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Pascal, Hopkins transcript

Last week WBC light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal and future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins held international media conference calls to discuss their world championship rematch on Saturday at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. Their first fight, which took place December 18, 2010, ended in a controversial majority draw. Here’s the official transcript for both calls.

Jean Pascal

Yvon Michel
Thank you, everybody, for joining on for this conference call. First, I would like to thank all our partners for this event HBO, Golden Boy Promotions, Gary Shaw Promotions, and InterBox for helping us to put on a very exceptional show here in Montreal. We are ten days from the fight. Next week is fight week, and everyday there will be activities. It’s going to be a boxing week in Montreal. We will have public trainings, press conferences, the weigh-in, and then the event.

It is going to be a great show. We have nine fights that are going to be shown, especially the two great fights starting with Chad Dawson vs. Adrian Diaconu. Both are former WBC Light Heavyweight champions. They will try to qualify themselves to fight for the title again. Then there is the great rematch of the fight between Pascal and Hopkins which took place on December 18 of last year. So, Jean Pascal will be trying again to retain his title against Bernard Hopkins, who will try to make history once again by trying to be the oldest boxer in history to ever win a world championship title.

Right now we have a little over 13,000 tickets sold. We are expecting a crowd near or a little over 17,000 people. Tickets are still available in Canada. It will be also on pay-per-view too. Canadians can go to Shaw TV, Bell TV, Sasktel and Viewer’s Choice Canada.

Jean Pascal was born in Haiti, but moved in Canada when he was four years old. So he was raised in Canada and learned boxing in Canada. He has represented Canada in numerous international competitions, including the PanAm Games, the Commonwealth Games, and the Olympic Games in 2004. He turned pro in 2005. He became World Champion in 2009. Since he moved to the light heavyweight division, he has fought seven times and has never lost. It’s going to be his fifth light heavyweight title defense when he gets in the ring against Hopkins on May 21st.

His trainer is Marc Ramsay. He’s been with Marc Ramsay since his amateur days. He was with Marc when he was on the Canada National Team. So, when he turned pro, he kept Marc and most of his people who were with him at that time.

He’s a great athlete and has a lot of ambitions. His ambition is to become an ace in boxing, and become the best of his kind. He is entertaining. He’s spectacular. Another big thing is that he wants to be a role model. He always was careful in everything he has done and said in his career. So, he believes that he is in the position to be a role model for society. A role model for youth in the sport, and one of his goals is to make sure that boxing is a clean and straightforward sport. On May 21st, he wants to start his own dynasty and be Bernard Hopkins’ successor. So, I introduce to you, Jean Pascal.

Jean Pascal
Hi, everybody. I’m really excited to talk to you. I’ve been training really hard for the rematch against Bernard Hopkins. I’m totally prepared. I’m well prepared. I know today you guys are going to ask me a lot of questions about those tests that I asked Bernard to do. But if you think about it seriously, if Obama was willing to show his birth certificate, then why can’t Hopkins take the test?

Q
How do you feel 10 days out from the fight?

J. Pascal
I know it’s going to be a tough challenge, but he I am a fighter of challenges. I know that I need to bring my A-game and that is exactly what I am preparing to do.

Q
I want to know, do you regret calling Hopkins a cheater at the press conference in Montreal? Are you concerned when he says that he might take legal action and try to get a lot of money from you after the fight?

J. Pascal
That just makes me laugh, because if he wants to sue me, I will file a complaint because he said he’s going to kill me. Also, it’s sad that we have to go through all of this for central blood tests. If we are both clean, let’s just take the test, simple as that.

Q
You think he’s trying to get inside your head by saying that he wants to kill you?

J. Pascal
He’s trying to make me quiet. But, that won’t work. I’m going to bark like a dog, and I’m going to explode in the nation.

Q
Yvon, is there any different drug testing going on this fight than normally would be done in the province?

Y. Michel
Not that I know of.

Q
I’ve been hearing that maybe there was going to be some sort of test. What is the general testing procedure for a major fight in Canada?

