Former Two-Division World Champion and Future Hall of Famer Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KOs) and Light Heavyweight Contender Joe Smith Jr. (22-1, 18 KOs) hosted a Los Angeles press conference earlier this week to discuss their 12-round battle, scheduled for December 17 at the Forum in Inglewood, California.
The fight to be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing.
Below is what the fighters, their trainers, managers and promoter had to say at the press conference:
BERNARD HOPKINS, Former Two-Division World Champion and Future Hall of Famer:
"This is history, we have been here many times where history has been made. This is obviously different than everything I have ever done, because it is the Final 1. To be able to have the Final 1 in LA, where the city of stars are trying to be stars, however you cut it, it couldn’t have been better with the history placed in the DNA that the Forum has produced.
"It is fitting that the end of a twenty-nine year career, since 1988 is in a historic place at the Forum in Inglewood, CA. This is something that came as an opportunity to be here. I couldn’t tell you that it would be in this arena-it just happened, and here I am against an incredible opponent.
"I don’t want anyone to say Joe Smith Jr. gave me anything-give me an opportunity and give me a door and I’ll open it myself. I don’t’ have to convince anyone of anything. This is not emotional. What I am going to do is show you why I have been named three different names in boxing from "The Executioner" to "B-Hop" to "The Alien" they all exist in me.
"On December 17th you will see "The Executioner," it will all come full circle. This press conference is just a warm up. Win, lose or draw, there is no excuse-Final 1."
JOE SMITH JR., Light Heavyweight Contender:
"I’m so glad I was chosen to fight Bernard Hopkins in his final fight on December 17th at the Forum. I’m going to train very hard for this fight and take full advantage of it. I’m looking forward to putting on a great show for everyone."
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions:
"As you know, we are calling this the "Final 1," and Bernard has expressed this is the final one. We are really excited to be putting together this card. We want to thank HBO for putting this card together.
"December 17th will be historical. I want to say coming out party, but it will be the last hoorah, as a champion goes out in his terms, in his way. Only legends can do that and superstars who transcend the sport.
"What excited me about this fight is that Bernard is not fighting someone who is a walk in the park, he is fighting a difficult fight, and this gentleman has every opportunity in the book to win and win a world title. This is Hopkins, this is who Hopkins chose. Joe Smith Jr. has an amazing record and an outstanding knockout percentage that is unheard of in his division.
"Hopkins will be an athlete that will transcend the sport, not just for what he has accomplished in the ring, but for outside of it, and that is huge. I am very excited and happy that this fight will be taking place in an arena where I began my professional career. It is an honor for me and thank you for giving Los Angeles and Angelenos an opportunity to watch this fight.
"Leading up to the event, we have some great events coming up. The annual Oscar De La Hoya Foundation Toy Giveaway will be taking place the day of the fight. We want to get the community involved, not only because yours truly is from here and I began my career here-but because we are celebrating a legend, such as Bernard in a way he should be honored.
"Thank you to our sponsor, Tecate. I am proud to announce that Tecate will be sponsoring boxing in a whole new way in 2017, everyone will be blown away by how they will bring boxing to the next level.
"What makes Bernard Hopkins is that he doesn’t stop, he keeps going and surprises people. He would continue until he was 60 if he could, that’s what a legend is, he takes care of himself and keeps going.
JOE DEGUARDIA, President and CEO of Star Boxing:
"It is certainly great to be here in LA at the Forum where so much history has been made. This fight was really easy to make, and that is a testament to Bernard Hopkins, because most fighters would shy away from a puncher like Joe Smith Jr. It is an honor and I thank Bernard and Oscar for taking this fight."
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October 27 2016