"Dangerous, hungry, and this is gonna shock you, he is hungrier than me...It doesn't mean he's going to win, but he's hungrier because he wants what I have accomplished already. I got enough sense to know that he's hungry, but I gotta use that hunger and ride the bull right into the wall...I see him as a little bit more of a better boxer than Antwun Echols. He has one demeanor, seek and destroy. But when you run into an old Kung Fu guy, when you run into a Bernard Hopkins and you only coming with violence and strength, I will neutralize that," stated future Hall of Fame legend Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins, who talked about his clash this Saturday with undefeated light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud. Check it out!
PC: I know you have a ton of media obligations today so I will just ask you a couple of questions. First and foremost, how are you doing X?
BH: Ah man, everything is going lovely, man. I just had a great shake out at the legendary Gleason's, the gym in Brooklyn. They had a good turnout. I just finished a nice little lunch and now I'm just relaxing and getting ready for the press conference tomorrow. But I'm ready, man. I'm ready to talk about some good stuff and then show and prove come March 9th on HBO Championship Boxing.
PC: Being a part of Golden Boy's promotional staff, you have seen these boxing events at the Barclays Center first hand. What is it like to be the headliner of an event at the Barclays come Saturday night?
BH: Yo man, first of all, not only have I been there for a concert, but I was there for the first two fight cards they had there and un-be-lieavble. I went back to Philly, man, and I'm naturally tied in with some people, the movers and shakers, and I told them, "We gotta step our game up, seriously." I told them, "If y'all ain't been to Brooklyn and the Barclays Center and seen the atmosphere and the food and the restaurants that they have on the second and third floor, it's unbelievable." But fast forward and let me tell you what it means to me, not only to break it in on a network that I have been on for many years...I can say there were two places that I wanted to fight in New York City; one I accomplished in 2001 against Felix Trinidad, and the other one, which I would never get a chance to do, is Yankee Stadium. They say never say never, but I'm just being realistic. But I get a chance to do it at the new center and the new center that's going to stand as long as my lifeline. And to be in the history books of the Barclays Center 20 to 30 years from now, like I came behind the original Madison Square Garden where it was at over the years, I can say I fought where the great Ray Robinson fought for the name maybe not the location at the time, but the name. That means a lot to me. And to be at the Barclays Center at this level with all that I accomplished, and no other fighter that came up in my early to mid- 90's era is going to get a chance to do that on the respectful side; maybe as an opponent that's looking for a buck or two. And even though I don't look at myself or I don't think nobody is rating Bernard Hopkins as an opponent, because they know how dangerous and how unpredictable I can be when it comes to big fights like that. I step up when it comes to these fights. I have a trend and a resume of doing this.
They say you are only as good as your last fight, and the Chad Dawson fight in the judges' eyes and some peoples' eyes, I didn't do enough, but I can say this and I have said it, this isn't breaking news, but I'm going in this ring for the first time in many fights, not 10 fights, not 3 fights, not even 5 fights, healthy. I'm 100% healthy. No shoulder, no tweaks, no forced to go on with injuries, because when your strength is gone, you bite down and do what you have to do and go in there and use your skills and still try to pull it off. But I'm telling everybody and I'm letting the cat out of the bag without getting into a long discussion; everybody knows what happened in the fight with Chad and everybody knows what happened in the second fight from our first fight. I am entering this ring healthy. If you do the math, I had over 14 months to rest. I haven't had 14 months to rest unless I was getting blackballed by the system of boxing. The Kelly Pavlik fight, I wanted to fight after that maybe two times if I could, but they shut me down for some reason. But that's cool. But this reason was a legitimate reason based on I'm healthy. That's all I gotta say, man. I mean, I'm not ready to get off of the phone.
PC: I was about to say, I had a few more questions in mind than that (laughing).
BH: No, I'm not getting off, but when I get into that ring on March 9th, I'm taking away all of the excuses of Bernard's not young, but he's smart and all this. I know that I'm not young, but that's why I'm different. That's why I'm different and I'm glad 2Chainz made that song because I will use that hook when I step out there paying homage to Biggie Smalls on March 9th at the Barclays Center, because at the end of the day, man, being different, you look odd and you are strange to people that are ordinary. And ordinary is not bad; there are just so many people that are ordinary that it ain't a big deal. But to be different, people say maybe you are cheating, maybe you are doing something dirty while you are fighting, holding a guy or getting into their head. "Ah, Bernard gets into a guy's head and he beats them." Okay, we are professionals, right? Professionals can deal with anything supposedly, right? "Not when it comes to you Bernard. When it comes to you, we give them all of the weapons and don't give you none because you are Bernard Hopkins." But as far as everything, not money-wise, but all of the accolades that no one gives me, you say I'm 48, but you want me to do all of this stuff outside of what I gotta do like I'm 25. So it's like, who is doing this media stuff? Have you talked to Cloud yet? Maybe you did.
