Tag Archives: Joe Hand’s Gym

Hopkins Wants to Fight Floyd Mayweather Jr.

25 Apr

Boxing’s Oldest Champ wants  to unify light heavyweight crowns and then wants  a shot at Pretty Boy Floyd 

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Bernard Hopkins was back in the gym in this week after last Saturday's win over Beibut Shuemenov. Photo by Chris Murray.

Bernard Hopkins was back in the gym in this week after last Saturday’s win over Beibut Shuemenov. Photo by Chris Murray.

PHILADELPHIA—The one thing you will not see in this column about Bernard Hopkins is a line that talks about his defying the boundaries of age because with all his accomplishments in recent years.
It’s an old story, and telling it has gotten old as well.

I’m also getting out of the business of pleading with Hopkins, who turns 50 in January, to get out of the boxing game. Yes, he’s a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer as a boxer and a promoter who doesn’t have to prove a damn thing to anybody, but if he wants to keep taking (and giving) the punches, who am I to judge?
Besides, the real story with the legendary Philly fighter is always about what’s next. Nearly 48 hours after he easily dispatched Beibut Shumenov to unify half of the world light-heavyweight championship, Hopkins was training at Joe Hand’s Gym in North Philadelphia and talking about plans for future fights.

“It’s never a time to rest, especially in victory,” Hopkins said. “That’s the time to work harder and smarter …What fighter in the last 30-40 years that’s publicly made it known, win, lose or draw, that he’s in the gym Monday? This ain’t showing off, this ain’t bragging, this is what I do.”

As he approaches 50 with strands of gray popping out of his unshaven face, Hopkins wants to become the undisputed light-heavyweight champion.

And just for the sport of it, Hopkins wants to drop down in weight and take on Floyd Mayweather Jr., arguably the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the history of the sport and definitely the greatest of his generation.

No, you didn’t read that wrong. Hopkins, who now calls himself, “The Alien”; wants a shot at Mayweather, who currently holds the World Boxing Council welterweight and World Boxing Association super welterweight championship belts.

“Yes, if it’s an opportunity to fight the baddest, one of the smartest minds, along with myself, in the game…Listen, why wouldn’t a chess player love to take on another good chess player?” Hopkins asked rhetorically.

If Hopkins gets into the ring with Mayweather, they would probably fight at 154 pounds. Hopkins said he would be able to handle that weight because he fought as Oscar De La Hoya at 154 pounds when he was the world middleweight champion.

By the way, Hopkins won that fight with a 9th-round knockout. I know that was 10 years ago. But after watching Hopkins beat up younger fighters like Antonio Tarver and Kelly Pavlik, I’ve learned to never the count the old man out.

But while he wants to take on Mayweather, who will defend his welterweight crown against Marcos Maidana on May 3, Hopkins won’t be sitting idly by. His next goal is to unify the light-heavyweight crown by taking on unbeaten World Boxing Council champion and Ring Magazine titleholder Adonis Stevenson (23-0-1 with 20 KOs).

“I’m collecting belts in the process, I’m not sitting back there, getting fat and eating bon-bons,” said Hopkins, who owns the International Boxing Council and the World Boxing Association titles. “I’m making history, too. It’s not like I’m waiting around doing the Amir Khan thing , ‘Please give me a shot and all that stuff.

“I’m going to continue being “The Alien,” and make history. The one guy out there that’s been knocking everybody’s heads off is Adonis Stevenson. …He’s a dangerous puncher. …Any second, any chance you get hit by him, you’re going to sleep. I need that risk to be in the game at this level.”

In addition to being a crafty fighter in the ring, Hopkins is pretty good at promoting and creating storylines.

In the scenario he’s set up, Hopkins would beat Stevenson. After that, he’d take on Mayweather (45-0) who is five fights away from breaking Rocky Marciano’s record for the most wins without a loss.

“Fifty-Fifty promotions,” Hopkins said. “He has a chance to get 50 wins, I turn 50. Fifty-Fifty promotions. …I want to show that I’m the first 50-year-old to be the baddest man and biggest paying guy in the boxing business. Wouldn’t that be a great way to leave the game?”

It would be for Hopkins. But the fun part would be watching the spectacle and the buildup to it. Can you imagine the trash talk between those two? Hopkins said he would have cameras on him 24-7 so the world can see him go through his training regimen.

A Hopkins-Mayweather fight would be a huge boost to boxing. The curiosity alone would hype the fight. Criticism of the fight as an absurdity by more than a few sports writers and columnists would only add fuel to the flame. It would be “Old School versus New School.”

And win or lose, the guts that Hopkins has to even dare to embark on this journey would only solidify his stature in the sport.

