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Bernard Hopkins Conference Call Transcript

BERNARD HOPKINS, WORLD LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: Firstly, I’m glad to be here on this conference call that everybody’s listening. Training’s going great. We’re winding down our fifth week in L.A. at the “The Blood”, that’s the name of the gym that they named it. Freddie Roach is really the throwback for a lushier type of gym. But I’m ready to answer any questions, so let’s go.

DARREN MOPHANI (ph), REUTERS: Thanks very much. Quick question for you, when you announced that you were coming out of retirement, initially you were talking very much about two names that you wanted to fight, which were Oleg Maskaev and Joe Calzaghe. Obviously you’ve picked a very, very good fight. It’s still the top elite fighters, which very rarely happens, but do you expect you’re making history by fighting for a heavyweight belt, or breaking history stopping Calzaghe making 21 defenses. Are you a little disappointed that either of those folks didn’t come off?

BERNARD HOPKINS: No, not really, because I knew that winning every championship would be – would be in the history line. And I understood that there were some out there that didn’t want to see my make that type of history. So, I wasn’t surprised about the, you know, the Maskaev fight. But, you know, I tried to make it happen and Richard tried to make it happen. As far as the Joe Calzaghe fight, as far as I’m concerned, I made my defenses in the middleweight division, 20, 21 defenses and Joe was making his in the super middleweight division, whether that adds the same as mine, because we fought two different divisions, then that’s debatable in history I guess or whenever they feel like they need to (INAUDIBLE) on doing it.But I’m not chasing Joe Calzaghe or anybody else; my legacy is what it is and I’ll just try to make the big fight for the fans, and no one was willing to again step up to fight over here in America that bring a name, to bring the fans out, and, of course, they have TV on board. Winky Wright is a guy that nobody likes to fight whether it’s his style (ph) or whatever. And so I like, you know, Bernard Hopkins has always been a guy to take the tough road and a hard road, and, you know, here we go. Winky Wright is the guy that I chose not because I thought it was going to be easy, because it’s not, and I know that I have to look good where he makes you look bad.So, I have to really, you know, mentally and physically have my whole work cut out for me and I will come July 21st.

DARREN MOPHANI (ph): Do you feel a little bit liberated now and you don’t have to worry about any mandatory defenses, anything like that? You’re in a position in your career right now where you can essentially pick and choose in your final stages of your career who you want to fight based on, I assume, what you consider to be an interesting and challenging fight. Is that liberating to you?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Let me tell you, I hope that’s not the most, I guess, great question from, you know, in the next couple of minutes or 20, or 30 minutes, because to me it’s a luxury. It’s a luxury that I never hard, and it’s a great question and I’m going to give you the best answer for it because, you know, you don’t have to worry about the politics on that end of it. You don’t have to worry about being forced to fight someone else that no one cares about because you want to hold on as a young fighter, or a fighter that’s not as marketed as a De La Hoya or anybody else of that high standard. Then you have to either get punished or you have to do what they ask you to do. And last but most important thing, last but not, definitely not, least is that the Ring Belt is a belt that, you know, to me shows the boxing world and people who in each division rule. And I am that guy at 175, and I don’t have to pay a hefty sanctioning fee to echo that. So it is a luxury. I added that piece on to add on what you said earlier, it’s a great luxury to be in this position in my life that I work so hard for and at the end, I get to beat the – reap the benefits of what’s happening now. And trust me, you know, to pick and choose can get good or bad, because I’m not picking and choosing like Ward Jones (ph) did when he fought Rick Fraziers (ph), the firemen, the cops, school teacher, the gym teacher. I’m picking fights that some would say, why him? I mean, this guy here don’t, you know, you could (INAUDIBLE) because I want to be the guy that unsolved that puzzle, that mystery about his defense, about this and about that. That’s been Bernard Hopkins, doing what others would not dare do, and that’s why we’re here on July 21st.

BERNARD FERNANDEZ, PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS: I spoke to Mackie Shilstone (ph) and I also spoke to Pat Crochy (ph) and I asked them the question, why are guys like, and it doesn’t even have to be boxing like Jerry Rice (ph) and Roger Clemens, Nolan Ryan, and Bernard Hopkins able to exceed – succeed beyond their 40th birthday to the level that they do? And I asked, is there such a thing as a physical freak of nature? And they both agreed that hard work is a part of it, but that there are some athletes that are just blessed with whatever, you know, certain physical capacities that most human beings don’t have. Have you ever considered, you know, the fact that maybe you have a special gift, you know, that has enabled you to be as good as you are at 42 years of age?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Yes, in a way, but also really thinking about seriously taking a test on my DNA. I think that, you know, in the course of Bernard Hopkins being native born (ph), something split inside my system that, you know, that I guess extended where I’m at. I’m saying it’s like when you’re young, you know, you ate the bad foods, the candy bars, and stuff like that. I figured this is genetics; I figure it comes all the way back to genetics, and also taking care of yourself, and also being a guy that, you know, understands the sport, the physical part of the sport. To be able to understand it, you must give yourself a chance to win, and that means training, live right. That means everything that you can give yourself, and you still can come up rolling snake eyes when you step in that ring. There’s no guarantee when you step in that ring. You can have a sure bet but not a guaranteed bet, because things happen. You can win and suffer a detached retina. You can win and just suffer a blood clot. That’s what I mean by no guarantees.And I look at all that, earlier in my career and to everyone that’s listening now, I said, Bernard, to myself that I’m never going to do anything to not give myself a chance to win. That’s a real powerful statement. You got to understand between the lines of that statement. That means I take nothing, even running, even getting up 4:30 a.m. West Coast time, 6:30 a.m. East Coast time, to be able to run – well, 7:30 a.m. East Coast time, that means running, train, and run these mountains and get up without no alarm clock, without nobody knocking on my door. That is a profound discipline that I’ve followed over 20 – well, over 15 to 20 years of my career.

