Thanks, everybody, for joining us. If you can believe it, we are ten days away from "Believe it or Not!: Hopkins-Dawson." It's for Bernard's WBC and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight World Championship Title. We are coming into Fight Week and just, everybody, please watch out for the Fight Week schedule.
Bernard had his media day in Philadelphia yesterday; heavily attended. He mentioned to the press that sometimes they're looking for new stories to tell with his long illustrious career, but he's never without a good story and a current story, and so he'll have one for you today, too.But before we get to the champion, I'm going to turn the call over to make a formal introductionto Oscar de la Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. Oscar?
Oscar De La Hoya
Thank you very much, Kelly. "Believe it or Not!" is coming up October 15th. It will be Bernard Hopkins versus Chad Dawson, 12 rounds for the WBC and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight World Title. Also on schedule we have a special treat, Antonio DeMarco versus Jorge Linares for the WBC Lightweight World Title. Also, that night Kendall Holt versus Danny Garcia; that's for the vacant NABO Junior Welterweight Title, and the eliminator for the number one spot in the WBC and number two spot in the IBF.
We'll also be putting Paul Malignaggi versus Orlando Lora; that'll be a 10-round welterweight fight promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions. The DeMarco versus Linares is promoted in association with Teiken Promotions.
Well, October 15th is held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, live on HBO Pay-Per-View. We are excited once again to have ... AT&T and Ripley's Believe it or Not. Ripley's Believe it or Not is a new sponsor to the fight game and they're only involved because of making a wax figure of Bernard Hopkins later this year in honor of his record-breaking world championship ... victory over Jean Pascal in May. And that wax figure will be unveiled during Fight Week in Los Angeles. It will be displayed at one of their Ripley's Odditoriums in the near future.
Tickets are still available, selling quickly. Priced at $300 all the way down to $25.
It is my pleasure to introduce the current WBC and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight World Champion. He's been champion in two divisions. Obviously, he's a future first-ballot hall of famer. Bernard Hopkins won the World Middleweight Title in 1995 and defended that title 20 times, solidifying his place as one of the best middleweights in the history of the sport.
He's obviously had amazing victories over Felix Trinidad, Antonio Tarver, myself, Winky Wright, the likes of Kelly Pavlik and ... settling things with Roy Jones, Jr., after a 17-year-long rivalry. In December of 2010, Hopkins faced Jean Pascal in a fight which ended in a controversial majority draw. That obviously left fight fans demanding a rematch.
At 46 years old, Hopkins had come back, fought his time once again and decisioned Pascal in the rematch in May of this year, earning him the WBC and Ring Magazine Light HeavyweightWorld Title. Now, he will look to continue his record-breaking streak by defending his world title against one of the division's most dominant fighters.
So now without any further ado, I would like to introduce to you the man who has been turning back the clock for many years and many fights. With a record of 52-5 with 32 knockouts, fighting out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins.
Thank you, Oscar. Glad to be on and getting close and ready to do the last final touches of interviews and things before the big day. So I'm here to answer all questions.
Hey, Bernard. Sorry I missed yesterday; had a doctor's appointment but a lot of people aresaying that this is apt to be kind of a technical fight given Chad Dawson's style, and he's even brought in Winky and that was Winky's style, too. How do you see this going? Do you see this sort of becoming one of those technical ... matches that you've been involved in before?
It could be a technical fight and it could be a non-technical fight but I think it all depends on the person. And if the person is coming to fight and he's coming to fight, then that would help me a whole lot. So it all depends. I mean, a fight happens and it changes as the fight goes. And you never know. But I know what I'm coming here to do, Bernard. I'm coming in to make the fight and it takes two to dance. It takes two to fight.
You know, we've talked about so many things in your career over the years.You're a guy that's wanted to and made a lot of history, and by winning the fight you did against Pascal in May to become the oldest fighter to win a world title. I wonder what other history is there left for you accomplish at this point in your career? Or what do you have your eye on?
Well, one of them is October 15th. I understand that for now I'm the mongoose; won the championship, the lightweight championship, I believe he defended it three or four times. My goal is to fight and to continue to put a page in the history book that I've already established.
And as long as I have the desire to continue to win and not embarrass myself and embarrass the sport, I think at the end when it's time to go, it's time to go. I can't think about winning and think about retiring at the same time. That's very counterproductive. So I figure that instead of worrying about what if's, worry about where I'm at now.
And I think I-as a matter of fact I know I'm a good place right now, Dan. I'd rather be defending a title than trying to win a title. So I'm enjoying the moment while I'm here and I'm going to continue to stack the pages as the pages become interesting, they become meaningful. And I think everybody should just enjoy me while I'm here, because nothing lasts forever and I think we all know that.
Let me ask you another thing then. I think you mentioned a couple of times since this fight was signed with Dawson about the possibility-and I'm not quite sure if you were kidding or if you were being serious about sticking around and trying to fight, perhaps defend the title, at the age of 50. I think you had mentioned Archie Moore in that same sort of breath. But does that appeal to you at all?
