Photos: Tom Casino / SHOWTIME
Former two-division world champion and future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins held a media workout today at Joe Hand’s Boxing Gym in Philadelphia as he continues to prepare for his December 18 bout on SHOWTIME against current WBC light heavyweight world champion Jean Pascal. With a victory over Pascal, Hopkins, who turns 46 in January, would become the oldest fighter in boxing history to win a significant world title.
Here’s what he had to say…
On his fight against Jean Pascal:
“I am doing something out of character. I am fighting in Canada. The stakes are raised more than normal when you walk into another guy’s territory.
“I have no problem fighting in Canada. I am at my best when I walk into another guy’s home. If he is good, I have to be super good.
“There is no magic trick to this. December 18 you are going to see me win this fight. Not just go the distance, but win by TKO or stoppage.
“I get a chance to be the oldest fighter in history to win a title. I get to continue to make history. How many times can an athlete do that?
“Winning is the most important thing. This is the playoffs. There is no tomorrow. No excuse. I am not going to embarrass myself.
“A lot of people believe that I can and will win this fight.”
On Jean Pascal:
“There is added pressure for him when you fight in your home. You get nervous because you don’t want to disappoint.
“A young guy like Pascal brings confidence to the table. He is confident. He is the champion.
“Pascal challenged me. Pascal called me out. He is risking his belt, and I am going to make him wish he hadn’t.
“Being young is a blessing. Having a young mind, young body, but you don’t look at things the way an accomplished person does.
“Either I am in trouble or he [Pascal] is in trouble. If they have told him the truth about me and my abilities, he is in trouble.
“Pascal called my name. The pressure is more on him than on me.
“I am going to disect this guy. I am going to take him apart. Take him out of his comfort zone.
“I have to show that this guy is talented, but show a different level of education on my part. I am going to do the opposite of everything he does.”
“Training when you are older, you do get aches and pains that you didn’t experience. You get up at 6am when you don’t have to. That is the trickery of fighting at this age. It is a psychological thing. A mental thing that comes with experience.
“I love training in my hometown. People love you, protect you and respect you. People see me and I don’t have to have body guards. I am the most approachable athlete who has ever walked this land.
“Boxing is mental. The car doesn’t run the engine, the engine runs the car. The wear and tear have not taken their toll on my intellect.
“Once you get old, your worst enemy is youth. Ask some housewives that. Ask some corporate guys that, but every once in a while you get something different…and that is me. I am the most health conscious, clean-living person on earth.”
NAAZIM RICHARDSON, Hopkins’ Trainer
“Bernard is a historian. I see additional motivation in him. He is very interested in increasing the quality of his legacy and that is what this fight will do.
“Jean Pascal has physical ability, but you can’t measure a man’s ambition just by watching his past fights.
“Froch was able to meet and exceed Pascal’s level of ambition, and that is what Bernard can do as well.”