BERNARD FERNANDEZ: I know that you’ve also, you know, you’ve admired Philadelphia fighters like, you know, the Benny Brisco’s (ph) and the George Benton’s (ph), but, you know, you’re a guy who hasn’t, you know, I mean you used to say that you hadn’t eaten a donut in 20 years. That requires a tremendous amount of discipline.When you look at athletes like, you know, the Jerry Rice’s (ph), and the Nolan Ryan’s (ph) and Roger Clemens (ph) and stuff like that, I mean, you know, do you take anything from them? How much do you admire those guys for being able to succeed in their field like you have in yours at an age where you’re not supposed to?

BERNARD HOPKINS: You know, Bernard, you missed one name, and it’s one important name that I mentioned over the 14 years you’ve been writing about – writing about boxing, and I might be cheating you out of a year or two, but it goes back – I’m going to name a fighter. You named some important people, don’t get me wrong, especially J. Rice (ph), but I’m going to name a fighter that I always mentioned to you. When I took a page out of his book of discipline, of always coming in shape, never having an excuse, no one ever expected any guy like him to not be in shape whether he won or lost a fight, and that’s the great marvelous Marvin Hagler. The most disciplined fighter of my era; the most profound work habits that this guy had.When I watched Marvin Hagler in my era – Ray Robinson, of course, but in my era. That was history of old. But Marvin Hagler, I come out watching guys like him, I come out watching Marvin Hagler take on a young strong John “the Beast” Mugambi from 11 hard rounds, conditioned, experienced, and who wanted it the most won that fight. And that’s the page that I took my work habit from 15 plus years ago, Mr. Great Marvin Hagler.

ADAM SENZER, LAS VEGAS REVIEW: Hey, Bernard, quick question, yesterday in a conference call, Winky Wright said you were a “dirty fighter”. What kind of response do you have to that?

BERNARD HOPKINS: I mean, what am I going to do? – what I’m going to do, argue and plead that I’m not or that I am? I mean, to me anything that I do to a person that he feels that he got the right to do it bet, I mean, we are fighting and boxing. We are doing anything that fans want to see, a clear fight, and that’s what they’re going to do.To me, this is an excuse to try to, I guess, send a subliminal message out there that if things get rough and if things get tough, that he’s going to be a bitch that and he’s going to start crying and he’s going to want to touch gloves, and he’s going to want to act like this is a friendly outing. But, you understand? The thing is this, I don’t get into it when people say things about Bernard Hopkins till a point where it becomes something I have to really like defend. Because I’m a dirty fighter, and you mean to tell me that my history is based on filth? That my history and what I’ve established in boxing is based on being a dirty fighter? It’s an excuse that he wants to put out there so when he start doing what I say he was going to do, that the word I used, the four-letter word, then he wants to be able to say to everybody that because I beat his body up, because he has a four-inch waist band, the hottest ribs in his – like he’s wearing a girdle, then that’s all Winky Wright.I’m not going to say anything about Winky. I think Winky does a lot of things that he shouldn’t do, but it ain’t my job to say what he’s doing. It’s the referee job and its people who watch it. I mean, I’ve been called worse names than “dirty”. I take – I take it as a compliment.

ADAM SENZER: Well, that’s obviously one way to look at that. I appreciate that. And then also, you’ve admitted that you think Winky is a talented fighter and he’s a unique …

BERNARD HOPKINS: And he is.

ADAM SENZER: a good fighter. Have you been doing anything different to train for this fight?