Y. Michel
No. I believe there’s a choice between before or after the fight. But, what I was told is that the procedure will be the same, but there might be a more extensive testing on the urine sample.

Q
So, in other words, test for more things than they maybe do normally?

Y. Michel
Maybe. It was a possibility that I was told that the procedure will be exactly the same.

Q
Jean, my question is for you now. I understand where you’re coming from about you’d like to make sure everybody’s clean. I can appreciate that without question. But, do you think that Bernard is cheating?

J. Pascal
I don’t think Bernard’s cheating. I said that at the press conference, “Bernard, I know you’re a clean fighter.” He said “who am I to ask him that?” I wasn’t going to be disrespectful. I just wanted to make sure that the fans’ voices were heard to let them know that we participate in a clean sport. That’s it.

Q
Well, when this came up, was there any negotiation for a fight. Both sides will ask for different things whether it’s the kind of gloves you wear or what the weight’s going to be for the fight, all kinds of different things. Did you ever, at any point when your people were negotiating this re-match, think to ask the Hopkins’ side to put this in the contract so there would be no issues as opposed to bringing it up at the last minute?

Y. Michel
I can answer that. Jean asked us about it, but not for the first fight.

Q
No, I mean the second fight, Yvon.

Y. Michel
No, for the second fight, it was too late. Once the fight has been ordered by the WBC and had been bought by HBO, we were forced into the fight. We didn’t have that negotiation power to add anything that was not in the first fight.

J. Pascal
Because it is the rematch, Hopkins doesn’t need to agree with any extra things that I’m bringing to the table.

Q
I want to ask you about the fight specifically, aside from all this stuff about the drug testing. Jean, it was a very close fight in the first fight. You are younger by – you are 28, Bernard’s 46 – so there is a big, big age difference there. You should be entering your prime or in your prime right now as a fighter. Was it a harder fight than you anticipated? If so, what can you do better in the second fight to make sure that you get the W this time?

J. Pascal
It wasn’t harder than I thought because I knew Bernard was still a good fighter. I know when you fight with Hopkins, it’s always complicated. He has a lot of experience. I’m young, but I did some things wrong last time. But, with the rematch, I’m going to expect to be me and to show the world that I’m a great fighter, and I’m better than Bernard Hopkins.

Q
Anything in particular? Maybe better footwork or keep him down next time you drop him to the canvas?

J. Pascal
Tune in May 21.

Q
Bernard said yesterday [at his media workout in Philadelphia] that he still has the title belts that you gave to him as a gag, and he kept them. He has them in his apartment. Does that irk you that he hasn’t returned those belts and don’t you want them back before the fight?

J. Pascal
No, because that was the only way he was going to get them. Because he knows that he cannot beat me. So, that was a really nice gift from me, because he knows that he cannot beat me. So, that’s why he took the belts. If a fighter wanted to do that to me, I would say no, keep your belts because I will earn them in the ring May 21.

Q
Everybody realized that you had slowed down after the first round on December 18. So, what have you done in the camp to try to overcome that?

J. Pascal
Bernard Hopkins said that I was a four round fighter, and this is it. I’m going to knock him out inside four rounds.

Q
Yes, but if it takes more than four rounds?

J. Pascal
Be there. You’ll see that’s what I will be able to do.

Q
George Foreman has predicted a knockout win for Bernard Hopkins next May 21st. So, how do you feel about that?

J. Pascal
It’s not a problem. That will make my win more spectacular or even better, since a great athlete like Foreman is considering that I am the underdog.

Q
What have you learned from the first fight, since you seemed to be exhausted after five rounds? Have you changed anything in your preparation? Have you planned to manage the fight differently?

J. Pascal
Look, for the first fight, we tried new training methods. Not the same that we had used in the past because we believed that you should not get into a boring routine with training, you should try new things. But, for this fight, I used my old recipe. So, I trained like I was training before.

Q
What changed?

J. Pascal
You’ll see everything on May 21 and I’ll tell you after.

Q
Is there a rematch clause for a third fight between the two no matter who wins?

