This weekend the stage will be set at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York. As Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins takes on Tavoris “Thunder” Cloud in one of the biggest fights of his life. The 12 round boxing match is all or nothing for the IBF Light Heavyweight World Championship. During a media conference call Hopkins and Cloud discussed the upcoming fight.
What drives you to keep boxing?
Bernard Hopkins: What drives me is that, I’m not satisfied, even though I know I’ve done a lot to be grateful for, and I am. Trust me, I am. God knows I am. But I’m the kind of person that if I’m not satisfied, not unsatisfied or selfish, not to a point where it’s nothing to be done. So I’m the type of person, again, when I’m not satisfied I keep driving. I wasn’t satisfied with just being a model citizen in America, in the city of Philadelphia, so I went further with that. And my past is well documented, and I went past that. That means that I wasn’t satisfied, and as I grow in life and mature, I’ve realized that now, that even though I’ve done a lot where most would say, Bernard, you know, just go ahead, about your business, I mean, I should be the one to dictate where I go and when it’s time to go, because if I listened to most people, I wouldn’t have never made history in a lot of things. So what keeps me going is I’m not satisfied and I know there’s a lot of other things to accomplish, maybe not in the ring, because it must stop soon, it will, everybody has to recognize that, and then you’ve got the young fighters under Golden Boy Promotion that need our help.
What makes you think this time you’re going to pull another upset?
Bernard Hopkins: I know I’m the better fighter. I know I have the better fighter’s IQ and I am also the better-conditioned fighter. I believe that when I go in that ring and Cloud is thinking something else, he’s going to be very, very surprised. It’s natural. He’s in his early 30s, I believe, fighting someone that’s almost double his age, I mean, it’s natural, it’s natural that a person will say “Whoa, hey man, you know, this isn’t going to happen to me. He’s a couple years younger than my father or mother.” So that is the reality of numbers, yes, you can’t mess with that. But then when you step in there I think that’s when, as a matter of fact, not think, I believe that’s when I know that he’s going to have to go ahead and adjust mentally and then adjust physically, and that’s when a fight really begins. I mean, this isn’t the first time a fighter ever froze up like that in the ring when you start seeing something a little different than what he was speaking about prior to the fight. So I’m very motivated for this fight, for a lot of reasons. I know I’m not fighting his promoter, but at the end of the day my career was based on beating, like I say, a rival now, not even a rival, but somebody that to me personally was somebody that played a very real importance of my legacy, good or bad. But I’m glad to be able to reunite the titles.
How much of a motivating factor is it for you to be able to break your own record for becoming the oldest champion in boxing history at age 48?
Bernard Hopkins: It will mean a lot to me, but it will mean more to the young guys that I see not only in the gym but around the world in boxing that admire me to understand if you keep your body clean, you keep it clean in and out and you do the right things, you might not fight until you’re in your 40s, but you have a great possible career. And my thing is that I’m an example and I might as well get all I can get out of it and let everybody see what it can be when I’m gone, because I doubt very seriously that you will see a longevity in any sport of a Bernard Hopkins in a long time, not in my lifetime. And maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m wrong, but I wouldn’t want to hold my breath for all those years to see what another Bernard Hopkins in any sport, whether it’s basketball, whether it’s football, whether it’s hockey.
In Bernard Hopkins’ last fight he didn’t look very good, and that’s probably the worst he’s looked in ten years. Do you think he’s ripe for the picking right now?
Tavoris Cloud: I mean, he could be. To me, right now he’s the most dangerous fighter in the world. But he could be ripe for the picking. We’ll know once he gets hit a couple of times.