Photos: Rich Kane – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Former two-division world champion Bernard Hopkins and undefeated IBF light heavyweight world champion Tavoris Cloud faced off at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York at the press conference to officially announce their March 9 world title fight at Barclays Center which will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing.
BERNARD HOPKINS, Three-Time And Two-Division World Champion & Oldest Fighter In History To Win A World Championship: “Age is not an enemy to me. The clock is not something to try to stop. The man upstairs can’t even do that. You can get the daylight to be earlier or the darkness to be later, but the clock has to move forward.
“People will always tell me, ‘You can’t do this. You can’t do that.’ When I hear that, it gives me motivation. I know there are some things in life that are out of reach. Some people are not capable of doing certain things. I have been doing this half of my life. I know what I am capable of.
“Some people are trying to write my destiny, but when you see a guy that has a track record that has proven to be more right than wrong over 28 years, Cloud has to say that he has a challenge. In reality, he is going to have to train harder than he ever has before.
“[To Cloud] If you ain’t ready now, seven or eight weeks out, then you’re in trouble.
“I’m letting you all know that the smart money goes on me. The other money goes somewhere else. If you want to bet against me, that’s your prerogative.
“[To Cloud] You’re 20 years younger than me, but you are looking at the number, not looking at the man.
“If you’ve never thrown punch and you’re making a judgment about me, then you’re a fool. You are making a decision based on what you think, not what you know.
“I am not underestimating Cloud. He isn’t beating a Yusuf Mack here. He is trying to beat a legacy. He is trying to beat a legend.
“Don and I are alumni of the sport. He helped build my career. At the end of the day, everyone he threw in front of me helped secure my legacy in the middleweight division. I am at least 15-0 against him. He really helped me without even knowing it.
“I understand that I have a blessing to not only make history once but two, three and four times. I understand you will miss me when I’m not here.
“Who is going to run from a 48 year old man? Cloud isn’t going to run. He’s going to fight. I’m going to be the professor and teach him his ABC’s.
“I have never been the favorite in anything in my life. No matter what I’ve done. I would rather be the underdog than the favorite.
“After I beat Cloud, Don King will have to pawn his jacket [to make money], and that jacket is just as old as me.
“[To Cloud] Don King is going to make sure you do your business. His empire is on your shoulders. You’re the last horse. There’s no one left in the stable.
“[To Don King] Enjoy your day because after March 9, there will be a big celebration of your long lasting promotional legacy as I send you into retirement.”
TAVORIS CLOUD, Undefeated IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion: “I want to thank Bernard Hopkins for calling me out for this fight. It’s weird when a champion gets called out, but like he [Hopkins] says, he’s different.
“I am willing to accept the challenge. I don’t duck. I don’t run.
“On March 9, I’ll be in great shape. I’ll be here to put on the fight on my life.
“People ask me if I’m worried about Bernard’s experience, his tricks and this and that. He might have more tricks than me, but I’m going to throw punches. You have to throw punches to win fights. I’m definitely going to win the fight by throwing punches.
“Training camp is going well. I’m going to be in the best shape of my life. I’m going to bring my A plus game.
“Hopkins doesn’t faze me. He’s up there banging on the podium and yelling. It just goes in one ear and out the other.
“My opinion is that he’s talking to convince himself and motivate himself. It isn’t directed at me.
“I’m game for his experience. I’m not inexperienced myself. If he’s going to be dirty with me, I can be dirty right back.
“I think Don won the war of words against Bernard. Don got into Bernard’s head. Don got Bernard thinking about what he was saying, not the other way around.”
DON KING, Renowned Boxing Promoter & President, Don King Productions: “Hello Brooklyn! Bernard is in foreign territory. I’m at home here in Brooklyn. He doesn’t know the half of what it’s going to mean fighting here. Brooklynites know what time it is. It’s time to put you [Hopkins] out to rest and reside.
“I’m delighted to be here at the new Barclays Center. It’s spiritually redeeming. It’s alive. It’s a family affair here. I’m looking forward to a sold-out crowd at Barclays Center on March 9. We’re looking to make history here in Brooklyn. History in this new beautiful building,
“Bernard Hopkins is one of the greatest fighters of our time. He has shown the tenacity and perseverance. It’s evident that he is different.
“When the hands of time are moving, the old moves on and the young moves forward. Bernard is stubborn. He is resistant. Something has got to give and give it will on March 9.
“When you see the new face of glory, the excitement of what youth can do, you believe in God and that is deeply imbedded in the heart and mind of Tavoris Cloud.
“I’m happy to be here at Barclays Center. I am delighted to be associated with Golden Boy. I want friend and foe alike to be a part of this history making night when we let Bernard Hopkins take this weight off of his shoulders.
“There was a lot of thunder and weather that happened here in New York when Hurricane Sandy came through and devastated so many homes. With his [Tavoris] name being Cloud, we are going to work toward helping those affected by Sandy.”
NAAZIM RICHARDSON, Hopkins’ Trainer: “Anybody that knows anything about boxing on this level knows Bernard Hopkins. You may not be familiar with Tavoris Cloud, but I’m familiar with him. He’s an exciting fighter. He’s focused and very dangerous. I know what this kid is capable of doing. He’s going to be up for fighting a legend.
“I was on tour with Bernard and Don King and you are getting a small preview of what they can say. I was with Don in Puerto Rico and he was Puerto Rican then and he’s a Brooklynite now. That is the magic of Don King. He’s one of the icons of our sport and you’ve got to respect that.
“You want to see this fight because our history has shown, the more dangerous the opponent, the higher his game rises and Tavoris Cloud is a dangerous opponent.
“When you come to Brooklyn to see this fight, be prepared to see a fight of the year candidate. You want to be able to say you saw it live. You want to be able to say you saw it here at the Barclays Center.”
DAVID ITSKOWITCH, Chief Operating Officer, Golden Boy Promotions: “I would have let Bernard and Don keep talking, but we would have been here for days.
“If you weren’t able to be here on October 20, Barclays Center is an unbelievable venue. It’s state of the art. There is a great staff here with great customer service.
“Bernard Hopkins thrives off of people doubting him.
“For those of you who didn’t see Bernard’s record breaking fight with Pascal, before the seventh round, Bernard decided to drop to the canvas and do push ups. It was amazing.
“It is always an honor to introduce a future first ballot Hall of Famer and legend in the sport…Bernard Hopkins.”
JAMES PRINCE, Cloud’s Manager: “We are very excited about this opportunity. Out of all of the fights that are coming here [to Barclays Center] this year, this is the one you want to see.
“What can you say about Bernard Hopkins? He holds his own very well, and Cloud is going to hold his own on March 9. It’s going to be a war.”