Y. Michel
There is no rematch clause. There is not a request on either side for rematch. But we realized also, that any way if you have a rematch clause on the fight that nobody wants to see, no network will be willing to buy it. So, that doesn’t mean anything. If you don’t have a rematch clause, but everybody wants to see a rematch, and networks are willing to pay whatever to show it, then you can have it. So, that’s why we haven’t insisted or asked Golden Boy to have anything.

Q
Do you think there is a possibility that you will be sued by Hopkins for your statement about the doping test?

J. Pascal
I didn’t say that he was cheating. I said that he’s a legend and he should lead by example. He should have taken the lead. Look, another boxer who’s representing his country for free, only for the honor, has to go through the Olympic testing series before going to the Olympic games. A pro fighter has to pass obsolete tests only. So, these tests have to be updated in 2011.

It was a trend that was started by Floyd Mayweather. Even Manny Pacquiao said recently that he would take the test if he can bring in the fight with Mayweather. So, if Hopkins doesn’t want to take the lead and do that, I am is willing to do it. Also, it’s funny how Golden Boy stressed how Manny Pacquiao had to take the test. Now, they are looking bitter and trying to avoid the subject.

Q
I notice from your record that you fight almost exclusively in Canada as the world light heavyweight champion, you’ve not defended your championship outside of Canada. What are your feelings on fighting outside of Canada?

J. Pascal
I have no problem fighting outside of Canada. I’m going to go where the fans want me to go. I fought in England in 2008. I wasn’t scared to go overseas, because I’m a warrior. I’m a soldier. I always want to give fans the best show possible.

Q
That one fight that you did have in the United States was against Omar Pittman. Can you talk a little about that fight?

J. Pascal
That was a good fight. I dominated Pittman. I fought with only one arm, because at the time, I had my shoulder injury and it was bothering me a lot. So, I think that I did pretty well with only one arm.

Q
Now that you’re the world champion, Mr. Pascal, do you think it’s important to defend your championship throughout the world? Can a world champion exist in just one country, Canada?

J. Pascal
Of course. I was willing to go to the United States for the rematch to beat up Bernard Hopkins. But, he has no fans in America. So, that’s why he chose to go back to Canada to make more money. He knows that in Canada we will have a great fight, great fans, and he knows he’s going to make more money in Canada than he’s going to make in America because he has no fan base.

Q
You’re Haitian, isn’t that correct?

J. Pascal
Yes, yes, I’m Haitian.

Q
What about defending your world title in Haiti? Is that something that you ever think about?

J. Pascal
That would be awesome. But, right now, I think the country has other concerns. I’m going to try to help the country to rebuild because we had a really bad earthquake last year. That was really, really terrible. So, that I don’t think this is the right time. But, probably in the future, it will be something really, really nice.

Y. Michel
I’d like to make a statement on that. Yes, though Jean Pascal is fighting where this is the best business possible. If it would have been the best business to fight in the States, he would have fought in the States. But, what I find funny is we never ask the American champion if they would be willing to defend the title outside USA to see if they are real champions, though.

Q
Are you angry that George Foreman has chosen Bernard Hopkins, has predicted a KO win for Hopkins?

J. Pascal
I have a lot of respect for Foreman. He’s a great legend. And, it’s not upsetting at all because if I win, it will going to be an even stronger exploit, because somebody like George Foreman believes that Hopkins still has what it takes to beat me.

Q
Now, with the war of words that has been going on the last couple of months, will you take more risk in the ring to try to finish him up?

J. Pascal
My style is to take risks. I’m not a boring fighter. I like to fight a spectacular fight. It hasn’t always been the case in the past for Hopkins. Yes, I’m going to take risks. Yes, I will try to get the knockout and we’ll see whatever happens, happens.

Q
At the outset of this teleconference today, Yvon had said that you want to be a role model. I just wonder if you can talk a little bit about that because in Canada where boxing doesn’t have the kind of profiles of a sport like hockey. How do you think defeating Bernard Hopkins might help you get there?