BERNARD HOPKINS: I’ve done things differently based on Bernard Hopkins being in L.A., Bernard Hopkins training with Freddie Roach for this particular fight and John David Jackson. I’ve done things different as, you know, being in L.A., knowing that the three-hour difference won’t be a factor now because I’m on the same time that Vegas is on. But as far as Winky style and what do I have to do different, he’s not the slickest soft pole (ph) that I fought – I fought many of them. I think I got nine knockouts out of 10. I had one of the most oldest slickest soft poles (ph) in my camp who’s the second trainer, John David Jackson. I’ve seen every soft pole (ph) that I could imagine on tape or even in the ring, and Winky Wright is not one of the slickest ones. He’s one of the adorable ones. Oh, he’s takes a licking and he keeps on ticking. Winky Wright has the ability to absorb a lot of punishment, and that’s where you’ll see a reincarnation (ph) of Bernard Hopkins and William Joppy, because I will never stop punching, but his face will change from round one, to round two, to round three or whenever his corner (ph) and the referee feels that he had enough .

EDDIE GOLDMAN (ph), SECOND VAULT RADIO: You know there are a lot of critics of this fight who were saying that even though you and Winky Wright are two of the greatest fighters still active today, they don’t expect it to be much of an exciting fight. I know you think differently. Could you answer those critics of that?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Well, I mean, what are you going to do? You can never please the critics. They say that me and Tarver (ph) fight. These are the same people that say that me and Tarver fight was going to be boring. But I guess they could say that it’s going to be boring because Bernard Hopkins worked hard every round and I almost knocked him out, and I guess, you know, then you would see it’s not being adrenaline. It’s taking it a little further than beyond that.I think that, you know, people have opinions and they’re entitled to it. You know, they always say that everybody has you know what, so everybody has that opinion. Critics of mine have been doubting me for years, but if they want to do themselves a disservice and their cable’s bill is paid up, and they show up July 21st and see what the fight’s going to pan out to be – pan out to be, I think it’s going to be, as a matter of fact on my end – on my end I’m bringing heat in the light heavyweight division like I said, in this new body, repeat myself, in this new body. I’m going to show that Bernard Hopkins is going to be very missed when he leaves, and that’s the statement I’m going to make.I’m definitely going to outdo June 10th of 2006, and I don’t have to tell who name that was because you’re only good as your last fight. But you thought you seen something last summer. This guy got the best beef into the world, right. Remember, everybody, I want you all to write that. I want you to understand what you all – believe what you all write, but then you’ve got the day after. And I’ve been – I’ve been always on my game of reminding you all, you know, that last press conference after the fact. Remember what you all said, and he has this. The best defense in the last 10 plus years of boxing, Winky Wright, I agree. Remember you all said that and then look at his face.

EDDIE GOLDMAN: And in this face, I believe he’s going in as the betting favorite at this point, any comments on that?

BERNARD HOPKINS: OK.

EDDIE GOLDMAN: Which Tarver (ph) was also and Felix Trinidad was also.

BERNARD HOPKINS: So what do you want me to answer?

EDDIE GOLDMAN: What’s your comment on that?

BERNARD HOPKINS: That’s the way it supposed to be written, ain’t it? I mean, you want me to comment on something that I – I mean, you want me to – maybe I had something to do with the underdog. I operate off that.I mean – I mean, that’s what – I mean, I think – I think – well, I know what the question was but I think it would be a situation would be like, well, Bernard, you’re the favorite this time. How do you take this one? I mean, come on, man, you know my history, Eddie. You’ve wrote about me for many years. You’ve been doing this …

EDDIE GOLDMAN: Right.

BERNARD HOPKINS: for 10 plus years. Come on, man. I was the underdog – I was the underdog in my personal life. I mean, what else is new? Don’t you think you should know me by now to say well, damn (ph), this time he’s not the underdog? I’m that cartoon – I’m that cartoon character that had the cape on with the glasses, that little mouse that runs around and say he’s the underdog, he come to save the day.

EDDIE GOLDMAN: Right.

BERNARD HOPKINS: What else is new? This is what I like. I mean, I wouldn’t be comfortable if I wasn’t the underdog. This is where I need to be. I need to be the underdog. I need for you to remember what everybody wrote, and this ain’t, you know, to get on anybody. I want you all to write this. This man has the best key sense in boxing. No one can figure it out. His elbows is low, he keeps his hands up, he has to be – those jabs like 100 times a round. Remember you all said that. Remember what you wrote and I’m going to remind you of it come July 22nd – 21st, the day after because it’ll be 12:00 a.m., so the fight would be gone. It would be Sunday.

KELLY SWANSON: Operator, before we take the next question, I just want to mention to everybody, which I was supposed to mention earlier in the call, that this Saturday, July 14th, is the premiere of “The Countdown to Hopkins-Wright”, an excellent show that will come on right after the Margarita-Williams fight on HBO. So again, it’s this Saturday, July 14th, immediately following the HBO live telecast of Margarita-Williams. Thank you and I’m going to turn it back to the call.