Well a lot of that was basically because I just wanted to torture anyone that hopes I leave and just voluntarily go away. Because I realize that a lot of people want me to leave, for good or bad reasons. I don't take it personal anymore. But in the same token, I was having some fun and was I just making a few people in the world sleep kind of hard and kind of miserable the night I won the fight with Jean Pascal.
So no, I'm not looking and I'm not going to be fighting 'til I'm 50 years old. I don't have to and it won't be a good health risk for me to-it would be a bad risk for me to even do that. But I'm going to enjoy while I can. I'll be 47 in less than four months, and as of October 15th ... next that's meaningful and whether I'm motivated or not, but right now I'm just going to let the world know that 46 is a great number for Bernard Hopkins and I got a show that next Saturday.
I just have one other question for you, Bernard. You've made a lot of history. You've won everything you can pretty much win middleweight, light heavyweight, defenses, all the stuff, fought to big stars, and you've made a tremendous amount of money. So I wonder if you can articulate what makes you still hungry to fight?
The competition. The competition and also the sacrifice that I've done all my life in boxing, which is 20-plus years. And I'm a competitive person. I'm competitive outside the ring, in my personal-business life, and I'm very competitive in the ring.
I just like to do things different. I like to be the person, as an example, that the norm is not something you should put on Bernard Hopkins. In my life itself, as many times people have read about it, wrote about it, and I have talked about it. Even my life, itself, beyond boxing has since, what, Dan, has been against the odds and pulling off the odds. I mean, to me I just wanted to stay out of the penitentiary and never go back with a nine-year parole, to walk off at 25 years old. Can you imagine that? That overrides titles, belts, money, history, breaking George Foreman's record. I just wanted to stay the hell out and never go back.
And so, again, I believe that's in my spirit and my drive just as a human being, which plays heavily into boxing. It's just who I am. And I think that everybody that's listening to this should understand; if not, you should know now because I'm saying it and I've got credibility to back it up, it's just who I am. And you know, when it's said that you're not supposed to be doing XYZ because of this, because of that, I'm the type of person, whatever it is, that's the scary thing, is that - okay, maybe you're right 90% of the time but I'm going to be that one out of that 10% that you've got to say, "Well, he's different." And that's just me. And it's nothing I'm trying to actually prove. It's just in me. And it goes all the way back before I threw the first punch as a professional fighter in 1988.
Hey, when we were talking to Chad Dawson he said that while he called you a great fighter, he also said he has Winky Wright teaching him how to deal with all your dirty tricks. Do you feel you're a dirty fighter?
I don't know, a dirty fighter. I've been called worse names than that. I feel that I'm a fighter that builds a legacy off of winning and showing my craft from A to Z. And you don't get mentioned or even get in the Hall of Fame for being a dirty fighter. You get in the Hall of Fame and get your credentials by doing things that are either historic or very unique in wins and losses.
So when he says a dirty fighter, to me, he sounds like he's already complaining about something and we haven't even thrown a punch yet. Again, that's the difference between being a veteran and a difference between being-not necessarily a rookie but inexperienced to the point where you watch what you say and understand when you say things, you've got to have a reason to say it. So he's trying to put it out there to people that I'm a dirty fighter so maybe you can look for something that might look dirty.
I believe that I'm a fighter and going there to win and I don't have to fight dirty to win. And I've been getting hit in the back of the head in the last couple of fights, starting from the Roy Jones fight because I guess the word got out that must be a sweet spot. But you don't hear me, excuse my language, ... about what happens to me. Because I realize when you're in that ring, the referee says it in the dressing room and he says it in the square circle: "Protect yourself at all times." I know what that means. I've been hearing that for 23-plus years in boxing. So don't get sidetracked.
Watch the performance. Watch the ageless warrior systematically break a young, strong, tall light heavyweight that everybody had high hopes of two years ago. And now they're reserving that because they're not sure because Bernard Hopkins is fighting him. They don't understand and they don't want to risk Bernard Hopkins making them look like a bad, what they call a predictor. So, I understand that. That's part of respect when they act like that. So, Chad Dawson said I'm dirty. All fights are dirty to me. Some are dirtier than others. So whatever he thinks I can do, he has the capabilities, if he wants to do it back. But the referee's in the ring, the third man they call him, that will oversee anything that he does or I do. I'm coming to win a fight and I don't have to be dirty to win a fight. But I'm in the fight.
And when you're in the fight, things happen he might say is an accident. Things happen I might say is an accident. It's up to the referee. The public will believe and see what they see. And I leave it like that. I don't complain.
I just want to go ahead and win this fight, and I'll win this fight big, and I want to embarrass another young so-called gun of the world, of the boxing world, and prove that Bernard Hopkins is not better, but just different. And that's the page of a history book that I'm establishing-or I established since beating Tito Trinidad in 2001. That's when my legacy started, and we're well into 2011 right now.
