about me and about my character and about this and about that. And then they see it as he is growing and manifests in front of them. The question comes back three, four, five years ago thatís not even physically related to anything else in the ring, but it leads to my history and what will be said about me when Iím gone. Itís not only that I had 20 defenses or 21 or 22 defenses. And not only had the belt for over 10 years, but it will be other things that will be documented attached to that. And that will be the things that have happened and that Iíve done outside the ring.

When they mention Muhammad Ali they just donít mention his fight game. They mention the war. They mention that at that time in the Ď60s he became a Muslim, which is Ė which was another strike against you. So, I mean, Bill Russell Ė he has a legacy of it in bouncing a basketball. Jim Brown he has another legacy without giving the ball and running through the line. Only a few athletes can come across in certain times of decades and centuries to be able to have something else other than being a good athlete attached to them. Everybody canít say that, man.

And Iím not saying it now. Iím just saying when itís all said and done Iím pretty sure the conversation about Bernard Hopkins wonít just be about the 20 defenses he has.

CHUCK JOHNSON: Strategically speaking, Bernard, whatís going to be different this time for you in this fight?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Whatís going to be different to Jermain Taylor or whatís going to be different Ö

CHUCK JOHNSON: No. No, as Ö

BERNARD HOPKINS: Ö with me?

CHUCK JOHNSON: Ö far as your strategy and what you plan to do covering this fight?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Well, a strategy isnít a strategy if you unveil it. Hannibal didnít tell the Italian people he was coming through the ocean on his Ö

CHUCK JOHNSON: OK. So, you have strategy, but youíre not Ė you donít plan to unveil it?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Well, who unveils their strategy?

CHUCK JOHNSON: No, I got you. I got you.

BERNARD HOPKINS: I mean, thatís wrong, man. I just donít understand why people Ė not to get on you, brother, but let me tell you something. When people Ė anybody on this phone can be in this conversation of what is your strategy. I tell you what, without saying thereís a strategy I know one strategy better not be once you go through the scorecards.

Based on if I got any other blueprint to use, but with the judge and what the scoring was at least for the last round that was the outcome of us even fighting again. I know one thing, that it shouldnít be even a secret that I must execute. Bottom line, I must execute. I must execute.

CHUCK JOHNSON: Well, let me Ö

BERNARD HOPKINS: I donít want to have to go in a Ė I would Ė I donít want to have to go in a ring knowing in the back of my mind Ė and I donít think any fighter should, but it is what it is.

CHUCK JOHNSON: Well, let me ask this, Bernard. Jermain says that he thinks Ė Taylor says he thinks you brought your A game last fight. Was that your A game?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Was that my A game?

CHUCK JOHNSON: Yes. I mean, were you at the top of Ė did you do what you planned to do in that fight in terms of what you set out to do?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Yes. I was the matador. Were you at the press conference in Vegas?

CHUCK JOHNSON: Yes.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Did you see when I had the towel and I had Oscar and he had the horns?

CHUCK JOHNSON: Yes.

BERNARD HOPKINS: All right. Hold on, man, you asked me Ė now, you gave me a slow ball in the major league now.

CHUCK JOHNSON: I got you.

BERNARD HOPKINS: And I got everybody on bases calling a grand slam right out the park, right.

CHUCK JOHNSON: OK.

BERNARD HOPKINS: All right.

When I was up on the podium you see me with a towel in my hand.

CHUCK JOHNSON: Right.

BERNARD HOPKINS: You know what I revealed to you all? You know what a matador do? You ever see the matador and the bull? Whenís the last time you ever see the matador be aggressive and run toward the bull? Donít the bull normally runs the matador? Well, thatís what I told you all.

My plan was the absolutely plan that was carried out. The matador versus the bull. The young bull is going to come out. He even got the trademark of a bull. He wipes his feet on the canvas. Didnít you see the bull flaming out his nose and he takes his feet and heís ready to charge?

CHUCK JOHNSON: Yes.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Yes. I know. See, I know. Iím going to keep on explaining to you.

So, the bull continue to charge and charge and charge until the bull got tired. When the bull got tired the execution voltage was short. Stayed there in 300 volts. I gave 150 volts and it wasnít enough. So, I will execute him this time.