JOHN COTY (ph), ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, FLORIDA: I wanted to ask, there’s been a lot of talk about Winky’s style and how he’s been coming forward lately, and then his camp has said that they’re going to come forward and they’re going to press the action. Do you – have you seen a change in his style over the years? And, of that coming forward, do you want him to do that? Does that suit you? Is it – if you had – if you had it your way is that what you’d want in this fight anyway?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Well, they say he’s coming forward, but he’s doing the opposite. You know, you can never believe (ph) the enemy at war so he’s going to come right to you. They normally come the other way. But I’m prepared for it – I’m prepared for anything that they’re going to do. They got to be prepared for what I’m going to do.You see, the Winky Wright style has changed, but that’s the question you asked me. See, I know Winky from the DC days. St. Peters (ph) his second home, but he’s a DC guy. And so, let me – let me tell you something about short – real short – it ain’t going to be long.

JOHN COTY: OK.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Winky Wright used to be a boxer. Winky Wright used to move from side to side, box you, box you, box you. The days (INAUDIBLE) before that – a little bit out of the amateurs. Winky Wright in the last say five plus years or whatever, Winky Wright has adopted a style because of his balance, which is terrible. Two people in boxing has the worse balance and the worse stance in boxing where they want to just hit you but not hurt you, and that’s why their knockout rates are so low, is Jermain Taylor and Winky Wright. They like to hold (ph) pogo sticks. They’re never in position to hurt you but to peck you and that’s why you see the Winky Wright ratio when it comes to knockouts, because he don’t want – because he don’t want to do that – he don’t want to do that. He don’t want to do that. He wants to be comfortable on his own.What everybody got to be aware of, because I’m letting you all know this early so you all can’t say I played Monday morning quarterback, is that I’m going to make him get out of character and force him to drive a different way, to spear a different way, to fight a different way. I’m going to force him to run. That means he got to be coming after me, because when he come after you got to go back, you got to retreat. And if you haven’t done that in so long, forget the five, six weeks of trying to do because you know the heat’s coming. That’s what he’s working on. Running because he’s so used to coming forward, that means the opposite. So you want to see Bernard Hopkins bring the old Winky Wright back to you all. The old Winky Wright is going to be right in front of your face and that’s not going to help, but he’s going to relate – he’s going to – he’s going to go – he’s not relating, he’s going to go back to what he used to do years ago and that was a more boxer, puncher, and not a guy standing straight up trying to block everybody, wait for you to stop and counter you while you’re standing right in front of him.So that’s not a plan that I’m giving up. That is the facts. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at Winky and see what he do. Some have called him bored, some have called a guy that, you know, why fight him, he’s a bad style. That don’t come from him being the opposite. It comes from being what he do – do what he do. It’s Bernard Hopkins who’s going to bring the show on, who makes the show what it is, and that’s what people is going to come to watch, and that’s why people are interested. The ones that are interested in the fight is going to be coming to see what I do more or less than what Winky do. They know what Winky do. Winky going to be Winky. Nothing changed, why should it change now, but I’m going to make it change and that’s when you’re going to see the change of the fight, and that’s when you’re going to see the domination of the fight and that when the fight becomes over.

JOHN COTY: Now I’ll ask you quickly about, you know, the build up to this fight, did you know (ph) that most Winky fights are generally it’s very passive conference calls, everybody’s complimentary and this and that, and you’ve kind of taken it to Winky a little bit.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Well, Winky’s a passive guy.

JOHN COTY: Right. But I mean, is there – is there an art to that? I mean, do you think that has an effect? Are you trying to have an effect or is that just the way it is and you then, you know …

BERNARD HOPKINS: Listen, it’s called personality. My personality is not like Winky, my upbringing is not like Winky, Winky upbringing is not like Bernard Hopkins. I think I’ve been through a little bit more than Winky. Whether it’s self-inflicted or not, I think that when you talk about Winky and the press conference that you’ve been on with Winky since you’re the same news guy that Winky is more passive and he’s more this, I’m not in a passive game.

JOHN COTY (ph): No, I’m talking about the guys he fights being more passive.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Whatever, but Winky’s not – I’m not in the passive – I don’t have a passive job. And so, I fight the way I talk and I talk the way I fight, and I mean what I say, and I go in that ring and I give myself that thousand and million percent chance of doing what I say. I don’t like being wrong. I don’t like being on a stage and telling you what happened and what didn’t happen. I like to tell you what I said I told you prior to it happening – premeditated. That’s how I like to take things. Some people ain’t comfortable on telling you what they’re going to do and live and guide (ph) by that. Some people just don’t have it. I’m not saying they’re bad people, it’s just not in them.They want to have – they feed off – their foot on first and try to get second at the same time. I would run off second, first to try to get second and risk – and risk being counted – being counted out for glory, for victory. So, you know, you’re dealing with two different – I’m making this show here. You don’t – Winky Wright tries to be out of character and I want him to be out of character because I want to let people know that I’m fighting a person that’s a fighter and not some guy that’s home that nobody knows about. I mean, he got to put his voice out there, so we need that, but then when it comes to proving what you say, July 21st, the date they’ll tune in or they’ll come to Mandalay Bay in Vegas and watch.