Okay, you just talked about something that I wanted to get into. I mentioned-
I know. I've read your paper, even over the phone.
I was talking to Emanuel Steward about your style. You know, obviously he's not going
to be in the corner, but your style and what you bring to the table. And he was talking about how he had to prepare Chad mentally for this fight. He was trying to. But obviously he's not there and one of the things he was talking about is not worrying about what you do and doing what he does.
Having said that, given the fact that he's already worrying apparently about you being a "dirty fighter" do you think- Do you think you're in his head?
Lem, let me tell you something. He didn't hire Emanuel Steward-when he hired him the first time, and he got rid of Emanuel Steward for whatever reason. And he hires Winky Wright? You tell me. Winky Wright? He hires "Stinky Winky"? A guy that I sent into retirement? I mean that's just like getting a guy that's teaching me how to take my driver's test and he doesn't even have a license because he couldn't pass the test.
Think about what I just said, everybody. I don't know how many people are on the phone, maybe ten, maybe five. I don't know. But I think, to me, it's a situation of confusion and Emanuel Steward's probably rejoicing right now because nobody wants to be attached to an already loser. So Emanuel Steward's team probably won't out-and-out mention it but he's smart enough to mention it in pockets, is that at the end I mean I can't worry about who he hires or who he doesn't hire.
I mean, to me-and this just made it a little bit more interesting because Emanuel Steward, to me, has one of the greatest minds in boxing and the last of dinosaurs of boxing that I consider a teacher more than a trainer. And so it's Chad Dawson's loss and ... Winky's in contrary to that.
One other thing I wanted to ask you. I remember back in, I guess 2001 or around there, when you fought Antoine Echols the night before Felix Trinidad fought Fernando Vargas in Las Vegas, and you were pleading your case to get a fight with him. You didn't want him to get away from you. How far are you from those days when you were trying to get guys in the ring so that you can prove yourself, and how rewarding is it when you go back and you look at those days and to be in the position you are now, pretty much at the top of the game?
Bernard Hopkins Great question. To me it's very, very gratifying and rewarding that I stuck to my guns and stuck my discipline. But in the same token, I can't get distracted by that either. Because I take every fight like the building block of another generation of what I need to do and set for the next generation as they come when I do go. And so, yes, but the celebration is very short lived. Because if you do the math, the last two fights-and this will be the third one coming up, they've been less than 90 or 100 days apart.
In my whole career, well-half of my career rather, I haven't stayed that active in a long time and I wanted to. I had never went in the ring unprepared and I never had an injury where I couldn't fight a fight when it was scheduled or when it was coming to fruition. So this is one of the first times in a long time that I'm fighting what I consider back-to-back, and to stay sharp and not to train for 8 months, 16 months, and then get a fight.
I remember when I fought Kelly Pavlik, fantastic win. Definitely could have been easily a candidate for fight of the year or fighter of the year because of the one-sided beat down of a talented, young, undefeated fighter and I sat on the pond without injury to myself physically or anything like that for almost two years, until I got to the Jean Pascal fight. But other than that-I mean the Tarver fight, other than that, it's been the thing where the busier I am, the better you will see Bernard Hopkins.
Remember I said that. I said that in the first Jean Pascal fight. I said that in the second Jean Pascal fight, and I'm saying it right now. I have an HBO contract where if I win I go here; if I win I go there. I never really had the luxury in my boxing career, like other fighters had, where I knew I'd be fighting XYZ a time of the year. But that's the way there cards were cut out. I'm not complaining. It just made me tougher and it made me more bullheaded never to give up and never to just let them win that way. ... you win that way, or not you yourself, but that's how I was thinking. That was my mindset.
So here we are, back-to-back-to-back. You know, other situations where guys want breaks. Guys don't want to fight because they fought too close together and they want a break, but with me look at it. Jean Pascal in December; come back in May. And now I'm fighting in October. This is what I like because I stay in shape; I stay ready.
So yes, I celebrate all the things that you just mentioned, but it's short lived if you want to stay focused and not get distracted because I knew there was a lot more that I wanted to do, and the things that I didn't know came upon as I went. Like the history of beating George Foreman's record and 21 defenses and it's the after you get certain fights other things come where it's history to be made. You take an opportunity, you get it. Another history needed to be made, you grab it. I mean so I'm blessed, man, through hard work and patience.
Hey, Bernard. Most of my questions have already been answered. I just wanted to know what
it's been like for you the past couple weeks training alongside Dewey Bozella. Obviously, his story's already been well told. I just want to know, like looking at him, do you see like what could've happened to you in the past if you stayed in prison rather than getting sprung early and making the most of your life?
First of all, it's been a challenge-a good challenge in working and getting Dewey conditioned to not only pass the test, but just to get the fundamentals together. And between Danny Davis and my fitness guy, Tony, we did a good job and he did a good job, because he had to put the work in. I just laid it out and he was really, really focused and animated because he's been a big fan of mine as he continued to mention and I was just really touched by the story. I know Oscar was.
