by David P. Greisman
Bernard Hopkins spoke to a group of reporters in Washington, D.C. in advance of the Dec. 10 fight between Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson, which is being put on by his company, Golden Boy Promotions.
Here are the highlights:
ON THE LAMONT AND ANTHONY PETERSON STORY:
“It was a lot more adversity between their story, between the two brothers, than mine. But one thing about stories — everybody have one, but this is one that you can look at and say to yourself, ‘How many people would’ve stayed the course and overcame the situation, of mine and theirs?’
“And let me tell you something. They had to want what they want and got today where they at by wanting to not be a statistic or not be a failure. Something clicked in those two brothers to say that they’re not going to let the circumstances be the outcome of the end of their life.”
“I’m going for Khan, because Khan is not only younger, which to me is not a factor, because of what I do to the younger guys. When you look at Peterson, with the story or without the story, he’s a major threat. To me, if Amir Khan is looking to get a win and not a struggle or not a resistance from Peterson, then it’s going to be a long night for Amir Khan.
“But I think it’s going to be a shootout early, and the best plan wins. The best plan wins, the best training and conditioning, and mentally, to stick to the game. I don’t think the corner’s going to play a role in who win or lose this fight. I think it’s going to play a role in who can execute in the heat of battle of those three minutes when nobody can help you other than your talent and your training and the strategy that you have to go round by round by round by round by round.
“I don’t see this fight going 12 rounds. I see this fight going seven, right rounds, tops.”
ON FIGHTING IN AN OPPONENT’S HOMETOWN:
“I think, like football, like basketball, like hockey, when you go in another man’s hometown, I believe that man gets an extra point before the fight starts. Not officially. It just to me seems more of a custom thing where when you go to a guy’s hometown, you have to recognize that it is what it says — his hometown. You’re literally in this guy’s dining room taking his milk, taking his fan base. Not necessarily the judges. They come from everywhere. Maybe one or two live next door.
“But at the end of the day, as the fighter going in, say Amir Khan, if I’m Amir Khan, I’d be giving Peterson two points before weigh-in Friday. Why? Because I’d want to tell myself that I’m already two points behind, because it’s a give’em, being in D.C., being in a guy’s hometown, a hometown crowd. Peterson’s going to step up another level than he normally do. That’s a give’em. That’s supposed to happen.
“And so, based on that, Amir Khan has to do twice as much, three times as much, as a Peterson brother has to do at home, where he won’t be overly comfortable, but he already gets two points before the bell rings.
“Freddie Roach is no fool. Freddie Roach will do what a teacher, an experienced guy, will tell him, ‘You’re in this man’s hometown, but nothing to sweat, but you have to be the aggressor, you have to be the person who throws the most punches. Whatever he’s done up to now, which is nothing to sneeze at, we got to step it up a little bit more.’
“We’re talking about maybe Floyd in the future, we’re talking about Pacquiao, like this is the other incentives, along with being in D.C., and Peterson’s no walkover. Great boxing skills, got a lot of experience, been around in the pros over five years. Amir Khan is young. He really never faced any adversity, This is his fight to lose as well as his fight to win.”
ON WHETHER KHAN IS PART OF THE NEXT GREAT GENERATION:
“He’s part of the puzzle. He can be. But to lead it the whole way and carry boxing on his back is another question. Can you become the Oscar De La Hoya? Can you become the Muhammad Ali? Can you become the Ray Leonard, even though Ray Leonard had pieces, he had Hagler, they carried some, he carried some.
But to carry the elite boxing business on your back, like the two elite names I just mentioned, he has a chance to do that, but he has to do something very outstanding against some outstanding opponents, not just with B-level fighters. It has to be with outstanding opponents that we look at the same way.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to [email protected]