ROBERT MORALES, LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: Hey, listen, at your retirement party, I believe it was back in September, there were a group of us sitting around the table, you know, having things that whole thing before it started, and one of them was a certain HBO announcer. And we were all in agreement that none of us could remember a more impressive final act than your victor over Tarver, you know, going into retirement with something like that. Why did you decide to not let that stand and come back for another fight against a very difficult opponent?

BERNARD HOPKINS: I do remember the party, and don’t think – I haven’t – they won’t give me another one. It was a – it was a great time because I think, you know, you have a retirement party for one time; nobody’s going to go for it the second time. So, no more parties for Bernard Hopkins.But, I say this to you, when you, you know, you go through the winter, I mean you go through the rest of the summer, you go through the winter and you go through the top of the new year, which was 2007 and, you know, you’re in the boxing game and you’re promoting, and you’re traveling, and you’re meeting fans, and you’re greeting fans, and you’re doing other stuff outside of that. You know, people are asking, are you coming back? And they’re asking, won’t you come back? And then you realize that I’m not trying to save the world and I’m not trying to say I can fight, and I know I can’t physically or whatever reason, you analyze all these things and then the most important thing, you go to your siblings, you go to your wife, you go to the people who you know will tell you the truth not for a buck, not just to have the ride again, not just to go through the, you know, the fame and fortune of being at this elite level. I think when you analyze all that and then the most important thing, which is important just as well as asking the people that you love whether they sanctioned it, that’s listen (ph). How do I feel, how do I look, how do I feel, and what do I have left? At this stage of my life in my career, and this new body that’s not (INAUDIBLE) little package where it can’t come out because you’re making history at 160. You made that happen with flying colors. That record would stand for a very long time, and to realize that I can go on at this weight class, I cannot – I don’t have to deprive myself for all these years anymore. Why tease myself and leave? Yes, for others it was a great outing. Yes, for others it was perfect, it was the perfect ending, but I have to be comfortable and I have to be in a position where I say to myself, five years from now, when I won’t be back, three years from now, when I won’t be back. I have to be able to sit back and say to myself, well into my 40’s, and say that I was satisfied completely with my career to the end. And if you have a fight in you, if you have fight in you and you’re not in denial of what’s there in front of everybody’s eyes that you can fight on; no one is saying you shouldn’t fight. They’re saying, why are you coming back when you ended so brilliantly. A lot of athletes cannot have that type of dialog when they leave the sport that they’ve been in for so many years. Most of the time we’re saying, for your health, the way you look, you don’t – you’ve done everything and physically you don’t have it anymore, so enjoy me while I’m here. More or less, why didn’t you stay in retirement? Because I think I don’t save boxing by coming back. I think that I give boxing a new look when it comes to the promotional end of it, the business side of it, the athleticism when it comes to taking care of yourself and being at 42 going on 43 just six month ahead, I think that it shows that you get those type of athletes in any sport. Instead of you saying, why, say, wow, that this man can do this. Based on June 10th, 2006 we’ll see this week – next week. We’re going to see what every pool gives. If you have anything to go by, as you said when you sighed and said, wow, to yourself, mentally or facial wise or however you said it, be prepared to realize. Be careful when you ask for because when I do go, this must be a time when you say, we wish Bernard Hopkins was around at least for a sound byte, because if you can do it and you can do it with pride and you can do it with dignity and not embarrass yourself, your family and your sport, fight on, fight on, fight on because everybody don’t get the luxury of doing that. And I’m blessed – I’m blessed, man. I’m blessed. No one can make me think and feel physically that I’m 40 because they got a constantly remind me of it. Trust me, continue to keep reminding me of it. I’m going to keep reminding everyone else how unique, how rare and how special I am.

ROBERT MORALES: Very good. I appreciate that.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Just keep – just keep reminding me.

ROBERT MORALES: Hey, considering Freddie Roach’s medical condition, are you amazed at him?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Oh, man.

ROBERT MORALES: He works hard, I mean, that dude works hard. I’ve seen you work…

BERNARD HOPKINS: Let me – let me – let me tell you something, I work with a lot of guys with mitts, including John David Jackson, I think boxing and being on top of your game, mitts, sinking, strategy, that keeps Freddie Roach intact, man. I think that, you know, all that he do in that gym in that ring, not only with me but with all of (INAUDIBLE) fighters and all the fighters you got in there, I mean, this guy, he sleeps on top of the gym. He’s got his own place. That man never leaves. Hey, man, I – he, you know, he make me at this stage of my career, want to win even bigger for him. The man ain’t two-time Trainer of the Year for nothing. When an athlete wants to impress and wants show that the teacher is the boss and the guy that they want to do all they can to make everybody shine what makes it all great for me.

DAN RAFAEL, ESPN: Hey, Bernard, how are you? Just to follow up what Robert said, remember you’re 42.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Got to routinely remember that.