I read something that Oscar quoted and Oscar feels the same way as Golden Boys feels and when it was brought to me about Dewey, and then I got on the Internet and I started reading the case and reading how this man stood up and how this man actually could have said yes to get his freedom and said he did something that he knew he didn't do. I mean I don't know who's listening on the phone, but I don't think a lot of people would risk 15 or 10 more years in prison, which happened, to finally be set free and gain his life back.
That, to me, is bigger than anything that I accomplished. I'm not being-downplaying all my hard work because it is very hard work that I put in over these 20-something years. But I mean you're talking about a life that was basically taken; half of his life. And get a chance to do a full round or get a chance to get some small token from the boxing world, and people in L.A. and the commission and Golden Boy and myself, everybody, giving this man an opportunity to do something that was basically almost taken away from him.
His career was taken away. But I'm saying his life is bigger than this sport. It's bigger than anything, any materialistic things. Your life is valuable. You don't get two lives. And he has gotten his second life back and he was blessed.
So I was just happy to be a part of that, man, and have him a part of my camp without any distractions to me or him. He trained certain times of the day; I trained certain times in the day. He might stay once in a while to watch me train on my six to nine o'clock training at night and he trained early in the daytime. So it was good to know a guy, meet a guy-when I went to jail, I went to jail because I did something. I wasn't an innocent man. He was to jail because he was innocent. That's a big difference; not a small difference. That's a big difference. And so I respect him for having the championship courage to stick to his guns when he could have said after ten years, "I did it" signed the paper and he'd have walked out of there.
So Bernard, I wanted to know what do you think of Chad Dawson's greatest attributes as a boxer?
Greatest attributes as far as who he beat?
No, I mean like as far as his skills go.
In his skills, I mean-he has skills. He has skills. I'm just hassled with titles. I haven't caught up to the majority of society that likes to throw around the word "great" all the time. I hear it in baseball. I hear it football. I hear it more in boxing. Great. Even the greatest-even the good young guy coming up is not great until you accomplish great things. So I guess since somehow it's just part of the language, I guess. It became a language thing more than an accurate thing.
He beat a lot of fighters that I beat. I can name a couple if you need me to. If not, then that's cool. I mean, he brings youth to the table. And we all know what youth is-it's not only in sports. Youth normally wins. An older person who is working in corporate America who's been there too long and a young person comes up and the old goes out and new comes in. So I mean that's the battle. The talent speaks for itself.
He has a record of one loss and many wins. He fought a couple of world champions, former world champions, with Tarver-I guess two, three-time world champion and of course, Glen Johnson who actually sent ... career south. And then you've got Eric Harding. You have a good resume on Chad Dawson's thing. And I'm not actually saying it to sell; look at his record. And he brings 19-plus years younger. Bigger. Stronger.
And then you take Bernard Hopkins. Well, my resume speaks for itself if I'm going to apply for this particular job. I can say what I say. I can wear the best suit. But at the end of the day, you're going to look at my resume.
We both agree, and I agree, because it is what it is that, you know, it's a Ferrari, which is mine, and it's a Mercedes when it comes to resume. And I'm not going to bore you with all the names and numbers and hall of famers that I did beat and some that I lost to. You're going to see a fight where the youth wants to take the lion that's in the jungle and retire him.
I'm just not ready to go, leave the jungle. And when you have that stand-off, sit back and enjoy at home or if you're at the Staples Center, watching HBO Pay-Per-View. You're going to see something that's been taught to me.
I still love the fundamentals of boxing. I still love the art of boxing. I still love the hit and not get hit in boxing. And I still love that you can be aggressive but you can be aggressive smartly and so just like I feel, I believe to the day, we still have only a handful of teachers in boxing today. And a lot of them is not because everybody, you know some trainers or whatever went to be movie stars, it's just that a lot of people are passing, leaving this earth.
And there's a few trainers that are still teachers and so I'm ... to teaching them physically and show the world what I've been taught and what I still study and believe that part of what's keeping me in this game of boxing for half of my life right now, so we both bring good credentials. We both bring a great resume.
At the end of the day I think who wants it better, who has the better IQ and I believe I do, who will win this fight October 15th. It won't be easy because the young guy wants to prove that it's time for his chance. It's his second chance to prove that he's worthy of what everybody expects of him two years ago. He failed in that case. So now he has another shot at it and he's going to put it all on the line, and I'm expecting that. I trained under those circumstances, knowing that he's coming with all guns blazing. I've got to be ready to have mine blazing also. It's going to be a shootout.
And Bernard, recently you said you'd be willing to fight Sergio Martinez at 168. And he declined later on.
No, I didn't say-I didn't say that. Where'd you read that at?
Oh, I thought that's what was said on the HBO telecast on Saturday night. The Martinez fight-
I thought you said you read something?
Oh, no. No.