J. Pascal
Well, I think boxing right now is the second biggest sport in Canada. That’s why Bernard Hopkins is coming to Montreal to try to beat me, because he knows boxing is great. It’s good in Canada. I’m just going to be me, a simple guy. I’m trying to do the right thing to show the good example to the younger kids.

Q
Do you think beating somebody of Mr. Hopkins’ stature in the sport will help you further that aim or get the attention of Canadians outside of Quebec?

J. Pascal
Yes, of course to beat a legend like Hopkins, it gives me a lot of credibility and I’m not going to be seen as a champion. I’m going to be seen as the one who put Hopkins to sleep and the one who sent Hopkins to the Hall of Fame.

Q
Most of the experts in the United States are picking Hopkins to win next week. Do you think that you need to beat Hopkins to have some recognition in the States to really make a statement as a light heavyweight champion?

Y. Michel
When Jean fought Hopkins the first time, he was the odds favorite. Most of the people believed that Jean was going to be too young, too strong and too fresh for Hopkins who was coming off two ordinary fights, two ordinary performances against Ornelas and Roy Jones. So, most of the people believed that Hopkins should have called off and not taken the fight, but because of his performance, the draw that he got against Pascal, Hopkins is back in people’s minds. He’s a great. He’s a phenomenon. Most people didn’t know who Jean Pascal was until he fought Chad Dawson. But, the same people believed that it was a counter-performance by Dawson instead of a great performance of Jean Pascal.

Now, some believe that Jean was exposed when he fought the great Hopkins, so a win for Pascal over Hopkins next week will be a great win. It will make Jean Pascal go from a champion to a star around the world and in the United States because it will be a significant win. Not a win against somebody who is over the hill and too old like it would have been December 18th, but a win against the great fighter who has still has what it takes to put up a great fight. So a win next week for Jean will be a break-through fight.

J. Pascal
I would like to set the record straight. I never accused Hopkins of anything, but I certainly didn’t expect to get that kind of reaction out of him. If you’re not taking anything, why would you be upset? Also, I really think that people who don’t want to disclose the truth are people have something to hide. Ask me the same question about the test and I will tell you anytime, anywhere I’m willing to take the test. You can even take my arm to take the test. Also, I won’t call the Quebec Commission to find out what kind of tests they’re going to make in advance like Hopkins did.

Y. Michel
Next week in Montreal, May the 21st is going to be a great week. On May 21st at the Bell Center there will be a big crowd. The fans will be full of emotion, full of energy and if there are 17,000 people there, they will be 17,000 people cheering for their hometown favorite. They will all be behind Jean Pascal no matter what anybody has said before. You will see. We are expecting a huge success in all departments, outside and inside the ring. So tune in or come here. You’re going to have a great night.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Bernard Hopkins

Q
Bernard, I think we all know that you should have already made history, back in December. It was not a good decision. I think most of us know that you won that fight. That said, what would this mean to you to break George’s record? What would it mean to boxing overall?

B. Hopkins
For me, personally, it’s a great achievement to be still doing what I do at a high level and to be able to do it and make history at the same time. Now that I’m here, it’s more appreciated to me to last this long in the game. This is a game where if you get 10 years out of this sport, you’re considered lucky. So, to get two decades and come upon history at least four or five times in my career with the defenses as a middleweight and of course, I beat Tarver to become the only middleweight to become a light heavyweight champion. I mean, you put all this stuff together and then you look at what I’m ready to do now, next Saturday, with the opportunity to surpass George Foreman with 190 days outside of when he beat the Michael Moorer. As Jim Lampley said, “It happened; it happened on HBO.”

I mean, you say Archie Moore, you say Bernard Hopkins. I consider it-and he was one of the greats also that accomplished a great achievement in his forties. So it is surreal that Archie Moore, if you know anything about history, which I believe you do, fought in Montreal, Canada and he fought Durelle in Canada for the championship after getting knocked down once or twice. He came back and won that fight. Archie Moore was victorious.