DAN RAFAEL: Yesterday we were on a conference call with Winky Wright to talk about the fight and one of the things that he mentioned, you know, he wasn’t too corny about it either. He flat said, “Bernard Hopkins is a dirty fighter”. I know you’ve heard those sorts of things in the past. You know …He didn’t say good fighter, he didn’t say …

DAN RAFAEL: Oh, no, he gave you credit – he gave you credit.

BERNARD HOPKINS: So I’m a good fighter and a dirty fighter?

DAN RAFAEL: I don’t remember exactly how he phrased how good you are. He clearly gave you credit for your abilities and what you’ve accomplished and all that. But he did also say he thought you were a dirty fighter. And I just you’ve heard …

BERNARD HOPKINS: Well, what do people think? I can’t, I mean – I mean, is he saying that because he’s afraid now? I mean, you know, Winky Wright, you know, he comes out saying things later on but when he’s in front of me he’s totally different. I mean, I don’t – that’s his opinion. I mean, no matter what, I’m going to kick his ass. So, I mean, whether I’m a dirty fighter, whether I’m a clean fighter, a nice fighter, a passionate fighter, I mean to me it’s not his job to worry about nothing but fighting. That’s why we have – that’s why you have people. I mean, what does he want, to tie my hands up? What does he expecting to get gained out of telling people what he thinks that I am? I mean, what does he try to put you on notice? What does he – people have been watching me for years. You’ve watched me for years.

DAN RAFAEL: Sure.

BERNARD HOPKINS: People that’s listening on the phone have watched – they’ve watched me for years. Hey, you know, they watch fights in the 50’s and the 60’s. I mean, if you think I’m dirty for whatever reason, then I think you should – you should throw in a Rocky Marciano (ph), or throw in a Benny Brisco tape, or go back in the 40’s and 50’s when they was fighting real fighting.I think that some boxers, and I’m not going to say all, have became wussies (ph), and I didn’t mess the word up. I put a “W” on there because I know kids might be listening, they became passionate to the point where they think this is like golf or something. I mean, you know, this is not golf. Boxing is – boxing is a rough sport – boxing is a rough sport. People do think that they feel – they feel that they need to say to, I guess, you know, to make another guy look like he’s not worthy of his position and in a stoic (ph) way of boxing.And so if he feels that I’m that, then fine. Then Winky has the right to defend himself any means necessary if he feels that I’m doing something and I think he’s just trying to put people on notice for him to start crying when things don’t go his way.You know, his people they complain and I’ve noticed something that Winky has that I’m not – I have no concerns about. Look at his waistband. He wear his waistband extremely – four to five inches. I’ve never seen a fighter that have a waistband that long and that wide like a girdle (ph).So – but I know why fighters do that because when you – when you got the defense that Winky has with the long elbows, you sit your elbows on top of that. It’s in your mind, it’s in your brain. You’ve been program to have that style so you keep your elbows on top of your high waistband so anytime it comes around, a body punch or anything, around that waistband where normally your name be at, you can always complain or act like you’ve been hit low. And if a referee or somebody got, not bad vision, but if they don’t see, see, see it to where they might have questions, then it could become a nagging problem. So I know why Winky wears those high waistbands. I know why he keeps his elbows slow close to them so you want to take the body away from the fighter. I’m old school. I know all the tricks of the trade, and so when he tells you all this, he’s telling you this in a way of knowing that the execution time is over. It’s time for him to meet his maker, and that is Bernard Hopkins on July 21st.So, he right now, he right now wants to plead his case.

DAN RAFAEL: That’s all he wants to do. Thank you for that answer. I have another question for you.Obviously everybody who has watched you fight or Winky fight, knows you’re outstanding defensive fighters, you’re great counter punchers, have won many fights using that style. I wondered when the two styles match up with each other, who takes the lead in this fight?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Whoever wants to win takes the lead.

DAN RAFAEL: Well, I assume both of you want to win the fight.

BERNARD HOPKINS: I can’t assume what he wants to do. I can assume what I want to do. Whoever wants to win take the lead. I tried to answer the question quick. I didn’t want to give you a long one.

DAN RAFAEL: I like that, I appreciate that.

BERNARD HOPKINS: When I do make a quickie, you don’t like it. Sorry.

DAN RAFAEL: Well, I’ll remind you again, you’re 42?

BERNARD HOPKINS: I’ll be – 42-and-a-half come July.

DAN RAFAEL: OK, we’ll give you the extra couple of months. Are you – you know, you had a lot of the experience in the world, you’ve fought so many top level fighters. You obviously won like the vast majority of your fights. I wondered though, at your age even in great physical condition, are you still equipped to fight three minutes of every round or do you have to use your smarts and take your spots (ph) win to actually mix it up.