So you read it or you heard it?
No, I heard that.
Bernard Hopkins You read it. You heard that.
Well you didn't hear it from me. Maybe that's what they-maybe that's what certain groups out there want. Not that-I don't mind fighting anybody that thinks they bring a challenge to me, but at the end of the day after I take care of Chad Dawson October 15th anybody who wants to fight me has to fight me for my title. And that's 175 Ring belt, and also the WBC belt.
So there's no compromising when it comes to that because I represent the lightweight division and I mean there's no compromising with that because I represent the lightweight division. I'm 46 years old, four years from being 50. I'm not in the position to give anybody any leeway because I'm grandpop. You remember, I'm the grandpop of the business. How can you ask a favor from grandpop when you got a 20-well he's 30-something, I guess.
So, you know grandpop will fight anybody that wants to take the titles, the Ring belt, WBC belt, and get a part of my legacy on their record. That's huge. That's worth more than platinum, gold, or diamonds. So beating Bernard Hopkins and beating Bernard Hopkins severely, that moves the guy's record and he goes up so high, he'll be the man on the block.
So I know what I've got to risk and they know where they've got to risk and, you know, Chad Dawson is trying to take that and I've got to stop him from doing it.
Hello, Bernard. I want to go way back. When you were in prison, what were you thinking about at that time, and what was the thing that kind of set you in the direction that you've attained these last couple of decades?
When I was in prison I was thinking about staying alive; the only thing I was thinking about. It wasn't about boxing. Staying alive. Staying alive. And not become prey. That's two things that any smart person that goes through there, that's the only thing that is on your mind. How the hell to stay alive. And that's every day. It's not a week, and then you get a break.
Alright, now as far as what you asked in the second question was dealing with boxing with my legacy, right?
I believe that it really started from the Trinidad fight. From the 2001 fight which is ten years now. The 9/11 year and month in New York City. I believe people knew who I was, and who I am, rather. They really paid attention from there on. Even with the pockets in the middle of-out of commission, whatever. But I think that that from that fight on, they understood that for some that love boxing and love to see what I was doing or watch what I was doing, you know, were like, "Okay, we have something here."
And then I believe, like anything, and some were saying, "We have a problem." And both of those minds, are right. They had a problem. And the problem is still here. Good on one end; bad on the other. And that's just part of the game and I love it. It keeps my fire always burning.
And so here we are. And I never get bored in the situation where I've got to prove myself again. I think that's when I will get beat. If I'm going to get beat, I will have to be mentally bored with no fight in our lives and outside the ring. What I mean by that, politically, socially, the whole nine yards. There has to be something to motivate me why I still do what I do.
Okay. Another question then. Who, over your career, who has been your toughest opponent
The toughest opponent has been the boxing system.
And why is that?
Because it's like anything else that has old, ancient rules of how you're supposed to be in place and how you're supposed to act and how you're supposed to not be involved or speak in a way of representation. It's just the whole thing of being an athlete and knowing that that's what I do but it's not who I am. It's always a struggle amongst those who want you to be just one thing.
And so, even though it's a little fancy and dressed up right now, compared to the 40's and the 50's and some part of the 60's, but it's still-it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck. You've just got to be skillful enough and at least a little educated to see what others don't see. So, because I know in the ring a guy's going in there to try to hit me and I'm trying to hit him. He's trying to win. I'm trying to win.
And I know who I'm fighting. I see who I'm fighting. I feel who I'm fighting. But outside of the ring, there's a whole new different fight that you have to be even skillful enough, way more than the physical, to be able to not only withstand the endurance of it, but also to actually make the right moves and the right decision to be able to fight like you're in the ring but handle your business like you fight outside the ring, and counter to counter and come out on top. That itself is a struggle because you're sort of fighting in the dark. And I don't know the last time you ever fought in the dark, it isn't fun.
Okay. One more question. How much fun is it to be Bernard Hopkins, the guy that has defied all people's thoughts of when you should retire? You're still on top of the game. You're a
champion. How much fun is it to be Bernard Hopkins at this point? The decade ... long time but after a lot of people have retired that you used to fight.
Yes. I mean that, myself is not fun in a way of rejoicing. It's more of-it's really a blessing and a curse at the same time, being Bernard Hopkins. And I say that all the time because I'm asked what you just asked me, all the time from local people in Philadelphia or where I'm at in different cities. How it must be nice being Bernard Hopkins. It must be nice proving everybody wrong.
And I say, "Yes, it is." And I said, "The fight's never really over until you die because there's always going to be challenges. There's always going to be naysayers. There's always going to be people dictating what you should do, what you should do, how you should do it."
But I must say I'd rather be in this position-I want to be clear, after all I just said-I'd rather be in this position where now it's more what I set for the future of somebody that I might not even know or meet, that might be inspired by the spirit, the fight, the spirit to continue even when you get knocked down and get up.