CHUCK JOHNSON: OK. And Ö

BERNARD HOPKINS: The first fight was the matador and the bull. And you canít Ė and nobody out there cannot say, ďWell, Bernard, youíre saying that now, but you didnít say that then. You said you were going to do this, you were going to do that.Ē I said itís going to be the matador and the bull. And anybody who know the strategy of a matador itís to wear the bull out, tire the bull out, and then kill the bull.

CHUCK JOHNSON: Well, you definitely said that. But what Iím asking, Bernard, is this time around Ė I mean, OK, you mentioned about the matador and the bull. Was that strategy effective?

BERNARD HOPKINS: The matador and the bull Ö

CHUCK JOHNSON: Is that the same thing?

BERNARD HOPKINS: The Ö

CHUCK JOHNSON: Is that the same thing weíre going to see?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Hell no.

CHUCK JOHNSON: OK.

BERNARD HOPKINS: If the matador and the bull come out this time I might as well pack up and leave now because Iím not going to get show (ph).

CHUCK JOHNSON: Right. OK. Appreciate it, Bernard.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Thanks.

KELLY SWANSON: OK.

OPERATOR: Thank you.

Your next question is coming from Robert Morales of ďLos Angeles NewsĒ.

ROBERT MORALES, ďLOS ANGELES NEWSĒ: Hey, Bernard, how you doing, man?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Iím doing all right.

ROBERT MORALES: Hey, you know, I had a long talk with Brother Nazim the other day when we were up in Big Bear.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Yes, heís right here. Yes.

ROBERT MORALES: And he Ė how you doing, Brother Nazim.

BERNARD HOPKINS: He said how you doing?

ROBERT MORALES: All right, man.

He mentioned something. And, of course, as you know, I had you winning the fight 116-112, so personally I donít really think you needed to change anything. But as Brother Nazim pointed out, he says is Mario Andretti goes around the track and heís a second off is he going to re-haul everything. And I thought that was a pretty profound statement.

Do you really think that you really need to make any changes at all or just go out there and be Bernard Hopkins?

BERNARD HOPKINS: I need to be Bernard Hopkins. I need to be Bernard Hopkins. The only thing need to be changed is when you get Jermain Taylor hurt itís easy to raise your hand in victory without any speculations of wrongdoing when the guyís snoring on his back. I mean, you know and everybody on this phone call know thatís the easy way Ė the easy way Ė to know a clear victory.

The only thing about that tweak, like Mario Andretti like he said about the race car, my Brother Nazim, you donít overhaul the engine. You just tweak it a little bit. Well, thatís the only thing thatís missing that I didnít do the second fight. And Iím not going to change my game.

See, they want to send a subliminal message certain writers or certain people, and Iím not saying theyíre wrong about this. But they mentally try to think that Iím going to feed into it and fight a different fight that work in Jermain Taylorís best interests. But Iím going to do the same thing that was so easy for me to last time, but when I get him hurt, and this is a quote, when he gets hurt because heís going to get hurt Ė he says he wasnít. Told everybody probably on this phone, ďHe never hurt me. He never hurt me.Ē He hasnít watched the tape yet. When I get him hurt heís going out. Thatís the only thing that need to be tweaked. Thatís that engine. Thatís that engine about tweaking and the little things here and there. Thatís that tweaking that Brother Nazim was talking about. Thatís the tweaking.

When I get him hurt, whatever round, Jermain Taylorís going to be finished. The fightís over.

ROBERT MORALES: Bernard, can I ask you one question about Brother Nazimís son, Rock Allen?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Yes, heís here too.

ROBERT MORALES: You know, I interviewed Rock for about 15 minutes after we got done with you the other day. And he talked about how youíve been kind of like a mentor, you and a couple other guys. And, of course, Rock is from Philadelphia, but he hasnít been running the streets. What are some of the things of someone who did run the streets as well as Brother Nazim Ė what are some of the things that you have told him to kind of make sure that he doesnít get involved in the wrong situation?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Not only him, but my nephew that you met also, Demetrius Hopkins. Heís fighting on the card, I believe, for the USBA championship December 3rd. He and Rock Ė and I can name a couple of them, but let me deal with Rock.

