Jerry Glick reporting: The big question at the press conference that took place on Wednesday at the fight’s Saturday night venue, the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, NY was; is it him, or is not? For the entire press conference for the IBF Light-heavyweight title fight between defending champion Tavoris “Thunder” Cloud and challenger Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, the person sitting to left of the podium appeared to be Hopkins. I say “appeared” because this person’s face was covered. He wore black pants, a black hoodie, a black cloth across his face, and dark glasses. In short it could have been Hopkins, or it could have been the Lone Ranger.
When Hopkin’s trainer Brother Nazim Richardson finished speaking it would have been the natural course of events for his fighter to speak to the media, especially the talkative B-Hop. Instead, the hooded (masked) man got up, turned and left the dais ending the press conference.
There was a buzz and the general assumption was that, for whatever reason, The Executioner did not attend. But wait; the word sent out was that while Bernard Hopkins wasn’t there, the Executioner was.
After the dais emptied, and the fighters and officials posed for photos this reporter grabbed Golden Boy head man, Richard Schaefer and asked where Hopkins was and why did he skip the event.
“It was Hopkins,” insisted Schaefer. “He just didn’t want to speak. He’s the Executioner, that’s his mindset.”
As we heard from Nazim, who said, in short that Hopkins wants to bring back the old Executioner. “Saturday, not Bernard Hopkins; not B-Hop;” said Nazim. “Saturday you will see the return of the Executioner.”
It all sounds like for the first time in many years we will see the crafty old boxer, turned fighter. “That’s what it sounds to me,” exclaimed the promoter. “And if you look at the style of Tavoris Cloud, it’s certainly a style which I think is perfect for Bernard.”
Will it be a war? Or is this just hype? “We will see,” added Schaefer. “We’ll have to watch. He’s been winning fights for ten years but I’ve never felt this intensity. I think that what he wants to deliver on Saturday night is the exclamation point on his career.”
Will that mean the end of his career? “It may very well be.”
So that being said, if Cloud decides that the way to beat an old man is to make him work hard, or Cloud’s promoter Don King said, “To beat Hopkins he’ll have to fight,” said King. “Because Hopkins is a very masterful guy in the ring, he has great ring experience, he knows all the moves. You’re up against 27 years of experience so you got to fight. As the Brown Bomber said, ‘He can run, but he can’t hide.’ ”
For the 48 year old Hopkins, 52-6-2 (32 KOs), a win will break his own record as the oldest fighter to win a world title, for Cloud, 24-0 (19 KOs), it will be the biggest win of his career. After a flip of a coin, it will be Hopkins who will enter the ring last, traditionally it is the champion who enters second.
The show kicks off at 5PM on Saturday night at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, NY. It is co promoted by Golden Boy and Don King Productions
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