I get a chance to follow those footsteps. For anybody who’s listening, do your research. You’ll see I’m correct. I’m a veteran. I know how to have patience through the next ten days of [preparation for] combat. So I’m ready. I’m ready mentally; I’m ready physically. I can’t worry about what they did last fight. That’s the past, but it’s the reminder that I’ve been down this road before. I get a chance to-not redeem myself, but I get a chance to make their wrong become my right.

Q
I don’t know if you were listening to George’s comments before you came on to the call, but he talked about that…no judges. You need a knock-out to win the fight. He seemed pretty adamant about the fact that you need to go for the knock-out. Don’t leave it in the judge’s hands. I know you probably knew that was the case last time with what happened in the first fight. What are your thoughts about the possibility that you might need to get the knock-out just to make sure there’s absolutely zero question about what will happen to this fight next Saturday?

B. Hopkins
I would love to go in there and get my knockout. That would stop my drought. The last time I had a knockout was Oscar de la Hoya. I’ve been in a drought for many years, but I’ll take a good beat-down, sort of like a William Joppy type of beat-down. It’d probably be better for Pascal to get knocked out than take a 12-round beating because we know that everybody that fought, well, not everybody, but most of the young fighters that were in the ring with me for more than eight to ten rounds weren’t the same after that. I don’t have to mention any names, we know who they are.

My thing is to execute. If I win every round and fight every round, it’s like you win the fight. You win the fight. Beat this guy up. You just make it seem one-sided. I’m looking to put that type of performance on. The only way to do that is to put the pressure on Pascal. I don’t believe he can fight backing up. I believe that, when you’re going to a target, things can happen. I’m aware of that.

As you said, the last fight when we talked-to let you know I remembered-you said, “Why didn’t you fight like that a long time ago?” I said, “I wouldn’t be here if I did.” I tell you what. You’re going to see, I take that as an honest question because, at the end of the day, I’m at that point now where I’m going to bring on some Philadelphia fight to that town in that ring in Montreal. I’m going to press and I’m going to back him up. I’m going to make him fight and that’s why this fight is going to be one of the best fights that HBO had on World Championship Boxing. I know they’re going to do major ratings because it’s going to be a fight that people are going to talk about between now and then.

After last Saturday, I think the boxing fans deserve a nice knockdown, drag out fight. I’m willing to do my part. That’s all I can say to everybody who’s listening. I know you all heard promises and what people are going to do. I’ve been part of that, but my style is my style, but I promise, that what you all will see next Saturday, like last fight, it’s going to be way out of character. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to be smart, I’m not going to stick to the game plan, but you’re going to see the old Philadelphia Bernard Hopkins, old Philadelphia history from the Benny Driscoll, to Willy “The Worm” [Monroe], the Cyclone of Hearts-and I could go on and on and on. That’s going to be next Saturday. You all are going to enjoy a great, historic fight.

Q
Bernard, I wanted to ask you one thing about your training camp situation. Nazim Richardson, obviously, your trainer has been with Shane Mosley for many weeks, getting him ready for last week’s fight with Pacquiao. I talked to him when I was in Las Vegas. He said he kept in touch with [assistant trainer] Danny [Davis] on the telephone. He paid a visit to the training camp during the course of the camp, but how was it to go through the camp and not have him back until these last two weeks? I mean, was there anything, and he says you’re such a veteran it didn’t make a difference, but what are your thoughts about having Naazim away from most of your training camp?

B. Hopkins
I told Naazim I’m going to give him my cell phone bill because he called me every other day. So, I got a cell phone bill for over five G’s. So, Naazim and I have done this more than one time. Naazim knows, and you know, I run my own ship. I mean, it’s no secret to people that have known me for boxing. You’ve known me over 10 years. I basically run my own thing. I was comfortable with it.

Naazim had an opportunity to fight on that big stage like that. Of course, physically, he can’t go in and fight, but he’s here now. Trust me; if you saw my cell phone bill. I don’t know what Danny’s cell phone bill will look like and I’m not paying for it, but I know that Naazim’s been making sure that I don’t overdo it and making sure, because you know I say I run three miles and I run five. So, it’s been good.