I let them know by my experience thatís the best credibility that I have with young adults. And once I open my mouth my credibility speaks for itself because they know where I came from. And I let them know that itís like one bad move. Itís like playing chess. One bad move the chess game is over. One bad move in your life decisions your careerís over. In the worst case scenario, the very worst case scenario, your life can be over.

And I continue to say that. But the most important thing Iíve said it Ė now theyíre going to watch who said it and see if they walk the same path, do the same thing. We get up 5:30 in the morning and itís freezing cold here in Big Bear. Guess whoís running beside me? Rock Allen. I got to keep up with him. That helps me to keep up with anybody else thatís in the ring that got to keep up with me. I let them know what I experienced so they wonít have to experience it. And when he trained with me heís probably with been packy (ph).

And, let me tell you something, man, when they look at Bernard Hopkins I inspire fighters from afar thatís in my presence, whether itís Andre Ward calling me constantly, whether Zab Judah, whether itís Rock Allen, because others can say things about you that might not be as nice as what they know about you, but when they see the success of what I stood and what Iíve stood up for and what Iíve done in my personal life itís very hard to convert a person to think different about you when they see different. Itís very hard. Iím not saying itís not possible, but itís very hard to take something thatís in your face thatís what it is from someone else that want to make it something else. And thatís why it keeps me on my game and it keeps me focused, because I know that Rock is watching Bernard Hopkins.

Heís watching the way I train. Heís watching what I eat. He know I donít drink. I donít like alcohol in my food when they cook it.

So, these things that he learned when years go by and I got to be sitting ringside watching him fight, I played Ė not asking for anything. Donít owe me anything. But if I played a small fraction of his success years from now, then it was a job well done. And thatís what I try to tell everybody I come across through. That experience Ė decisions have to be made positively and correctly.

ROBERT MORALES: Hey, I appreciate that, man.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Thanks.

ROBERT MORALES: Hey, one just last thing real quickly. The story that was referred to earlier just mentioned that there were many issues between you and Bouie. Is that something you will discuss after the fight, Bernard?

BERNARD HOPKINS: No.

ROBERT MORALES: I know you donít want to talk about it now, so I donít want to Ö

BERNARD HOPKINS: No problem.

ROBERT MORALES: Ö bring up the Ö

BERNARD HOPKINS: No problem. No problem.

ROBERT MORALES: All right. Thanks, man.

BERNARD HOPKINS: No problem.

OPERATOR: Thank you.

Your next question is coming from Bernard Fernandez of ďPhiladelphia Daily NewsĒ.

BERNARD FERNANDEZ, ďPHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWSĒ: Hey, Bernard.

BERNARD HOPKINS: All right. How you doing, Bernard?

BERNARD FERNANDEZ: Obviously people refer to this fight as reasonably close. And one thing that both you and Jermain Taylor are saying is that youíve got to put exclamation points to it. Heís saying that if he doesnít knock you out heís going to win every round. Youíre saying youíre going to knock him out. Obviously the whole thing Ė the whole issue of judges and scoring and that sort of thing you both want to take that out of the equation and, like I said, put an exclamation point. How much does that affect the respect to strategies that Ė does that mean that youíre going to have to come out faster and assert yourself earlier?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Well, I think that Jermain Taylor saying that is kind of like contradicting when he got the gift, when he got the fight. I think Ė Jermain Taylor know that the only thing he has to do is not get knocked down and heíll win. Heís trying to put himself at my level, but then again you can look at it another way and say that, no, he didnít win.

Well, you can look at the fight tape and look at his demeanor and you look at him wanting a rematch. As soon as the fight was over and the idiot didnít understand that he won the fight.

So, to me itís very contradictive of say he cannot leave it up to the judge when in fact the judge helped him. The situation helped him be where heís at today.

