CAROLINA CRISIS: THIS IS BIGGER THAN YOU By Michael...
Bernard Hopkins: “I’m not coming to get beaten up.”
The Executioner” Bernard Hopkins will attempt to break his own record as the oldest fighter to win a world title. The 48-year-old Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KOs) will challenge 30-year-old, undefeated IBF light-heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud 24-0, 19 KOs) on Saturday, March 9, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. HBO will televise.
Many people ask Hopkins the same question year-after-year. Just how does this old man keep up with the younger fighters that are not of his generation?
“I’ve been on a path that I keep my body on the right track and duck more punches than I take,” Hopkins said. “I can fight until I’m 50 years old. The less you get hit, the more you can speak and count your money.”
Hopkins has made a career out of neutralizing fighters speed and punch-out put. Hopkins was successful in neutralizing the effectiveness of Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya, Joe Calzaghe, Roy Jones, Jr., Antonio Tarver, Jean Pascal, and Chad Dawson. Hopkins is eagerly waiting the chance to add Cloud’s name to his growing resume.
“Tavoris Cloud is an aggressive young fighter,” Hopkins said. “I heard him at the press conference in New York City. He described himself as the Mike Tyson of this era.”
Cloud has a tough-guy, meanness about him. He is relentless and fights hard, but he isn’t knocking guys out concussively the way Tyson did in his prime ages ago at appears. But the young champion will present Hopkins with the challenge of looking spectacular fighting in Brooklyn.
“I am going to be glad and excited to be at Barclays Center,” Hopkins added. “It is the new Mecca of Boxing in New York. It used to be the hood. Now it’s known as ‘Hello Brooklyn. I get a chance to leave my legacy in Brooklyn. Not only am I honored, but I’ve earned that.”
Hopkins unified the IBF/WBC/WBA and WBO middleweight championships and made 20 successful title defenses (1995-2005). Hopkins also won the WBC and IBO light-heavyweight titles, in addition to become the oldest fighter to fight for, win, defend, and lose a world championship.
“I’m past the stage of breaking records,” Hopkins said. “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.”
Hopkins added: “Anyone that can beat me, any one that can embarrass me, will become an instant star.”
Cloud maybe destined to become a star. He is destined to end what has and will always be Bernard Hopkins’ Cinderella story of how he became a converted felon to a Hall of Fame professional boxing champion. Cloud has to take the fight away from Hopkins; something very few fighters have been able to do. If you look at Hopkins’ defeats to Roy Jones, Jr., Jermain Taylor, Joe Calzaghe, and Chad Dawson, Hopkins’ defeats (some controversial) were against guys with faster hands. Hopkins can be aggressive like Cloud, but Cloud simply needs to be busier than Hopkins.
“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,” Hopkins said. “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.”
Against Pavlik, Hopkins displayed an amazing arsenal of ring generalship, movement, combination punching, and defense. Hopkins’ punches were clean, sharp, and hard. Hopkins did everything he wanted to Pavlik accept knock him out.
“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. 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.”
Hopkins promises victory.
“There is no one saying that I am going to get blown out on March 9 when I step into that ring,” Hopkins added. “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.’”