By Michael Marley
Got to admit it. The Ripley's Believe It Or Not sideshow freak ("Albert Cadabra," yeah, sure., pal) who hammered a nail into his face was impressive but, when it came to speechmaking at the Tuesday press conference at BB King's in Times Square, everybody but ring legend Bernard Hopkins was just wasting their breath.
Hopkins, who continues his 23 year pro career, with a light heavyweight title defense against the talented but underachieving Chad Dawson at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on HBO PPV TV on Oct. 15, could have given guys named Obama, Boehner, Canton and Reid some tips on how to keep an audience's interest from the speaker's podium.
Without futher adieu the wit, the wisdom and the "psyche job" that "Ole Popkins" laid on the soft-spoken Dawson for the second day in succession. (Dawson had to listen to a similar spiel in LA on Monday).
Hopkins is age 46 while New Haven resident Dawson is 17 years his junior.
Referring to how he picks the right opponent at the right time: "That's my fox mentality."
Fighting a lefthander: "I love fighting southpaws because I am unorthodox myself. I am 12-2 against southpaws with a split decision loss to Joe Calzaghe and most people say that I won that fight.”
Comparing and contrasting his Hall Of Fame resume (52-5-2, 32 KOs) against that of Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs): “It’s like two guys going for a job. You look at their resumes and one is Harvard, the other is a community college. With my resume, I still have the fire and the desire. I’ve got a Ph.d.”
On his ageless physicality: “I get cramps. I get aches. Trust me, I am human.”
Reviving the 175 pounders (with a disputed draw and then a points victory over Montreal’s Jean Pascal, who had beaten Dawson): “I started a buzz for the light heavyweights. The division is alive and people are paying attention again because of my last two fights.”
(Then Hopkins began to infiltrate Dawson’s mind more directly.)
On Dawson losing to Pascal: “He fell in Canada. Now he’s getting a second chance....But that second chance is going to be very painful. You can’t be laid back against an old man, that is not good, Chad.”
On his ring future: “I am 46 and so there is no tomorrow. I won’t, I can’t lose this match. I hope Chad fights (aggressively) because we’re asking $55 in a recession. If he fights, then we all win. I want to go on, to be like Archie Moore, defending the (light heavyweight) title at age 47 or 48.”
The good news for Dawson is that he only has to listen to Hopkins persistent rap for the final prefight press conference and then at their weigh in.
I’m not sure about Dawson anmd he seems unsure of himself.
But I’ve got to think a lot of fighters would prefer to get nailed like “Albert Cadabra” did.