For the last five years, every Bernard Hopkins bout has been viewed as a potential “retirement fight.” You had a 40-something Hopkins who we all expected at some point to “get old” in the ring. Although he showed signs that the end is near in losses to Joe Calzaghe and Chad Dawson, the Executioner was “right more than he was wrong,” as evidenced by definitive victories over the likes of Kelly Pavlik and Jean Pascal.
That brings us to this Saturday night, where Hopkins dares to test fate yet again when he steps in the ring with a slugger 18 years his junior in IBF light-heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud. Promoted by Don King, Hopkins has the distinction of running through every top middlweight King had in the late 90s-early 2000s, the most famous scalp being that of Felix Trinidad. Read why this time it’s not just Cloud, but Don King’s head that Hopkins is gunning for.
How to Continue Training at Age 48 Without “Leaving It All in the Gym”
That’s a great question because I see it happen to young fighters a lot who aren’t acumstomed to keepignt hat focus between major fights. I look at it the same as if I was an entertainer. If I was a rapper, I’d try to stay in the booth as much as I can. I try to keep that same mentality even at the highest or lowest. If you train yourself that way early and know how beneficial that is later on, you will be one of those guys that stay around and relevant when most aren’t anymore.
It would’ve been too late if I got that mentality 5-10 years ago. I conditioned myself early on in my career to have that mentality. What may be hard for others, which I can understand to a point, is very easy to me. I love staying in shape and working out, looking good in my clothes. I’m proud of the discipline it takes. This is how I make a living.
Why Tavoris Cloud Was Picked and Removing Don King From Boxing
He (Cloud) reminds me of a young rapper that’s good coming at Jay-Z saying he’s better. He figures I ought to be out and it’s his time. I’m sure a lot of entertainers can relate to that. So seeing a guy that I think is credible, having beaten everyone put in his path, it’s a whole ‘nother thing to do it at this level where you want to fight the Bernard Hopkins of the world.
What motivated more than Cloud and the title was Don King. He’s always been a motivation since my early career when I made a great living beating his fighters up to when I beat Felix Trinidad after 9/11. It might be shocking that I’m talking about Don. I’m saying it to make you understand that I have a chance to do what Cloud is trying to do to me, and that’s retire Don King by beating Cloud.
What do I mean? Name five top fighters Don has that you would pay to see. I’m sorry that’s not fair, name three. You can’t. I sat back and did some thinking. I don’t sound like a punch-drunk fighter to you — I’ve had over 70 fights since 1988 fresh out of the penitentiary. That’s a testimony to my lifestyle and my genetics, my ancestors. I look at everything logically. I never thought I’d have a chance to retire one of the most influential promoters in boxing history.
Love him or hate him, only in America with the same jacket for the last 30 years. I get the chance to retire Don King by beating the only horse (Tavoris Cloud) he has left to ride. I said it at the press conference. I’m saying it right now that I get the opportunity to retire one of the greatest promoters of many generations before me. Who would have ever thought? A bullet didn’t do it. A bad steak at a dinner didn’t do it. A car crash didn’t do it. I am undefeated against Don King fighters and there’s 15 of them, from William Joppy to Simon Brown.
How many athletes or entertainers get a chance to break their own record? [Writer's Note: Hopkins established a record as the oldest fighter ever to win a major title in 2011 when he defeated Jean Pascal at age 46.] Most artists don’t get to break their sales records in music. How many artists have gone diamond? I’ve gone diamond many times in the boxing game. That means a lot to me. Why not build on it while I can? That’s my whole case on my future in boxing.
Seven years I’ve been with Golden Boy Promotions. Now we’re seeing Golden Boy growing on the East Coast with guys like Adrien Broner and Danny Garcia. I’m doing a lot more than just throwing punches. It’s the hustler’s mentality that goes beyond the Hip-Hop game. You live and die by what you create.
Come March 9, I’m going to be glad to be at the Barclays Center to send a message. I left my DNA in Madison Square Garden in 2001 and made history. Now I’ll make history in the new Mecca of boxing in New York. It used to be the hood. Now it’s “Hello Brooklyn.” It will become a part of my legacy. I’m honored and I’ve earned that. I earned that respect but I still have to go in the ring and take what is mine, and that’s victory.
If Floyd Mayweather’s Network Switch Will Change Boxing
That’s going to happen whether we like it or not. Again, I can tell I’m talking to someone with knowledge of that era. Someone is going to have to answer to why Floyd Mayweather is at Showtime and not HBO. Someone’s head is gonna roll. They have a boss; it’s no different from the music business. If Jay-Z wants someone on Roc Nation, and he’s making strong efforts to make sure someone gets him, and that person doesn’t do it, he has to answer for it.
That important piece [Mayweather] is now at your rival. The ratings will shift. The game is gonna change. Competition has always been healthy, but if you can get rid of it in business, you do it. You always want the block locked down in the streets or the market in corporate America. So now that Mayweather is at Showtime, someone at HBO didn’t do their job.
I have a degree from the streets, not corporate America. I’m not trying to act like I have credentials there, but I think I know what I’m talking about.
Hopkins vs. Cloud, a 12-round fight for Cloud’s IBF Light Heavyweight World Championship will take place Saturday, March 9 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The event is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Don King Productions and sponsored by Corona, AT&T, Ford and Rocawear. The HBO World Championship Boxing telecast begins at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT. The co-main event will be a 12-round fight between top rated undefeated contender Keith Thurman and former World Champion Jan Zaveck for Zaveck’s WBO Inter-Continental Welterweight Championship.
Tickets, priced at $200, $100, $85, $50 and $25, plus applicable taxes and service charges, are available for purchase at www.barclayscenter.com, www.ticketmaster.com, the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center, all Ticketmaster locations or by calling 800-745-3000.