And, see, as far as Iím concerned heís an ungrateful human being. Here I give him an opportunity, then to have to fight him, couldíve fought Manny, Moe and Jack and went on about my business. But since he was the only middleweight of curiosity or danger, you might say, or a threat, they would say, and he was HBOís or whoever air appearing, then fine. Bernard has never ducked nobody. I give you an opportunity to make millions for your family. But instead you forgot about that.

And so, now Iíve got to spank you. So, it isnít Jermain Taylor who has to do this and do this. The man donít know Ė the man is confused and donít know that Ė well, he do know. Heís telling the truth indirectly because he Ė well, I got to knock him out. I canít leave it up to the judges, because he knows he didnít win. When youíve got to walk the street of Arkansas and you got to go to New York and get booed at a fight crowd when they say the new undisputed champion Ė and this is real factual stuff Ė get booed everywhere he goes, and then Ė Iíd be upset too, Bernard.

Iíll be saying this is what youíre saying right now that he said. I got to do this because he has a character and a heart coming to being an athlete. We all have that. And you Ė see, no, you donít deserve anything, especially in this situation. You want to rectify it. You want to come with your aim game next time. So, youíd better tell them, ďSee, I told you I can get him,Ē and clean it up. Iím expecting him to think that way. Iím expecting him to try to fight that way.

Great. Buckle up, because the world is going to see one of a hell of a fight because it lives up to everybody what theyíre talking about because I damned sure canít fight by myself. Donít make me look like a bully, Jermain. People call me that. But donít make me look like a bully. Itís easy Ė if I can talk a fight Iíd be 100 and oh. Iíd have 100 wins and no losses and 100 knockouts. But, unfortunately, youíve got to fight in this business.

So, whatever Jermain Taylor says is fine. Iím going to the ring knowing that Iím defending for the twenty-second time. Iím not in denial. As far as Iím concerned Iím defending the peoplesí belt because thatís what they named me, the peoplesí champion. So, Iím not going in there. He can go first in the right. He can go second. He can do the first press conference on the phone. I can do the second or third. He can carry a promotion if he know how. Let him do all this.

Enjoy your 90 days in the sun. Youíre going to make history. Youíre going to make history like Rock Myer (ph) did with Linux Lewis (ph) the second time. Youíre going to make history like Leon Spinx did with Mohammad Ali Get ready for history, Jermain Taylor, because youíre going to make history. You had your 90 days. Itís up. Iím coming to get your car, coming to repossess your car. Time is up.

BERNARD FERNANDEZ: OK, thanks.

OPERATOR: Thank you.

Your next question is coming from Ant Evans (ph) of ďSecond BoutĒ.

ANT EVANS (ph), ďSECOND BOUTĒ: Hey, Bernard.

BERNARD HOPKINS: How you doing ?

ANT EVANS (ph): Good.

You talked a lot about how you gained on Jermain, how (ph) you were piling on those right hands in the later rounds. But what I wanted to ask you was how badly hurt were you in the second round when you kind of went against the ropes?

BERNARD HOPKINS: I wasnít hurt at all. I mean, I donít know if you watched the tape at all. The thing was off balance. I think my foot got tangled up and it was forearm or a half punch or a half forearm back of the neck. And I went up against the ropes and spinned on the ropes and then the fight started. But I never got hurt in that fight. And I think that if anybody watched the fight realized that I never got hurt.

Now, I donít think I ever got hit decently enough for Jermain Taylor. He couldnít touch me. He couldnít touch me with a half full right, man. But I donít think Jermain Taylor honestly that he think people who have TVs can say he never was hurt when I was fighting him.

But, no, I was in totally control of every situation other than our feet tangling up in an exchange and half his forehand or his left hand or right hand Ö

ANT EVANS (ph): Yes, itís the right hand.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Ö yes, caught the back of my hand or the back of my neck or the back of my head. But I was absolutely Ė matter of fact, I think the fight started immediately after that. I think I spinned off the ropes and next thing you know we go on about our business fighting. But never staggered, never stayed against the rope. Matter of fact, I donít think Jermain Taylor got that close to me to do damage right after the stumble against the ropes.

ANT EVANS (ph): When you really start you taking it through him in the last four rounds, obviously the way they Ė Taylor spins it Ö

BERNARD HOPKINS: I think four rounds might be all right with you, but I think it started in round six or seventh to eighth. I think in between there was rounds leading up to that, definitely not the last four rounds.

