Bernard Hopkins held court for the media and did a lot of talking. Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News told me he asked Hopkins two tough questions – and then paid the price. Hopkins does not like tough questions, he likes to say what he wants to say, to pus his agenda. Abramson, one of the top boxing scribes on the scene, asked Hopkins if the rumors were true about him facing Arthur Abraham – Hopkins dodged that one – then Abramson also summoned the courage to ask Hopkins about if he feels similarly like some in the media who believe Golovkin is on his way to all time middleweight greatness. The response was not a cheap shot or veiled disrespect at GGG but an extended monologue basically telling Abramson he’s a fool to ask such a silly question. All the while with his hand on Abramson’s forearm. That’s one thing I’ve noticed about Hopkins in recent years – he is as cagey and clever outside the ring as he is in it – no reporter will ever corner Hopkins and unleash a combination of tough questions that can momentarily knock him off balance or leave him at a loss of words – it’s just impossible – and even if they do try, Hopkins will evade the potential danger and instantaneously turn the tables and punish his antagonist with his own verbal genius.
I had a brief encounter with Hopkins today – while I was chatting with Floyd Mayweather lawyer John Hornewer, Hopkins walked by, by himself, and as he was next to me I quickly glanced to see if he was ignoring me or side eyeing me – and I caught him side-eyeing me so I extended my hand and said, “It’s always great to see you Bernard,” to which he replied, “It’s always great to see you. ” I’ve always respected Hopkins as one of if not the greatest all around champion in boxing history for his unbelievable longevity of greatness and still competing against the elites of the sport even into his late forties. After Bernard beat Pavlik I called him the greatest all time champion the sport has ever seen, which of course was mocked by many fans and pundits, however in the years since, the notion of calling Bernard Hopkins the GOAT, surpassing Ray Robinson, has become a more acceptable concept, especially after Hopkins’ courageous and impressive performance against Sergei Kovalev last year. After Bernard and I shook hands, I quickly thought back to the first day I ever met him in person – it was after he beat Jorge Amparo on a Tuesday Night Fights date in Atlantic City in about 1992 – I still remember seeing him getting a post fight massage rubdown by his trainer Bouie Fisher, who really knew how to care for and take care of his fighters after they fought. We exchanged phone numbers and did a phone Biofile a few days later. I still believe Bernard Hopkins may be the greatest fighter in history – because of his incredible longevity at the top of the game, for beating so many great fighters, and for accomplishing it all without a super human punch or handspeed, he did it all with smarts and intelligence and ring savvy – and through all the years he never once had a bad night or took a beating. Without a doubt, Hopkins has been one of the best to ever lace a glove and his personality is one of the most compelling and fascinating subjects I’ve ever come across in any sport.
I was chatting with the WBC supervisor Chuck Williams who introduced himself to Chocalito before his workout – Williams said some perfunctory things and then said good luck in English and Spanish to Chocalito, who showed him very kind eyes and niceness as they spoke, but when Chuck said good luc in Spanish, Chocalito suddenly decided to give him a warm embrace. Based on the nice, warm facial expressions Chocalito gave Williams and the hug he gave, my respect and liking of the very friendly and classy Nicaraguan went way up.
One boxer who did not impress Chuck Williams though is Adrien Broner. I won’t go into details but will just say, Chuck basically agreed with my assessment that Broner is the most repulsive, despicable, disgusting and ill-behaved bum who has ever polluted this noble sport. Broner needs to change his act or he will repulse a great many fans and people from the sport. He’s beyond bad for the sport, way beyond. That’s enough about Broner. This week is about the new Face of Boxing, the new sensational superstar we’ve been waiting for, well, he’s here and he’s going to electrify again on Saturday night. –SCOOP MALINOWSKI