July 10, 2001 - By Paul Upham: Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins is ready to prove to the world that he has always been the uncrowned undisputed middleweight champion and will prove it on September 15 at Madison Square Garden in New York when he faces the undefeated Felix “Tito” Trinidad.
“My strategy is to win the fight,” said Hopkins (right). “Like any war the adversary don't tell the people what he is actually going to do. I tell you that he is going to inflict pain on me. I hope so, because that's going to make me inflict more pain on him. We are going to be doing a lot of talking over the next 7-8 weeks until September,” continued Hopkins, 39-2-1-(28).
“The bottom line is that I am going to be the Executioner. I am going to show you all that Trinidad (left) was a great champion, was a great warrior, but every now and then the underdog does have his day. I am bringing everything that I've strived for to the forefront for one particular fight that can define my legacy forever on September 15. My strategy is to do what others didn't do to Trinidad and that is beat him. He's undefeated, I want his record. I want his fame and I want his money.”
The Philadelphia fighter feels that he has always been disrespected throughout his career, but this has helped inspire him to become the great champion that he is today. “If this wasn't happening to Bernard Hopkins, then I don't think I would be champion of the world. People would say because of my longevity and titles defences, ‘don't you feel disrespected?’
“That's the normal way of thinking. I'm the opposite. Why do I have to be the opposite mentally, because that's what's kept me in the race, being disrespected,” said Hopkins. I've been motivated by being disrespected. Not angry, not bothered but motivated and that's been my ace in the hole.”
Even though he missed out on a re-match with Roy Jones Jr. earlier this year, Hopkins feels that Don King’s middleweight tournament has been a blessing for him that will give him the opportunity to receive the rewards he has always felt he deserved.
“The reason this tournament has happened, because Bernard Hopkins, Lou DiBella and my team, sat down and said, ‘hey, the Roy Jones fight fell through in February because of whatever reason Roy thinks it is’. Now a great opportunity has come where I can defend the title in my weight class where I am comfortable and show the world that I have always been the undisputed middleweight champion of the world. This is the opportunity now to get it and I will not choke.”
Complaints by Trinidad over his actions in New York today show the IBF champ that the Puerto Rican will regret taking the fight with Hopkins. “You don't know that Tito had quit in him until you see him start complaining, he never done that. You never see Tito try to box like Ali because that is not his style. You are going to see him do that,” said Hopkins.
“He's going to be thinking to himself, ‘why didn't my father teach me how to box, because right now I need to be able to buy some time’. His way of buying time is going in the cup, as Fernando Vargas, as David Reid. But that's good. Warriors are taught to do certain things to buy time and if he goes there, then I'll tell you, we both will have points deducted from us. If he keeps it clean, I keep it clean.”