We add a little adjustment here, a little adjustment there. Again, you used the word veteran. I would never put my situation there where I know everything, but I keep it honest with me and my mind and my mental state, but I know how to take orders from a person that I respect because you have to respect him. I’ll be fine. We’ll be fine. Everything was good.

Q
You seem to have developed a pretty healthy dislike for Pascal based on some of the things he said. Is that a real dislike or is that just hype for the fight? Can you talk about that?

B. Hopkins
I said a lot of things about my opponents to get in their head, but I never said an opponent cheated. I never said a person did anything to win a fight, outside of the ring or inside of the ring, but that becomes a part of the game, but it’s just part of a person’s being intimidated or just not knowing what to say. A lot of it had to do with this…you have to say something to justify what you didn’t do, but there are repercussions. I mean, when you’re younger, you say things. Your parents will smack you on your hand or give you a punishment or something like that, but we are accountable for what we say and what we do. Come May 21st, I will take care of the physical part of it and then, I’ll let my people take care of the other part of it.

I don’t have to tell you what that means and I don’t want to get into it, but at the end of the day, I’ve always been a guy that speaks about health awareness and speaks about how if you take care of your body yesterday, you’ll have something tomorrow. You take care of your money now; you’ll have something in the future. It’s the same concept. If you’re a guy that likes to spend, eventually you’re going to be broke.

So, it’s no different than the way I treat my life in the way I act, in the way I think, in the way I deal with my family. It’s the same thing. When things are being questioned about what I have done for all of these years and my credibility and my hard work, there are repercussions beyond that. I’m going to take care of business next Saturday and then we deal with the other stuff later.

Q
How much tougher is it to train for a fight at 46 than it was at 36 or 26?

B. Hopkins
For me, it isn’t tough at all. Just, basically, they have to pull me back. Naazim Richardson continued to call me from [Big Bear and] Vegas. We had an alternate guy that came up with Naazim in his late fifties named Moses who was sort of like Danny’s eyes and ears. He trained also in Philadelphia, but he never got the notoriety because he never had the athlete to take him that far to get it.

I’ve been in good hands with Danny Davis, but the only thing is to have me not overdo what I have loved to do for two decades. I like to train. I like to run. I like to eat the right foods. This is a habit. It’s a good when you’ve got good habits, it makes everybody’s job easier. Of course, sometimes I have aches and pains or I have a lot of rub-in muscle cream in my medicine cabinet, but other than that, 20 years of boxing as a professional since I was nine years old as an amateur, you’re going to have these things as time goes on.

I think 50 percent of me, and that’s not knocking any other fighter; I’m only speaking for myself, is 100 percent in today’s world of athletics. People in any sport; football, basketball, hockey, I don’t care, golf, I think that people look at me; they should think I’m not the norm. I’m glad to say I’m not the norm doing everything right and everything by the book.

The way I took care of my body after leaving the penitentiary twenty-something years ago, it is discipline, never taking anyone lightly, never having an excuse for not being in shape, not being 20, 30 pounds over my weight and I’m fighting light heavyweight and I’m weighing 205 pounds and I have to train to get the weight off and then train for the fight. That’s not me. I’m letting everybody know there’s no secret out there on me. It’s just discipline and sometimes it’s hard for others and sometimes, it’s not. For me, it’s not.

Q
When will you know when it’s time for you to hang it up?

B. Hopkins
When I get beat up.

Q
I wondering if you watched Mosley/Pacquiao this weekend and like to take on Mosley’s performance, a lot of people are busting his chops really hard saying that they don’t think you really fought to win. I’d like your take on it.

B. Hopkins
I think that at the end of the day, he talked a really good game and he fought. I just think that he would have went out as a winner if he just showed effort to win and not touch gloves every round. So everything works for different people and when people see me in the streets of Philadelphia and they see me coming in again and they see me now, they say “You see the fight Bernard? Why did he keep touching gloves every round?” This is a legitimate question, because that’s strange to average people. These aren’t hard-core boxing people. I say, “That’s a sign of submission.”