I believe that as big as this world is, and as high-tech as the media outlets and computers and the Twitter and all this stuff and my Twitter page and all this stuff, I believe that when people want to find out about their hero or about their champion or somebody they're supporting, they can be inspired by that person they just push the key and information come up and they can read that is more than just him being a fighter. It's more than him just being a husband. It's more than just being a father. It's more than him just being A or B or whatever.
There's so many things that people can be inspired by. I'm more proud of that, when people come up to say, "Bernard, you're a great fighter but what inspired me is that you stood up for everything that you believed in, even though it wasn't popular at the time." That, to me, is something that I'll never forget and I'll never disrespect. That takes hard work and a lot of guts and a lot of courage.
You were in, I think Toronto last year for a press conference, and you were comparing Pascal with some other fighters. How do you think Dawson ranks with guys like Pascal, guys Pavlik in the last couple years? Do you feel this is a tougher fight compared to Pascal and Pavlik and other guys you fought in the recent years?
First of all I feel it's a tougher fight because he's big enough to take more punishment than the
guys that I fought. What I mean by that is you know the bigger-bigger than the next guy or the styles, the southpaw position, whether I fought 13 of them, 12-1, and some will argue that the other one was a split decision with Joe Calzaghe.
From one to ten, I would give Chad Dawson a seven and I also would give him an extra bonus point or two. Why, is because every fighter that I can remember when I became champion, until now, when you fight Bernard Hopkins they normally step up their game a notch or two. You know, nobody comes, that I know of, went to ring in the last ten years and not be prepared to fight Bernard Hopkins. They come with their A+ game; in most cases it still wasn't enough but that's what keeps me on my game. That keeps me on my point.
Nobody's going to go and knowing that you're fighting a guy that's in shape, that went 12 rounds more than probably any fighter in the last ten years, over 300 rounds in 12-round fights, so you know this guy comes in physically in shape and ready mentally. If you're a smart trainer telling your fighter, and your fighter has some knowledge or is smart himself, he's going to be ready.
And so I'm looking forward-you know, I'm looking for Chad to be on his best and I'm looking for him to him to try to prove that he has a personality inside the ring. That he can fight all rounds with energy and spirit and that makes a good fight. Because I'm a good dancer. But if I got a bad partner, we're going to be stepping on each other's feet and that isn't going to look good.
And so I'm-I put a plead out earlier in this promotion that if Chad Dawson comes with the talk then we have a chance to be a candidate since the year's closing out for fighter of the year. I want to be fighter of the year. One of the oldest if not the oldest fighter to ever win that title of fighter of the year, being a busy year for me, at least the last two years-the end of 2010 and 2011 and now we're at October 15th of 2011.
It's been busy for me and to win this fight big, to the point where there's no doubt, that would be huge for me. And that would be two pages; not one, that go in this ageless, historical that's already been in progress for almost ten years now.
And Bernard, you were saying you wanted to make sure that there's no doubt again. Calzaghe is also a southpaw, you know, was kind of quick and it was a close call. Do you think-is there any comparison with Dawson and Calzaghe and do you think you have to change your fight plan or just a little different than you did against Calzaghe to avoid a close decision?
Well, there's going to be one comparison. You know Joe Calzaghe did get up but Chad is going to have to taste the ground if you want to follow that script. But the outcome will be different because I made adjustments myself and I understand that guys figured that, "Oh, they're not going to knock Bernard Hopkins out" which anybody can be knocked out, I believe. So they try to out-hustle me. So okay, I adjust. I know how to throw punches and-I'm in condition. So you want to throw 200 punches, I'll go 300. You want to 300 punches, okay I'll go to see if there's 500 punches here.
But I want to throw punches that hurt. I want to throw punches that connect. I don't want to just fan in the air like I'm fanning for flies. I want to make sure when I hit something, I want to be able to take some of your soul with me. So I have a different mentality but I understand I'm in a different world and I have to adjust to the world. So I made those adjustments and I will show anybody, like I've done before and I'm going to do next week, October 15th on HBO Pay-Per-View, that whatever Chad Dawson brings to the table, I'll do better.
And that's just plain and simple how I feel. Anything he brings, I can do or been there, done that. That's even better. Been there, done that. But also I feel better and I hope that all of this to fruition come next week. And that's the good part about it. We can talk; you can ask your questions but the proof is in the pudding come next week and that's why I'm excited and ready to get there. I can't wait to get to L.A.
Good afternoon. My question is you've had-you keep talking about the boxing community. How have you heard from other boxers? How have they reacted to this fight? Do you feel, even if you don't have it from the actual officials, do you feel you have the support of other boxers in continuing to fight, and specifically in this fight?
Well first, they are excited about the fight. Everywhere I go especially around the Philadelphia area is where I run, and, you know, the steps of Rocky and there's a lot of people excited about the fight. There's been a lot of coverage here in Philadelphia and the Tri-State area which is pretty big that's been highlighting the fight and wanting interviews and things. So people are excited. They can't wait until the fight and they want me to bring the championship home.