Still Fighting at 48, Bernard Hopkins Refuses to Go Gently into That Good Night

22 Feb

Hopkins will take on Tavoris Cloud for the IBF Light Heavweight Title

By Chris Murray

Bernard Hopkins (left) gets his hand taped by his trainer Nazim Richardson during a workout session at Joe Hand's Gym in North Philadelphia. Hopkins will take on Tavoris Cloud for the IBF Light Heavyweight crown on March 9 in Brooklyn, N.Y.  Photo by Chris Murray.

Bernard Hopkins (left) gets his hand taped by his trainer Nazim Richardson during a workout session at Joe Hand’s Gym in North Philadelphia. Hopkins will take on Tavoris Cloud for the IBF Light Heavyweight crown on March 9 in Brooklyn, N.Y. Photo by Chris Murray.

For the Chris Murray Report and the Sunday Sun

PHILADELPHIA—If 48-year-old Bernard Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 knockouts) were to actually retire today, he would do so with a long list of accomplishments as a boxer and a promoter.

Without question, Hopkins is a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Unlike most boxers who blow their millions on foolish things, Hopkins is a very frugal man who is set for life financially and not wanting for money like some of his younger colleagues in the boxing world.

Knowing all of this, we always have to ask the question why. Of course, Hopkins will definitely tell you why in his own enigmatic way. It’s his goal to break his own record of being the oldest man to win a world championship in boxing.

“My legacy is on the line and my record is on the line,” Hopkins told reporters during a training session at Joe Hand’s Gym in North Philadelphia. “This falls into the category of can Bernard Hopkins out do himself and break his own record?”

With Father Time seemingly stalking him on a constant basis, Hopkins will be back in the ring on March 9 against a younger, unbeaten International Boxing Federation light-heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud (24-0, 19 KO’s) at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. The fight will be televised live on HBO.

In his last fight against Chad Dawson in April 2012, Hopkins was a step behind the younger fighter and wound up losing a majority decision. The late Emmanuel Steward said at the time that Hopkins couldn’t put his punches together and was off-balance when he did throw his punches.

“(Hopkins) gets one shot and his balance is gone,” said Steward, who passed away on Oct. 25, 2012. “I can’t see him beating all of those guys out there. It’s amazing he’s never been cut up, never been beaten up. It’s amazing what he’s accomplished, but he should quit.”

But Hopkins doesn’t quite know the meaning of the word quit. On one level, Hopkins does not have the body of somebody in their late 40s. The man has a training regimen that would make Spartans blush.  Hopkins is still arguably one of the best defensive fighters in the game.

Hopkins trainer, Nazim Richardson said he knows when guys don’t have it anymore both in and out of the ring.  He said he’s going to prepare Hopkins for this fight by sparring him against younger, faster fighters to get a good gauge of how much his fighter has left in the tank.

“Every fighter has a certain number of fights in him, none of us know the number. None of us can predict the number,” said Richardson. “I put them young boys on (Hopkins). I tell them young boys, he’s a legend, you can’t be a legend. He’s a champion, you can’t be a champion right now. “But I tell them you’re 23, (Hopkins) can’t be 23.  Be 23 on his ass, every minute of every round and (Hopkins) answers the call.”

Richardson said he advised Hopkins to retire after he defeated Antonio Tarver in 2006 only because he beat everybody he could beat to that point. But it’s Hopkins discipline during training that gives his camp the confidence that he can do well in the ring.

“That focus of his is ridiculous, it’s at another level, it’s exceptional,” Richardson. “That’s the reason why he’s here, he’s the exception. We’ve got out of trying to dictate when the end is, we’re trying to be the best we can be while we’re still here.”

Hopkins said the 31-year-old Cloud is tailor-made for him because he’s young, aggressive and likes to come forward like Kelly Pavlik, whom he beat  for the light heavyweight crown back in 2008.

“I believe that his aggressiveness will make it a great fight and will make it an action-packed fight,” Hopkins said.

“I think that when you have a guy that will approach me with no respect for what will happen because he’s thinking of himself first.  There’s nothing wrong with that until you run into a guy like Bernard Hopkins where your biggest strength come March 9 will work against you.”

Throughout his career, Hopkins has thrived on proving the experts and his naysayers wrong. If there’s no actual motivation for him to fight, he will invent one.

“Because I know there are certain things in life that I’m not going to be able to do, but I’m not going to submit to that until I try it,” Hopkins said.

“That’s because I’m not going to let reasons for not doing something stop me from opening that door because when I open that door that’s where the money’s at. But if I didn’t open it, I would never realize what was there.”