Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins impressed the sports world last December when he challenged Light Heavyweight World Champion Jean Pascal in an attempt to break George Foreman’s record as the oldest fighter in boxing history to win a significant world title. After Hopkins’ December 18, 2010 fight with Pascal ended in a controversial draw decision, Hopkins is looking to make history again in a rematch with Pascal, but this time he will be 192 days older than Foreman was when he beat Michael Moorer for the Heavyweight World Championship on November 5, 1994.
“This [surpassing of George Foreman’s record] is a hell of a milestone. This is something that not any old fighter gets to do, or most athletes from any sport for that matter. I am glad to be able to represent that at this stage of my career. I have been able to reach this milestone because of things I have overcome [in my life] and I am motivated by the legacy I will leave.”
“I am already going in a champion. At the Montreal press conference, Pascal was trying to be cute and he gave me his belts. I never gave them back, so I have them in my possession. I just have to make it official next Saturday because I don’t think anyone should have a belt unless they win in the ring.
“Fifty percent of me is always going to be 100 percent [of someone else] in today’s world of athletics. When people look at me, they should think ‘He is not the norm.’
“I don’t know how accidents happen, most accidents aren’t good. This one [my longevity] is a good accident.
“The only way you can get experience is from the clock. Time works with some people and against some people. Fortunately, the clock has worked in my favor.
“The difference between me in my 20’s and me in my 40’s is that I have learned not to waste a lot of energy. When you are young, you are filled with raw emotions and you want to prove that you are the new young lion in the jungle. Pascal is a new lion, but I am the old lion.
“We have a lot of healthy things now that we didn’t have years ago. I get my food at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Joe Louis didn’t have Trader Joe’s. Ali didn’t have Whole Foods. Society is paying attention to what is healthy as compared to what we had years ago and I am taking advantage of that.
“For me, this fight is more about the history than redemption.
“I am the professor and Pascal is the student. Sometimes the student thinks he knows more than the professor. Every now and then, you have to show them that because you know a little doesn’t mean you know as much as the teacher. I think he respects what I have done. He would be a fool not to.
“Fans can expect drama this time around. I am going to throw a lot of punches. I am going to be out of character in the way I fight this fight. It won’t be the Bernard Hopkins people have seen the last couple of years.
“I am going in there with one objective…to win by any legal boxing means necessary and then get out of there with the record broken and the titles won.
“I have been training in downtown Philadelphia to remind myself that I still have to fight like a hungry man that wants something. I had to go back to where I started.
“Right now, I am the Philly franchise. The Flyers are out. The Sixers are out. The Phillies are playing, but it is early in the season. I am the franchise right now and I have delivered more than I have failed. I am going to bring the championship home.
“When I can no longer perform physically and mentally, then I will know I am ready to leave the sport. It is the same thing that happens at any job. You know when it is time to leave. I have too much pride as a man and too much pride for Philly to embarrass myself by staying in boxing too long.”