Philadelphia right now, it's buzzing. Of course you know the Phillies just beat St. Louis so we're up 2-1. The Eagles have an important game coming up. And then Bernard Hopkins who's been holding the pants together with the thread-you know, the pants that have been kept together by the thread is me.
So, they're buzzing and it's like a thing where people are just waiting to see me do it again. And that's what I hear most, "You're going to do it again. You're going to do it again. It's another young guy. I give you a lot of credit, you're fighting another young guy. You're not fighting somebody that's closer to your age. You're not fighting someone that we don't really know about. You're fighting Chad Dawson." And they understand the risk in that and they understand it's not a cakewalk but they understand Bernard Hopkins so that's good. There's a lot of buzz in the city from that.
One more question. Speaking of Philadelphia, would you like to-before you retire, have another fight in your hometown, seeing as you have a very deep connection with the city and the area itself?
I mean it wouldn't be a problem for me. I just don't think that economically they can pull it off the way Vegas or L.A., maybe New York, even with the Canadian market now who've embraced Bernard Hopkins. Who knows? But I just think that I fought here a couple of times and I did the Enrique fight which I consider one of my last fights in Philadelphia, if not the last fight. So if I do, great. If I don't, Philly knows I gave them a couple of World Championship fights here and they love me for it and they still support me.
Hey, Bernard. As you mentioned, Dawson has Winky in camp and that seems to indicate that he's preparing for a tactical kind of a fight. I would just like to get your opinion. Do you feel that a fighter should have an obligation to bring it and fight rather than try to just win rounds and maybe stink out the arena but get the win?
I can speak for myself. I can tell you that the only strategy I have going to the ring is to win and if the knockout comes it comes, but you still have to look for it. When you bring Winky Wright in, as you mentioned, and Winky's style and the way Winky thinks really, just put his plan out there for everybody to see. And to me I don't know see how in the hell Winky Wright can give him any advice on how to beat Bernard Hopkins other than get beat by Bernard Hopkins.
So, again this is part of I guess, you could say, confusion. And so like I said, I'm not going to hire a guy that couldn't pass a driving test himself and doesn't have his license to teach me how to drive. So, to me, the proof is in the pudding.
But I can't get caught up in whether he has-even though you didn't ask this it still means the same to me, is whether it's Winky Wright, it's whether this, and how he's preparing, and what he's thinking is that-see I can't make his problem become my problem. I can't make his unsurety become my unsurety. Only thing I know is that no matter who he has in his corner, at the end I'm going to be raising my hand and still the Ring Magazine champion, still the WBC Champion.
It makes it a little interesting when you have a big name, a teacher in the corner and things like that, but at the end of the day we've got to fight. You know, Oscar can tell you this just as well as I can tell you and anybody else that knows about boxing that have been around the game, you get the information but when that bell rings and then all the corner people go down those four, three steps that it. It's all you. It's all about you.
And so I'm just-listen, I'm just going to not let people, not yourself, but just for anyone out there that wants to bring up the things that Winky or Chad Dawson is doing-I'm fighting Chad Dawson. He can bring whoever he wants to bring to help. He has the right to do that and the only thing I'm saying is that I don't want nothing to take away from my victory, come next Saturday. It will be a tough fight. It will be a fight that might be technical, starting on but you want the title, you've got to come get it.
I want to stay in the game and I still want to continue to do something special in the sport and continue to build that thick book that I've already established, and that means I've got to be the excitement. I've got to do what I did in Canada. I've got to be the guy that makes the excitement and doing that is a risk for me. There's a risk for me to do that. I understand that.
When you're coming to the target, things happen. And so I understand that. But I'm going to save the best for last, and that's what people have been saying my last two fights. And so when I say last, it doesn't mean that after I win this fight that it's over. It means that I know I'm on my way out. I'll be out of here, but when I leave I'm going to leave with what they call the fireworks. The grand finale. The last fireworks that pop up in everybody's head as the last fight for my career that you will see exciting.
Hey Bernard, nobody can say that your fight against Kelly Pavlik wasn't a beat down and you were great against Pascal but you haven't gotten anybody out of there for a long time, since Oscar. Think you have any-there's a good chance of you stopping Dawson?
I think that's what I become old at. I think getting people out has been a struggle because I haven't really thought about actually getting anybody out. I've thought about how can I actually just like overwhelm, beat somebody out, show technical skills and if they go they go; if they don't, they don't.
Because I've never been really a knockout puncher. I'm a guy that destroys people and I don't-I say that the way I said it, but I don't say it as in braggadocios I say it because, I mean, I guess I'd probably would've saved a lot of careers, that've been saved if I'd have just knocked them out. But I was told that the way I punch and how accurate that I punch and I can punch, but punch enough to really take a guy's-take fight from guys in the future because I sort of wear them down, physically. And they never-most of them, I mean, there is evidence out there. It's not like I'm just saying this in a way of making me look big.