BERNARD HOPKINS: I think it’s the opposite when I was in middleweight compared to light heavyweight. When I was in middleweight, I had to reserve certain things because of certain things that I couldn’t – had to deprive myself for, for so many years. Now that I don’t have to do that, the blueprint is June 10, 2006, I came out blazing, came out boxed and fought every round and I didn’t have to do this. This is one of the reasons I’m back. One of the reasons I’m back because, I just found a new body. Somehow I just realized that, you know, that man, I feel so strong. And, you know, six-foot-one, you know, light heavyweight, you know, I gained a couple of inches around the waist, only two. It was 28 and now it’s 30, 31, sometimes it’s 31. I felt so – I mean, it feels so great that now that I can step back on a gas pedal and not have to worry about, you know, I’m going to take him in deep water, I’m going to get him here and I’ll pick my spots here. I can go full blaze, I can go full blazing, and if you believe what Winky says he’s coming right after Bernard Hopkins, then trust me, you will see come July 21st that I’ll have a high ox (ph) punching out – punching what they call it, computer box (ph) whatever the figure out every round how many rounds …

BERNARD HOPKINS: … that’s what they’re going to see.

DAN RAFAEL: Bernard, do you think, you know, before you fought Antonio Tarver, I mean, we found this out later, you had told us, I think your training camp, that the way to do it was to go and get, you know, a good amount above 175 and then bring yourself down to 175 as opposed to just eat your way and make 175 when you were training to get ready. This fight is at 170. Is it actually going to be difficult for you to make 170?BERNARD HOPKINS: No, man. Truthfully, I believe I’m a 168-pounder naturally. I mean, you got to understand, I fought – in 1988, I fought at light heavyweight, believe it or not, Clinton Mitchell (ph).

DAN RAFAEL: And lost.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Right – at light heavyweight, right. In between those years, I floated with super middleweight and middleweight, and then I took myself down to middleweight because that’s where it had to happen at and been there for over many years.So, to me faster, quicker, more explosive at 68. At 75, my talent and my ability and my speed that never leaves me will make me compete and win against any light heavyweight and some slower cruiser weights. So I had the luxury, man, of not destroying what I have by five, or four, or three pounds. I’m not going to go higher than that because you’re in a danger zone. I think it’s one of Roy Jones biggest mistakes.But with me is that you got to understand, the body that I have between 68 and 75 and in some cases in cruiser weight and my ability behind that is a unique thing. Don’t even try to figure it out. Just sit back and enjoy. Sit back and enjoy. Don’t even try to figure it out because it ain’t normal. I’ll just let you see it and enjoy.

RAMONE RODRIGUEZ, BOXINGTALK.COM: Average sport fans believe boxing is a dying sport. What does this fight mean to it, the fact that the two smartest fighters in the game are facing each other? Would you say it’s reminiscent of the 80’s when smart fighters like Hagler and Hearns or Duran were facing each other?

BERNARD HOPKINS: I think – I think absolutely. I think that great fights, great matches brings attention to the sport of boxing. As far as boxing dying, if they mean boxing don’t go away or they mean that boxing is not being looked at, or boxing is not being taken seriously, I think that boxing is always going to be here no matter what we think or what we say. As long as you have ghettos in America, as long as you have poor people that lives in ghetto in America, you’re going to have boxing, and that’s just the way it is. So, boxing will be here way after me and you are gone. And then, third – second or third, but is the thing where – that matches – boxing matches, fighters fighting fighters, that the fighters fighting fights that means something to people in the world brings the fight. Perfect example, Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather, Golden Boy – again, this is a bias statement but it’s a true statement. Golden Boy Promotions have put on in the last – conservatively last year-and-a-half to two, some big major fights, whether it was fighters fighting the same fights from the same company or fighting other fighters, the matches of two individuals makes the big fight. And I’m glad to be a part of a situation where we’re putting a big fight together, and this is another one.And so as long as other promoters understand that it’s a race for time to make great matches, then you’re going to see the Guererro. You’re going to see these fights now. You’re going to see great fights, and that will bring back that fanfare, that excitement of big fights. And then you have also the 24/7, that episode, or that sitcom, or that documentary. And also the one that’s coming up this Saturday, the Margarita fight, you will see, you know, things from my end personally behind the scenes and you’ll see personal behind the scenes of Winky Wright. You understand, we only get what we put out. So, this is everybody’s calling. This is everybody from promoters, TV networks, from everybody. If they want to bring boxing like the good old days, if we really want that, then these are the things that is being done right now. And I see boxing staying here for a long time, not going anywhere and getting back to the big fights, and I think that is right now happening at least with Golden Boy and other matches that’s being made outside of Golden Boy Promotions that’s going to be made in the next six months to a year.

RAMONE RODRIGUEZ: All right, Bernard, and I have one last question, just been thinking about this fight, you have nothing left to prove. You’ve submitted your legacy by making history in different ways throughout your career.