ANT EVANS (ph): Sure. OK. Then well just to say the second half of the fight when you really start your piling on the pressure Ö

BERNARD HOPKINS: I think itís best to say the championship rounds of the fight?

ANT EVANS (ph): Well, thatís the last two rounds, but if you want to say the second half thatís cool with me. But the Ö

BERNARD HOPKINS: OK.

ANT EVANS (ph): Ö way theyíre kind of trying to spin it is that you did so little in the early part of the round and thatís why you had more energy. Whatís your kind of take on it?

BERNARD HOPKINS: I did less than the earlier rounds because I wanted more energy?

ANT EVANS (ph): Yes. Theyíre saying the reason a 40-year-old had more energy than a 26-year-old is because the 40-year-old wasnít doing that much early on.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Well, why wouldnít a young guy make me do more? I understand your question, but I canít understand the response they want from me. Itís not confusion. Itís telling me the reason I didnít fight the first four, five or six rounds is because I wouldnít have the energy to fight in the later rounds, OK. If thatís the case, then why did the young guy thatís 14 years younger just track this senior citizen down and whip my ass?

I mean, Iím kind of Ė I almost sound confused. Iím just trying to see what this leads to. I mean, Iím old. I am 40. Starting an engine takes a while to start up. But heís 26 and youíre telling me that you let a senior citizen in boxing avoid you for half of the fight and that would make me have energy. Well, then my strategy worked then.

ANT EVANS (ph): Well, I guess so. Donít shoot the messenger, but Iím just telling you what Ö

BERNARD HOPKINS: No, Iím not Ė I think I just knocked that out the ballpark. It doesnít make sense to me. I mean, youíre so young and youíre so energized, heís got so much juice. You canít Ė and weíre not fighting in a football field. We happen to be fighting in a 16 bout ring. So, you canít go out the door. Isnít no backdoor to go out and come back in the ring. It isnít wrestling.

So, it isnít my fault that this young lion, strong and quick and a great drag (ph) that I took from him. I broke him down, man. The matador. Didnít I tell you about I was the matador the last fight versus the bull? I gave you all the blueprint. I canít give it to you now, but I gave it to you then. And he still didnít get it.

So, I got to keep reminding you all that the first fight was just the way it was planned to be, the matador with the bull. The bull will get tired trying to catch the matador swinging wild, turning his back, looking amateurish, getting popped with right hands, getting popped with left hands, getting staggered, holding, turning his back, already exposed that it doesnít look for him in the second fight.

See, if this conversation would be about, ďBernard, you got knocked out. Why are you taking this fight? Youíre 40-years-old. The young guy just overpowers you with youth, speed and energy,Ē you all canít say that on this phone. Everybody thatís listening cannot say that on this phone. Then this will be what you call a denial situation Iíll be talking about. But you all didnít see that. You all didnít see me become old. You all didnít see me tired like Jermain was holding on and grabbing.

So, that Ė out of the window that promotion of the first fight is out of the window about this old stuff, old versus new. Now the topic is the reason I couldnít Ė the reason he survived is heís so old he donít fight the first five rounds so he has energy in the last round. Like thatís Ė well, do something about it then.

Your question to Jermain Taylor is what youíre going to do. OK, do something about it then. Well, Iím going to make him fight this time. OK. I bet you, you wonít.

ANT EVANS (ph): OK.

BERNARD HOPKINS: I bet heís going to try to preserve himself because he donít have the gas tank. He donít have the gas tank. Heís a heavy arm swinger that if he donít connect heís going to get tired. Heís like a upgraded Rile Lyles (ph), heavy handed, but if he canít hit you and the fight goes into the deep water heís looking for the rafters. Heís looking for the rafters, man. I got this guyís blueprint. I know everything about Jermain Taylor. I got this guy down pat. Heís a frontrunner.

So, let the bull ride off some steam. Iím not changing anything. It was a call 20, 25 minutes about anything different. No, other than knocking him out. Iím not going to say my strategy was perfect. When you get to grabbing and you get to holding, buckle up. Thatís all I got to say to you. Buckle up and watch him go down. Timber.

