Bernard Hopkins held a media workout in Philadelphia, PA this week and as is usual for the boisterous living legend he had a lot to say. The 48-year-old Hopkins will be facing the 30-year-old Tavoris Cloud for the light heavyweight title on March 9th at Brooklyn’s Barclay Center. As was evident at the press conference held to announce the fight, Hopkins has no plans to go home beaten. A point he made clear at his workout when speaking to the media. “There is no one saying that I am going to get blown out on March 9 when I step into that ring. There is no one saying that I’m going to lose the fight. They are saying that Tavoris Cloud’s style is my forte. Cloud comes forward and throws bombs and anyone I’ve fought that comes forward, I’ve beaten. The only thing they are saying is that ‘He is 48.’”
And 48 he is. But he does not view himself as a typical 48-year-old. He told the press that he simply does not know what it feels like to be 48, because of the dutiful job he has done taking care of himself, maintaining a strict diet and training regimen throughout his career. “People ask me, ‘What does it feel like to be 48?’ I say that I don’t know because if you ask most people in their late forties or even late thirties how they feel, they might say they’re ready to die because they aren’t healthy and don’t have longevity like me. You can’t put me in the same category as a regular guy.” Also implying that he will continue to keep him self in shape and fight until the age of 50.
While Hopkins makes reference to Cloud calling himself the “Mike Tyson of this era”, he has made it clear that he has a game plan to neutralize Cloud. “I don’t expect Cloud to dance like Ali. I don’t expect him to do anything to buy time. I expect him to come forward. That’s what I would do if I was 30 fighting someone who is almost 50.” However aware of the potential moves of his opponent Hopkins remains optimistic in his skill and ability, “I have to stay busy and I’ll win every round. The cat is out of the bag because I’m not coming to get beaten up. I am so competitive; I know I have the body and skills to still do this.”
As are most men in the twilight of their careers Hopkins seems to have an agenda to secure his legacy. Having broken many records and accomplished feats many thought impossible he maintains that: “Anyone that can beat me, any one that can embarrass me, will become an instant star.” He is not trying to break any new records or go out like a blaze of glory, but more simply preserve his legacy as he stated: “I’m past the stage of breaking records. It’s my legacy that I want to protect. It’s important to me that in my last couple of fights I didn’t put myself on the line by doing one third of the work that I’ve put in all of these years. I refuse to surrender to that kind of mentality.”
As far as a prediction for the fight, Hopkins is naturally picking himself, giving us an in-depth description of what might just happen: “I believe that Cloud’s aggressiveness will make this an action packed fight because he’s thinking of himself as number one because he has the belt. He needs to come in and make adjustments to my style. If he can’t make adjustments, you will see a repeat of the Kelly Pavlik fight. I have to stay busy and I’ll win every round. The cat is out of the bag because I’m not coming to get beaten up.”
With many fans calling this as the last fight for B-Hop it will be interesting to see how it really does play out. Hopkins maintains that this will not be his last foray into the ring but expresses a feeling of honor that he will be leaving his legacy in Brooklyn. That could be some foreshadowing or just reference to the exclusive rights that his promotional firm, Golden Boy, has over the new Brooklyn Venue that he boldly referred to as the “new Mecca of boxing” a term usually reserved for Madison Square Garden which is just a few subway stops away in Manhattan.