Bernard Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs) will be will be two months shy of 50 when he faces unbeaten Sergey Kovalev (25-0-1, 23 knockouts) in Saturday’s light heavyweight title unification bout at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
He’s just as brash, confident, stoic and abrasive as he was 26 years ago when he had his first pro fight.
Hopkins was battling for any sort of recognition then, and even now as a bonafide boxing star, he still feels like he’s getting the short end of the stick.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Bernard at his media workout in advance of his much-anticipated showdown with Kovalev.
Hopkins discuss race, his legacy and why people will just make excuses when finally takes down the “Krusher.”
BSO: Who would you want to portray you in a film?
BH: 50 Cent. I still hold that thought and that name because I believe that he’s the perfect image when it comes to representing where we come from — no matter if you live in any five boroughs of New York City or Philadelphia, Detroit, [Washington] D.C., wherever.
BSO: What can Sergey Kovalev expect from you next Saturday night?
BH: You already know! “There’s nothing different about me. There will be a big difference in what Kovalev sees from me, compared to the other guys he’s faced before. This guy was born in 1983, and I had my first fight in 1988; he was just out of diapers man. I mean look at the age gap between us, there is an 18-year difference, so everything he thinks he knows I’ve already been there and done that countless times against some of the best ever. Everything he thinks he’s going to find out on Nov. 8, it’s going to be 10-times worse, in terms of what he thinks and what he believes he trained for. His trainer, (John David Jackson) can’t tell him what to expect strategy wise, because he can’t look at his tape against me in 1997 and see how unsuccessful he was against me. What’s Jackson going to do, show him his tape against me.
BSO: Considering you are two months shy of 50, would this be your biggest win?
BH: I’ve said over and over again, nothing of this is planned and this fight won’t have everybody paying homage to Bernard Hopkins.n fact, it will enflame some people even more. Folks are really going to be upset now. You know human beings are screwed up, man. You know they have problems. I’m cool, I don’t need the praise. The same people who will praise you will cut your throat the next day. You see it everyday on TV and in the news.
BSO: Why do you feel so many people are against you at times?
BH: There’s a god of this world. “Some say the mass media is the god of this world. It’s like a song, like that ‘Happy.’ They shoved it down my throat. At first I hated it. Why I got to be happy? My dog died. But it ended up being one of my favorite songs. They put one of those songs out every 20 years or so. No matter how bad your life is, no matter how legitimate your reasons for being upset, they say, ‘Don’t worry, be happy.’ Song’s only three minutes right, then you stop being happy. They control human beings, like cattle. How do a sheepdog keep 50 or 100 sheeps in order? I’m watching a dog keep a herd on TV, and I’m thinking that’s the way the system got most human beings: ‘Eat this. Drink that.’ ” Well I don’t conform to that.
BSO: Do people truly appreciate the things you are accomplishing?
BH: No one expected me not only to become what I became, but they thought I’d be gone 10 or 15 years ago. If you really look at it, I have done the American Dream that people from every culture have died on boats to come here to live. I have done all of that and then you look back and say, Wait a minute, what’s wrong here? A lot of people don’t have the heart to say it, but I do.
BSO: Are you the best ever?
BH: I just want to make sure that when there is debate about Bernard Hopkins’ legacy, that people will be up all hours of the night debating arguments amongst the world of the experts on trying to figure out where we put this, or do we start this new label, where to start Bernard at the top and anybody else that comes after that underneath.
BSO: The ‘Alien.’ What does that mean to you, and how did it come about?
BH: Well, first, it wasn’t a joke. I’m very, very serious about the idea that I am different than human beings that I’ve talked to, and human beings that I interact with who can’t understand me, but I can understand them. So naw, it’s not a joke. It wasn’t a joke.
“The Alien” is the difference between the average person who has a lifestyle that’s not on the radar of an alien. So when you can have that strong discipline to be able to not get involved in a sport and play of this world, whether you’re successful especially, or not successful, then you are looked upon as being strange, different or weird.
Not of this world. So, I’m neither of those things, but I am an alien. So that’s where I came up with I have to be an alien, I was diagnosed as being an alien. If you watch “24/7″ Dr. Pasternak explained as much as he can, and I don’t think he had his license taken since the “24/7″ was shown last week, or this past Saturday.
I really believe and understand that I am different and not a part of this world, but in the world. So that’s why people can’t understand how I can be so disciplined around all the things, recreational things to do when you’re successful, having a little cocktail or a little party, or a little celebration, or as they say, the humans, let your hair down.