ANT EVANS (ph): OK. One final question because I really donít want to be disrespectful. But just could you clarify Ö

BERNARD HOPKINS: Hold up. If you really want to be disrespectful, then donít ask questions because you canít warn me first that itís going to be something that might be disrespectful, even if itís a thought of something disrespectful. Donít even say it.

ANT EVANS (ph): OK.

BERNARD HOPKINS: But I appreciate you giving me the warning. But when you use the word ďsomething disrespectfulĒ and pre warn me, then I advise you donít even say it then. Just go on to another question. Basically just say, ďOK, thanks, Bernard, and Iíll see you in Vegas, man. Have a good day.Ē

ANT EVANS (ph): No. I missed the first part of the call. I just wanted to know if you addressed the whole Bouie situation.

KELLY SWANSON: OK. He already addressed that. So, weíll go onto the next question, please.

OPERATOR: Thank you.

Your next question is coming from Chris Givens of ďArkansas DemocratĒ.

CHRIS GIVENS, ďARKANSAS DEMOCRATĒ: Hi, Bernard. Thanks for taking the time for this call with us.

BERNARD HOPKINS: No problem. How the Razorbacks doing out there?

CHRIS GIVENS: Not so good.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Yes? Well, get used to it. December 30 wonít be so good either.

CHRIS GIVENS: Wanted to try to reconcile something Ė a couple things you said during this call. Earlier you asked about Ė and you just mentioned that your strategy and ďUSA TODAYĒ asked if the matador and the bull was coming back out. And you said, ďHell no. If that happens I might as well pack it in because I wonít get the decision.Ē But then you say youíre really not going to Ė youíre just going to tweak your strategy a little bit. So, I guess what Iím trying to understand is if your strategy from last time you said, ďHell no, wonít come out,Ē but then youíre just going to tweak it a little bit.

BERNARD HOPKINS: The tweak is Iím not going to take a chance on letting the judges beat Bernard Hopkins like they did the first time. Thatís the tweaking. If you add that into the strategy thatís why I didnít say this or didnít say that. And you might say it was contradicting or this or that, that I gave it up, then I didnít give it up. It goes back to that engine. It goes back to Nazim Richardson making a statement that was so profound about Mario Andretti, about the racetrack driver. You donít take that Ė overhaul the engine. You tweak this and you tweak that. And I just told you the tweaking is thereís no secret.

I know what Iím going in that right what I know now, about a blueprint of July 16th. And Jermain Taylor must get beat up and must get knocked out. That Ė Iím being honest with you. It might seem cocky, but I believe I canít win unless that happens. That just Ė Iím not the only fighter in the world who havenít made that statement if youíve been following boxing. Iím not the only fighter in the world that ever made a bold and profound statement that way. I had made that statement with the other fights, and I prevailed, one that was Trinidad, one that was Oscar De La Hoya, my partner, one with a few other people in my career that I remember when the stakes were high. And I knew what situation I was at.

So, thatís no secret what I know what I got to do. Jermain Taylor obviously donít feel that way because he got a gift the first time. But I happen to be in a different situation, fortunately or unfortunately, where I feel that I can say what I just said without any excuses of fairness. Iím being honest and Iím being straight up how I feel. I shouldnít feel this way. I should feel like if I go in the ring Ė and most people think I won. Most writers believe I won thatís credible thatís well-known writers thatís been watching fights for years. But one person says no or two persons says no, then Iím not going to apologize for thinking like this. I know now Ė going back in that situation I know now what Iím up against.

This time Iím prepared. Iím prepared this particular time. See, I know going in what it is.

CHRIS GIVENS: OK. And the next thing Ė and I certainly understand and respect your desire to keep all the attention on the fight and whatís happening in the ring, which I agree with your stance on that. So, my question is in regards to specifically in the ring.