Unfortunately that's part of the risk when you fight Bernard Hopkins, is that when you go out and look for a knockout you normally don't get it. But I can get you out of there if the opportunity presents itself, but in the same token is that if you're betting that I'll knock somebody out then you probably won't win your bet. But if I see a guy wobble, if I see a guy looking like he's ready to go I'm going to come right out and try to end the fight if I can get him out of there.
Because I get paid the same if I knock a guy out in the sixth round or if I knock him out in the twelfth round. So I'm not trying to do extra rounds just because.
Let me ask you this. You mentioned earlier that you're viewed and boxing should be viewed as more than fighters and not just ... and you also mentioned that you're a grandpa now. I'm a grandpa also, and my grandkids are young but they're starting to get interested in boxing and they're starting off as blank slates. You talk about Muhammad Ali; they never heard of him. You have to introduce all the history.
Other than showing them your fights and going over your record and all these historical accomplishments, what as a person would you want to be-how would you, as a person, want to be described at to young people like that who are first finding out about boxing?
First, I'm going to deal with the first question and I want to make a statement on that is that I think that every person that wants to be knowledgeable and wants to know about their business should have the opportunity and should make the effort to know. I must say, unfortunately, just like in anything in life, everybody doesn't want to be educated. Some people want their hand to be carried. Some people want their hand to be held to go up the steps and do this and do that.
So I want to be a correction to you and maybe a correction to me if I said it that way earlier on when you were listening an hour or half hour ago, is that everybody doesn't want to be educated. Everybody doesn't want to know the business about what they do. That's their prerogative. I do, though. I do. And I believe some others want to too, but you have to put the effort to do.
Second, how do I want to be-or how do I want the young to remember or know Bernard, is that the second one?
Yes. How would I explain-other than going over your record and showing them your videos and all that, how would you want to be described as a person to them?
Simple. Courage. Courage. What do you mean, dad? What do you mean, pop? What do you mean, uncle? What do you mean, nephew? Courage. And then you explain what courage means. And then you have a whole list of things about Bernard Hopkins, whether you agree, disagree, or you're in between, where you can say this would have taken courage. Because everybody wouldn't do it, wasn't doing it, and wasn't thinking about doing it. But he did. It goes all the way back to the 1999 senate hearings in New York City, when I was about to fight Robert Allen for the rematch, to speak about the bill that's passed today; it's a start. It's not a complete fix, but it's something that wasn't there from hundreds of years. Or at least a hundred years.
So I can go down the line of lists, I mean you've been writing about me many years; wrong or right, agree or disagree. I would tell that person or persons that it took courage even though I disagree, even though I agree, but it wasn't something popular and it wasn't something that, back then-say 10, 15, 20 years ago or, you know, time will pass, that he did something, that he said something, that he illustrated in his performance in and out of the ring that boxing is what he did, you would tell them. But boxing from what we see and hear in his history has been less ... Boxing is not who he is. Boxing is what he did, but boxing is not who he is.
There's a big difference in that statement right there. And you tell them that and then let them do the research and you let them do the curiosity of the finding out things and knowing history about the man. Courage. Boxing is what he did. Boxing is what he does. But boxing is not who he is.
Very well said. Thank you, very much, and good luck on October 15th.
Okay, great. Thank you so much, Bernard. I know that-don't hang up the call; Lisa's going to grab you for a minute. And thank you, everybody, for joining us. Next week "Believe it or Not!: Hopkins-Dawson," so we appreciate your conference. Look forward to seeing more of it next week, and Bernard do you have anything last minute to say, or Oscar if he's still on theline?
No. Everything is fine. Looking forward to being in L.A. and it's going to be a fantastic fight. It's going to a historic fight for the year to end. Thank you.
Oscar De Le Hoya
Thank you very much, everyone, and we're looking forward to another great event from Bernard Hopkins ... October 15th live on HBO Pay-Per View. Thank you.
Thank you, everybody. Bye you guys.
END OF CALL
"Believe It Or Not!: Hopkins vs. Dawson" is a 12-round bout for Hopkins' WBC and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight World Championship Titles taking place on Saturday, Oct. 15 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, Calif. and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. The event is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate, AT&T and Ripley's Believe It or Not. In addition to this championship main event showdown, the televised pay-per-view undercard will also feature Antonio DeMarco vs. Jorge Linares in a 12-round fight for the vacant WBC Lightweight World Title, Kendall Holt vs. Danny Garcia in 12-round bout for the vacant NABO Junior Welterweight Title and Paulie Malignaggi vs. Orlando Lora in a 10-round welterweight bout. DeMarco vs. Linares is presented in association with Teiken Promotions.
Tickets for Hopkins vs. Dawson, priced at $300, $150, $75 and $25, are on sale now and are available for purchase online at www.staplescenter.com or www.ticketmaster.com, via Ticketmaster charge-by-phone lines at (800) 745-3000 and at the STAPLES Center box office.