STATUS: Light Heavyweight champion. Former Undisputed Middleweight champion.
CHILDHOOD HERO: Muhammad Ali. I met him in Ecuador when Don King brought him down for my fight with Segundo Mercardo. He still has the humor with him. I had goose bumps. I never thought I’d be next to guys like that. Me and his birthdays are a few days apart. We’re both Capricorns.
NICKNAME: The Executioner.
EARLY BOXING MEMORY: Winning Pennsylvania Junior Olympics when I was nine. Won a trophy which had to be 2ft tall! When I won that I was the baby in the gym. We had guys like Robert Hines. I got my butt kicked 95% of the time in the gym by guys who were bigger and older than me. But I was too advanced for my level. I beat a guy named ‘Bunchie’ Williams, a good, good amateur who went 12-1 as a pro but then I think drugs got him. I still see him all the time. He says, ‘You didn’t really beat me that night, you had the politics with you.’ But I knocked him down three times! There was no politics then. We joke. Good connection there. He says Roy Jones is afraid of me.
CHILDHOOD DREAM: To always be a fighter. Always wanted to be champion. Started getting my reputation as a fighter in the streets. I used my talent the wrong way at first.
PRE-FIGHT FEELING: I think about all the hard training. Nine weeks. Concentrate on what I’ve been doing to get ready for the fight. I look at him. I look for fear. See if he’s looking the other way or if he’s looking down. Are his lips moving or is his ear twitching? One thing that helped me in my life is that I’d seen intimidation growing up. You cannot intimidate Bernard Hopkins.
FAVORITE MOVIES: Westerns, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movies, Dirty Harry, Roman gladiator movies, Hercules movies, science fiction.
MUSICAL TASTES: Jazz, Miles Davis, soul music, Sade – me and my wife like her. The O’Jays, Patti LaBelle, soft music, some rap. If there’s a good message in there.
FIRST JOB: Cook at Penn Tower Hotel in Philadelphia. In 1988 when I got out of the penitentiary. I was a great worker. When I first started boxing pro, the manager used to read about me in the paper.
GREATEST SPORTS MOMENT: I don’t know. I got so many great moments, man. I can’t tell you the greatest – you don’t got enough tape, man. Everything’s been a great sports moment for me.
MOST PAINFUL MOMENT: Can’t answer that. Plead the Fifth, man [smiles].
WORST INJURY: When I got stabbed in ’79 going to the movies with a female (age 13). On the subway. (Suffered) a collapsed lung, a scar above the heart. I was in the hospital for six months.
FAVORITE MEAL: Chicken or baked fish, pasta, linguini. But when you’re a boxer you can’t have a favorite meal. You gotta live healthy.
FUNNY BOXING MEMORY: Nothing funny in this business, man. Know what I mean?
PEOPLE MOST ADMIRED: People who overcome adversity. George Foreman, Tyson, Iran Barkley, people who you know where they came from. Anybody that comes from the inner-city and rises from that situation. James Toney. I could go on and on. Anybody that comes from adversity. I’ll read it and know it’s true. Because it’s so easy to lay down. Lay down and say, I’m gonna rob a bank. That’s an easy cop-out. But to say, I’m not gonna be like that…it takes a lot to do that when you have nothing in the refrigerator. It takes a lot. That’s adversity. It’s so easy to take the easy way out. It’s so easy to lay down. It’s so hard to get up.
Topics: Bernard Hopkins, Childhood Dream, Childhood Hero, Clint Eastwood, Clint Eastwood Movies, Don King, Goose Bumps, Jazz Miles Davis, Junior Olympics, Light Heavyweight Champion, Middleweight Champion, Muhammad Ali, Musical Tastes, Patti Labelle, Penn Tower Hotel, Pennsylvania Junior, Robert Hines, Roman Gladiator, Roy Jones, Soft Music