Bouie has mentioned that he believed that you did not follow his instruction the last time. This is in the column that was out today by Mr. Fernandez. He said that you did not follow his instruction in the last fight. Thatís the reason that you lost, that you believe you could just show up and knock that kid out. Do you agree with that statement? And was that your intention just to show up and knock him out?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Well, to show up means that Ė I donít know what definition is behind that. I mean, you can wake up out of bed Ė Iím a proís pro. Just show up Ė I never underestimate nobody. And if I underestimated anybody Jermain Taylor would have beat Bernard Hopkins.

So, just to show up and think youíre going to knock Ė I trained hard for that fight. God knows just like in his fight up in Big Bear up in this high altitude, I trained very hard. Thatís never been a question about me and my heart and my trainer ethics.

I donít take anybody lightly, man. I would have stayed home in Delaware if I walked in there and thought that I Ė Jermain Taylor is a threat to anybody. Any fighter that steps in this right, man, can take your life in that right, just like I can take his. Iím going to prepare myself mentally and physically that kept me in this game so long not to underestimate nobody, to not think that way. But I canít stop somebody elseís opinion for thinking what they think. Itís just Ė if thatís Ė Iím not going to entertain that.

Iím just going to say that when Jermain Taylor falls I just hope that the people thatís listening on this phone give Brother Nazim, whoís been with me who got lost in this shuffle in this camp because heís a guy thatís been sort of 50 to 60 percent of this strategy. Heís been the youth of this thing. He holds the pads. He holds the bags. He comes up with the movements. Bouieís 70-years-old. He canít hold pads or itíll knock his arm off.

I just hope that they donít shy away from giving the man that. Been with me just as long as anybody else. Give him his pops, especially when you see this Bernard Hopkins December 3rd. Thatís all Iím asking for, because I canít win it by myself. Everything is a team and a team effort. And my team is here other than Bouie Fisher. This fight is for Bouie. Nothingís going to change. I have no ill wills with Bouie. Bouieís a millionaire because of me, a multimillionaire because of me Ė multimillionaire.

December 3rd is going to be one of the best performance I put on close to the Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya fights.

CHRIS GIVENS: Bernard, thereís the last question I have for you. Before the last fight, especially in Vegas, a lot of talk was on your legacy and a lot was on what you had done in the past. It seems like youíre directing a lot of attention this time onto specifically Jermain Taylor. Is there more emotion directed towards Jermain this fight than last fight simply because of the situation with what happened on July 16th than perhaps there was before?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Yes and no. This fight here Ė and itís a good question. This fight here is controlled emotions, because emotions can get you killed. Emotions can get you life in the penitentiary. Emotions can make you make reckless decisions.

So, itís not emotional motivation. Itís a situation that I exposed for many years. Now that I exposed the irrepeat (ph) behavior of the system, thereís two people, two entities, that will lose December 3rd.

Some of the system thatís not in core with the modern day world of the old day of boxing politics should be long gone from the game to build credibility back up. The major sponsors and the major ABCs and the Wide World of Sports of yesterday have abandoned boxing for reasons of good for their sake. Iím going to knock out two people or two entities that night.

So, this is a motivation of Bernard Hopkins again taking on the big powers of system. What else been different in my career other than that, if youíve been following me? If youíre Johnny By Late coming on now, then you donít have no idea what Iím talking about. But thatís one thing that most people in this phone understand that follow me. Theyíre really honest about themselves. Bernard Hopkins as the guy, the champion, the fight July 16th that they watched at best a robbery would have been a draw. A rape was to give it to Jermain Taylor.

I honestly believe that a great percentage of the people on the phone waiting to talk to me right now, my fans or not, like me or not, theyíre honest with themselves. They know that Iím accurate about this statement. So, now that thatís over with and now that it is what it is and itís two weeks and counting or less than two weeks and counting and Jermain Taylor had his day with the formal president, has his day with this and teamed up with a fake Elvis because heís a fake champion Ė so you got two fake people understand each other demeanors or personalities.

So, now that he had his fun, OK, now itís time to get back to reality. And theyíll find a way to try to downplay his demise. They will say heís young again and itís a great experience. But Iím prepared for that because it isnít going to mean nothing. Action speaks louder than words.