It’s called body language and I’m not bragging my upbringing. I was sort of like George but I was a guy in the street when I had that mentality. Some would call it a bully. I don’t brag about being that, and I speak against that now, but when I was younger, they’d see me coming up the street, everybody would go into their houses. Part of that body language of submission is to praise the guy. You don’t want that bully that’s around that corner to take your watch or take your chain or take your wallet. So, you want to be friends with him. You want to be nice with him. So, translate that to boxing. Translate that to the match Saturday.

Listen, if Pascal starts trying to shake my hand every round, I know I got him mentally and now I’ve got to make it happen physically because at the end of the day, we’re fighting. That’s what we do. That’s what changes our lives and my family’s live…to be able to do things for them because we are fighters. So, the referee says, “Shake hands and come out fighting.” He doesn’t say, “Every round shake hands.”

So, when the guy wants to be friends and fight at the same time, everybody else sees it. He submitted early in the fight after the knock down. Something happened and he submitted after that.

Q
You made some comments earlier in this call talking about the accusations that Pascal made concerning what he talked about and charged you with. Do you sort of-I don’t want to say sympathize, but do you have a better understanding of how Manny Pacquiao might have felt when people where talking about what he might or not be doing?

B. Hopkins
I think it’s probably the same. I can say that I hope the other fighters don’t use that as a cop-out to justify what they did or didn’t do the night they fought or the night that they lost. If you win, of course, there’s no room-nobody will make that statement or comment, but I just hope that it doesn’t become a trend for people to punk out of just manning up saying, “Hey, I got a draw and that wasn’t my choice. The judges called it,” and you do it again. That’s fine. I can live with that. You can live with that. But, when the guys start saying, “You cheated, you cheated, you cheated,” with no merit, with no proof, you start thinking…where did you get this?

Q
I’ve been doing some research and one of the things that I found is that you’ve been on the pound-for-pound list for probably 12 years and nobody around has been on that list. I know it’s a subjective list and everybody has their own list, but in doing the research, you’ve been on somebody’s pound per pound list since 1998 or 1999. I mean, they’re not talking about it but how do you feel about that? I mean everybody’s come and gone and you’re still on that list.

B. Hopkins
I feel great about being in that elite group because it took some thought for somebody to analyze all the fighters that are still fighting, maybe not at 40, maybe not in their 30’s, and somehow some had me there and it took some work for me to be there. It took some winning and it took some longevity, but it’s good. I haven’t looked at the pound-for-pound list, to be honest with you in a long time because I think at the end of the day, people have their opinion. On some people’s lists I’m not even there and one of them I believe, is Ring Magazine and that’s probably one of the elite and credible pound-for- pound lists that’s out there now, but, I’m still cool with that. If you stay in the game long enough, there are so many achievements if you are lucky and blessed enough and then you achieve a lot of stuff and you’ll find more and sometimes, you’ll run out.

Like in my case, I hadn’t ran out of finding historic moments to look forward to and one is coming May 21st with the attempt to pass George Foreman’s record. So, it’s an honor to know that our work will still be here and still to be on people’s lists and still be talked about without embarrassing my legacy, embarrassing myself and my family. I really am honored to know that I can still represent in a respectful way.

Q
I would like to know how big is the extra pressure that comes with the fact of trying to beat Foreman’s record.

B. Hopkins
It is very important to me to win the fight first and then let everything else fall in. That’s the first and most important thing that’s on my mind is winning the fight and not the record, because you can’t get the record, if you can’t win the fight. So at the end of the day, I don’t put the cart in front of the horse, I get the horse in front of the cart. Right now, that horse is 12 rounds, if it goes that far, with Pascal in Montreal.

Q
What will be the song that will play when you step into the ring in Montreal? Will it be “My Way”again? And, why?

