By Rick Reeno
Former two-division world champion Bernard Hopkins (52-6-2-2, 32KOs), 47-years-old, is ready and willing to entertain the possibility of fighting, likely for the last time, before the year is out. Hopkins last fought on April 28th, losing a twelve round majority decision to Chad Dawson.
Hopkins spoke to BoxingScene.com and explained his position on a possible year-end swan song.
BoxingScene.com: In the last few months, your name has been linked to [WBO champion] Nathan Cleverly and [WBA champion] Beibut Shumenov. Are those two fights meaningful enough for you to return to the ring?
Hopkins: Yes, only if everything is respectful....to the point where I'm not trying to clean the bank out when I leave, but I feel that I have more to lose when I step in the ring with any of those guys wearing a light heavyweight championship, even those two guys [Jean] Pascal and [Tavoris] Cloud who are fighting on Showtime in Montreal, on August 11th.
I think that at the end I have a fight or two, but mainly one fight left in me. I don't want to go into years and years of trying to come up with a reason why I should fight, other than if I was going to fight or I am going to fight, before this year is out, things have to get moving but it has to be right - and that means respect for my legacy and my name and what I bring to the table. And then last but not least, it has to be a meaningful threat of a person to make me mentally and physically ready to be able to fight and not just come up there for a paycheck.
BoxingScene.com: But obviously the money has to be right in order to get a Hopkins fight.
Hopkins: When you do these things, it becomes an event. And to have an event wrapped around that, when you're coming to see something for the last time, a big situation, maybe breaking my own record [of being the oldest boxer to win a world title] by winning a title or attempting to win a title - that would be something where people will say 'for whatever reason, like or dislike' - for every reason they will watch the TV and they will come to the fight.
At 47, and closely approaching 48 in less than six months from now - whether I want to or not - the time is here. It's just a biological clock and time of something becoming an event. And I never want to put myself in there to become a clown show or a circus act. I've seen too many legends do that in a lot of sports and I won't be part of that game. At the end of the day, I don't need boxing to pay my bills.
BoxingScene.com: In other words, as long as the terms are right we might see you enter the ring before the year is out.
Hopkins: I can fight a person right now, without getting in to it, for a million dollars. But what's a million dollars going to do for me, gross and then net? That was eight years ago. That was nine years ago. That's going backwards. A million dollars doesn't change my life. It don't. Money is money but it's not going to change my life. What is it going to do? Am I saying that I need something that will change my life? No, what I'm saying is that I need [something that reflects] what I bring to the table and the respect of my legacy. You beat me, you become a hero...I beat you and you become another victim.