Iím undefeated in rematches. Roy Jones didnít fight me again for a reason. And Iím not picking on Roy. Heís my friend now. We got mad respect for each other now. Roy understood. Heís a smart man. I want to go back to that land field again. Do you think Pat Burns and them want to take this fight again back to back? Theyíd rather fight Manny, Moe and Jack. He said it at the last press conference. Heíd rather fight Joe or somebody in Baton Rouge, Louisiana somewhere. Do you want to walk through that land field again? And Iíll take four fights out of this guy. Sit back and watch, Arkansas.

So your Razorbacks arenít doing too good? Itís not a bad sign. Itís not a good sign Ė excuse me. Itís not a good sign.

CHRIS GIVENS: Well, I donít think that one has too whole lot to do with the other, but I appreciate your Ö

BERNARD HOPKINS: It has a lot to do with the other. Sports teams.

KELLY SWANSON: Next question.

CHRIS GIVENS: Good luck, Jermain Ė thank Ė Bernard. Thank you.

OPERATOR: Thank you.

Your next question is coming from Marc Abrams of 15rounds.com.

MARC ABRAMS, 15ROUNDS.COM: Hey, Bernard.

Heís gone on record. He said that you have no speed, no power. Not so much your comments to that thing. How would you assess his speed and his power?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Well, he sure let me hit him as much as I can. As far as my speed, well, I guess Iíve done enough to survive whatever he was throwing at me the first fight. So, I have no speed and I have now power. Then how did I outpoint him on a copy box that they put up there in HBO after the fight? How did I out Ė does this man have a TV or heís one of them Amish people that donít have TVs or electric? And Iím not picking on Amish. I mean, some of them Ė they are Ė some are converting to Americanize. But does this guy actually understand that when they did a copy box up there and they say who threw so many punches, who outlanded? I mean, I donít know if he Ė I donít know if this guy looks at Ė I didnít make the stats up.

Iím surprised he didnít tell you I can fight. Matter of fact, I canít do anything. Just say heís right. What the hell with it. Why entertain that ignorance? I got here because of my looks.

MARC ABRAMS: How would you assess his speed and his power as compared to some of the Ö

BERNARD HOPKINS: Average. Average.

Iím telling you, the hardest punch I fought was Antwon Echols, man. Iím telling you, man. And I fought him twice. The hardest punch I fought was Antwon Echols. Jermain Taylorís an arm puncher. Heís a clobbing puncher, sort of like Foreman was. Heís not a sharp, snappy puncher. Iíve been in all kinds of styles and seen them all. I donít know everything about boxing, but I know more than what people might give me credit for. I donít see anything spectacular, not excluding that he donít have talent. But I donít see anything spectacular. Maybe boxing is so much on the downside right now that weíre gravitating and grabbing anything that we can that looks like they have a little bit of something different.

He doesnít do anything that I havenít seen in my 18 plus year career, to be frank with you, honestly. And thatís giving him respect. Iíve seen it all. Iíve been in there with the best. Iíve been with Roy Jones, Jr. early in his career. Iíve been in there with the Trinidads, the Oscar De La Hoyas, the Robert Allens, the John David Jacksons, the Segundo Mercados, the Ė I mean, I could name a few other good names that you might remember of old. I just happen to be a senior citizen, so itís like Iím going way back 20 years from now. But Iíve seen it all. So, I mean, itís nothing that Iím in awe about.

KELLY SWANSON: OK. You all set, sir?

MARC ABRAMS: Yes, thank you. Good luck, Bernard.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Thank you.

KELLY SWANSON: OK.

OPERATOR: Thank you.

Iíd like to turn back the floor to Kelly Swanson for any closing remarks.

KELLY SWANSON: OK. Bernard, do you want to say anything else or weíre good to go?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Iím fine.

KELLY SWANSON: Thank you, everybody, for participating. And we will see you next week at the site. Thank you.

Bye-bye. Thank you, Oscar, if youíre still on. Bye-bye. Bye, Bernard.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Bye.

KELLY SWANSON: Thanks.

OPERATOR: Thank you.

This does conclude todayís conference call. Please disconnect your lines at this time, and have a wonderful day.

Article posted on 24.11.2005



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