BERNARD HOPKINS: I always have something to prove. I wouldn’t be taking this fight if I didn’t have anything to prove. Shit, I wouldn’t be on this phone if I didn’t have nothing to prove because that’s what keeps me going is that I’ll always have something. Where there’s a personal – where there’s a personal agenda or goal, I’ll always have something – to you all it may seem like that I’ve done everything that I don’t have nothing to prove. But every time I step in the ring, I fight off of something to prove.

RAMONE RODRIGUEZ: What does beating Winky Wright at this point of your career mean to you and what does it do for your legacy?

BERNARD HOPKINS: First, it means – it means to me beating Winky Wright who hasn’t been beaten since, you know, if you want to debate the Vargas fight, I’ll say eight years, 10 years or whatever. Beating a guy that, you know, no one else seems to be able to beat legitimately, if you want to count the Jermain Taylor fight. Beating a Winky Wright to me is like at this age of 42 that I still continue to do it my way and beat the top fighters no matter what my age is at the time of July 21st. To be able to still do it at the level and go away when I feel there is need to go away, and challenge Winky Wright and whatever comes after that if anything comes after that. If they want me to leave, they got to make me leave, beat me there – beat me to the point where no one wants to see Bernard Hopkins. That’s the challenge. That’s the challenge I have on myself. I have something to prove. If Bernard Hopkins don’t have anything left, then prove it.And so I think – I think I don’t want it to become an embarrassment beating up the young guys and then make boxing look like, you know, so dead where you got a 42-year-old senior citizen, you know, beating up guys that shouldn’t be beaten, and I’ll leave if it – if it embarrass boxing, but I doubt it. I think it will show something real unique, and I think it would be really a great accomplishment for me and a lot of other people that say 40 years old is not a death sentence no matter what you do if you’re Bernard Hopkins.

KELLY SWANSON: OK, the champ’s been on the line with us for one hour, so we are going to take one more call and we are going to let him go train. So, operator …

JOSE SANCHEZ, PUERTO RICO: Alongside your (INAUDIBLE) your other nickname you share with, of course, Winky is Tito Trinidad, who recently announced his return to the sport, have you been contacted by his representatives about a possible rematch or has Duncan spoken to De La Hoya about it?

BERNARD HOPKINS: Rematch for you?

JOSE SANCHEZ: With Trinidad (ph) who’s saying he’s going to fight Roy Jones in January.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Listen, man, what do I have to gain fighting Trinidad (ph)? I mean honestly, what do I have possibly to gain? I’m not trying to – I’m not trying to have nobody’s life on my hands, am I like that? What do I gain fighting Tito Trinidad? Honestly? I mean, seriously, I know, you know, you’re from Puerto Rico and I have a lot of fans there.

JOSE SANCHEZ: No, I understand perfectly.

BERNARD HOPKINS: But trust me, what do – did you see his fight with Winky Wright?

JOSE SANCHEZ: Yes.

BERNARD HOPKINS: It doesn’t help boxing and it doesn’t help my legacy or my career. It doesn’t do anything for me – it doesn’t do anything for me but make me look like a bully.

JOSE SANCHEZ: How about – do you think, if you – you’re saying – you commented his career has been – seem like the opposite of yours. I mean, you’ve matured with age. One of your best fights came after your – you were 30 years old. Whereabouts, these last couple of years he’s seem to be taking more punches. He wasn’t as small (INAUDIBLE) do you think (INAUDIBLE) a comeback now at thirty-somewhat years is ill-advised for Tito (ph)?

BERNARD HOPKINS: You talking about Tito (ph) has been taking more punches?JOSE SANCHEZ: I mean, it would seem that in the …

BERNARD HOPKINS: Listen, let me ask you a question, how long have you been on the phone?

JOSE SANCHEZ: For about an hour.

BERNARD HOPKINS: You’ve been on the phone for a whole hour to ask me about Tito (ph) and I got to fight Winky Wright on July 21st. I’m trying to promote my fight, man. I don’t care nothing about Tito, I don’t care nothing about where his future is in boxing. I think – I think he’s a great legend of his people and of boxing itself. He made his history. His time was a longevity time in boxing. This is my time. I’m not going to cheat it with Tito conversation.

July 21st you will see Bernard Hopkins destroying Winky Wright to school and this is not about Tito (ph). This is my time. It’s unfair for you to sit on the phone for an your to talk about Tito Trinidad (ph) who I destroyed a year 911 (ph). It profound of me, you know, I know you probably didn’t mean by it, but I don’t know. To me it’s just ludicrous. I mean, you know, forget Tito. Tito right now is history. He’s one of the great victims of “the executionist”, period. We want to talk about Winky Wright. We’re can talk about Winky Wright and we can talk about July 21st.

JOSE SANCHEZ: Well, thanks for your answer, Bernard, and good luck on the 21st.

KELLY SWANSON: Yes, we’re done and just, please as a reminder, the Countdown Show for Hopkins-Wright will air immediately following the Margarita fight this Saturday live on HBO.

BERNARD HOPKINS: Bye.

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