PC: Actually, I didn't.
BH: See what I'm saying! Like I tell my people that work for me, I said, "Listen, I don't want to use the fact that I'm 48," and sometimes it's best to use that I'm 48. If you saying I'm 48 and it's an issue, then 48 must be a problem for most people, especially if they are overweight and they only 35 and they taking 5 different kinds of pills. And they are asking me at 48 to do all of this media stuff because the other guy can't speak or can't talk because he's not intelligent. So what do you want from me? So with a 40-year-old man, you want to work like a 25-year-old. You can't have your cake and eat it too, so I try to use that to my benefit. I'm not trying to deny that I'm 48. January 15th, 1965, I was born at Temple University Hospital at 8:45 in the morning is what my mother told me, so I tell him, yeah, I'm clean. You can take my stool after I go to the bathroom, you can take my piss or urine if you want to say it the proper way. You can take whatever you want to take from me and after you do all of that, come on Nike, come on Gatorade and all of these sponsors. We got an obese problem in this country called "young adults are fat." Nah, nah, let's get political now. So we take this same Bernard Hopkins this how I kick knowledge from the cradle to the grave. We take me to baseball and I do what I am doing now. You take me to the NBA and I was starting and I was getting at least 20 points a game and we win a championship. You take me to any hockey team and we win a Stanley Cup. Let me ask you a question. You are knowledgeable; we have talked many years. How big would I be in the United States? How huge would I be?
PC: At 48, in another sport doing what you are doing, you would be LeBron James status.
BH: LeBron James status! Exactly! But that don't make me bitter still. I'm just smart enough and got a little sense, not a lot, to understand it. See, I understand it, but nobody is going to bring it up unless I bring it up. I'm not complaining, but I am bringing something to the awareness of people and to expose those who know and don't want to mention it. You throw things in the air and they stick sometimes. Just like any hustler. A hustler of today is not like the hustler of yesterday. I hope America know what hustling means. So I try to put that out there so they can understand that. You take Bernard Hopkins, and it's one of those trivial questions, take Bernard Hopkins in any other sport and I accomplish what I accomplished and I'm still doing something at 48, how big would I be? And I ain't even gotta be Jewish or Polish, how big would I be? We not even gonna talk about if my name was Stern or Rosenthal. Are you kidding me?
PC: I didn't have any age questions planned for you because, truthfully, I gave up on bringing your age up a long time ago
BH: (Cutting in) You are a smart man. You gave up on the age thing a long time ago.
PC: It's not a factor at all, apparently. What's your take on Tavoris Cloud, because I will tell you who he reminds me of
BH: (Cutting in) Dangerous, hungry, and this is gonna shock you, he is hungrier than me.
BH: But listen, you can't even acknowledge me saying he's hungrier than me. I know I got you with that one because I know you have never heard another fighter say his opponent is hungrier than they are. I was looking for you to say, "Bernard, I have never heard a fighter say that." It doesn't mean he's going to win, but he's hungrier because he wants what I have accomplished already. I got enough sense to know that he's hungry, but I gotta use that hunger and ride the bull right into the wall.
PC: Do you see him as a more polished version of Antwun Echols, because that's kind of how I see Cloud?
BH: I see that. You know you have been doing your homework, dog. You have been doing your homework. I see him as a little bit more of a better boxer than Antwun Echols. He has one demeanor, seek and destroy. But when you run into an old Kung Fu guy, when you run into a Bernard Hopkins and you only coming with violence and strength, I will neutralize that, and then what? Drive that car, Cloud, to New York City any time after 12 noon and try to back up in traffic and see what happens to you.
PC: Bernard, I know you have a lot to do. I appreciate the time and good luck to you on Saturday night. Is there anything else you want to say before I let you go my man?
BH: All of the guys out there drinking Geritol, all of the guys out there that's thinking they can't do it anymore, come March 9th on HBO Championship Boxing at the Barclays Center in New York City, or if you close by in the Tri-State area from Philadelphia all the way to Canada, you can come down to see me. I'm gonna be the medication that you need to take when you see me. So come March 9th on HBO Championship Boxing at the Barclays Center, Bernard Hopkins will give you that inspiration, and I got a full prescription for you to take when you see me.
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]