By Clive Bernath: Those that have spent even a small amount of time in the company of Bernard Hopkins will know that not only is he a great defensive master in the ring but also a highly intelligent individual outside of it. ‘The Alien’ as he now calls himself is an astute businessman, who is as streetwise as he is philosophical. Whichever way you choose to describe Mr Hopkins one thing is for sure; the aforementioned attributes as well as his boxing skills have allowed him to stay at the top of his trade for more than 20 years and kept him active at the highest level as he embarks on his 50th year of life.
This Saturday the IBF and WBA light heavyweight champion from Philadelphia will attempt to unify the titles when he faces the big punching unbeaten WBO light-heavyweight king Sergey Kovalev in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
On Tuesday Hopkins took part in a media workout in Brooklyn, New York and as ever he was good value as talkative as ever and reminisced over his past glories.
"There are so many things I’ve done that the world of boxing has witnessed,” said Hopkins. “It’s going to be difficult for the boxing people to pick one of my performances as the best.
"I’ve done so many unpredictable things and so profoundly. Even the people who want to go against me, are afraid to go against me. They’ve been wrong so many times. A lot of them are just being mum right now. They must feel I can still do things.
"This is a great position to be in. I don’t really believe there is any fighter, in any decade that can be in my position of luxury that I’ve been in for many years.
"Early on in my career I had the kind of anxious where you couldn’t sleep at night. That anxiousness is like a virus we all have in us. Some you can deal with but some will wipe you out.
"The Pavlik(Kelly) fight was the first time I heard the masses put the word knockout attached to my opponent. I’m real keen on what people say. Ninety percent of it might be garbage, but something in there might be the plan. That woke me up and I knew I wanted to destroy.
Facing such a devastating unbeaten puncher like Kovalev, who has stopped 23 of 25 opponents is a dangerous fight for anyone, and Hopkins certainly does not need to take on such a dangerous opponent. But Hopkins is a fighter and he continually wants to prove himself and preserve his legacy.
"I didn’t need to take any fight for the last 10 years. But I’ve always fought the best and I’ve always wanted to prove myself to be the best,” insists Hopkins.
"I always not only want push the envelope in my career but I also have an itch for going against the grain.
“Look at me at 50, I’m going to eat right and live right so I can take less punches and look normal.
"This fight isn’t about boxing, it’s something deeper than that. I was made to be where I’m at. I just had to go through some challenges, so that I can educate others later."
There is no denying that Hopkins has pushed the boundaries over years in terms of being outspoken and he’s not exactly the most exciting fighter in boxing history but he is an
excellent defensive boxer and he will be remembered for years to come as one of the greatest boxers in the history of the sport. Hopkins is right, enjoy him now because we are unlikely to witness his like again for many years to come.
November 5, 2014