B. Hopkins
I will be playing one of my traditions that I have been playing for the last six, seven, eight fights and that’s “My Way” by Frank Sinatra. To play that song, there has to be a history behind that person that plays that song.

Q
George spoke of something earlier about the knockout. Is that something that you are definitely going to try to do? Is that part of your fight plan or do you plan to maybe just be in it for the distance?

B. Hopkins
Well, even though I’m a 46-year-old guy in shape, if I can get a guy out of there within one or two rounds, yes, but I mean our coaches always tell us, you don’t go in a fight looking for a knockout because not every punch is a knockout punch. You set these things up and they come as time goes on.

Again, when I go in that ring, I know about being a 20-something year veteran, I know I got a guy hurt. Trust me. I won’t back up and let him survive. I won’t take it easy on him. I won’t just throw punches just to win the round. I want to get the guy out of there. That’s that instinct. You create the knock-out. You make the guy knock himself out by doing things that you want him to do without him knowing it. That’s the seasoned veteran. That comes with time. That comes with education. That comes with experience in the ring and that comes with knowing that knockouts are not forced. Knockouts are created.

Q
On the HBO Face-Off, Jean Pascal claimed you didn’t respect him. Was there anything that he did in the first fight that impressed or even surprised you?

B. Hopkins
At the end of the day, respect is not given. Respect is earned. I’m not going to respect anybody because he signed up and got a license to be a fighter. I’m not going to respect anybody because the only recognizable name he has on his record is Chad Dawson and that happened because of a head butt and they went to the scorecards and he happened to be winning after it looked like he was going to be knocked out.

So, when you say about respect, compared to what I’ve done in the game and what he’s done in the game, he should be paying homage to me. It’s the opposite. He’s not respecting his elder. I am the elder on the block. He’s a young guy that’s on the block and he’s disrespecting the block and I’m telling him to pick the trash up and he’s telling me, “Old man, get in the house and mind your business.” So, I have to come out, take my slippers off, put my teeth in and spank him. That is the respect of the young and the old.

You’ve got to remember this, and anybody that’s past 40 will understand this or older, the old is always threatened by the young. I don’t give a damn if it’s boxing. I don’t care if it’s in your business. We all are victim of that as long as we live to see old or certain age. Sometimes the young win and sometimes the old win, but in my case, May 21st-you will see the old win.

Q
All of us here know that you are the grand master of head games. Have you sensed a crack in Pascal’s mindset during all the media buildup to this fight?

B. Hopkins
I think he showed it himself. I think he’s showed it himself by bringing up something that can cost him a lot of money later on and that’s allegations that totally is from way out north, but just by that in itself, this stuff from the first fight, that completely had me saying, “Wait a minute, this guy, is he serious?” Or is he just that ignorant? Is he just that green?” I’ve been blessed to have been around all kinds of people. I’m around young people all day in the gym, so I understand certain mentalities, but I’m not shocked to a point where I see these things because I understand the different era. I’m in a different era. Even in the streets of Philadelphia, the young are totally different than when I was coming up. It’s a whole new different mindset in today’s world from the boxing world through society. We all know that.

I just take it as the guy that’s really scared to death, but dangerous, but in the same token, because of ignorance, he can be extremely dangerous. So, I do not underestimate him. I do not look at it as an easy fight. I look at it as a scared, young guy who is high on himself and he wants to be great, but he doesn’t want to pay the time.
Q
You were talking about if you win, should you win, which most of us believe you will, you have a three fight deal with HBO and you were going to name, in addition to Chad Dawson, other guys you would like to fight. Is that accurate first of all and then also could you name guys beyond Chad Dawson you would try to fight?

B. Hopkins
Yes, that’s definitely accurate. The winner of Chad Dawson-Adrian Diaconu fight would be a fight that would happen in the fall. Then, I would love to fight, if he is done with his contract over there at Showtime, I’d love to go back to Canada and I’d love to fight Bute and then if there’s another optional fight there, maybe the winner of the Super Six. That would be over by then and I assume the winner of that would be freed up to do something. To me, that will be really representing Archie Moore in a big way.




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