Bernard "The Alien" Hopkins fights for his legacy - Doghouse Boxing Interview
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Bernard "The Alien" Hopkins fights for his legacy - Doghouse Boxing Interview
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing (April 14, 2014)

Bernard 'The Alien' Hopkins by icheehuahua, Doghouse Boxing Inc.
Bernard "The Alien" Hopkins
- Image created by icheehuahua, Doghouse Boxing Inc.
* Note from Chee: This image debuted today (April 14, 2014) in this Interview by John J. Raspanti. B-Hop is one of my all time greatest - So I wanted to make sure this was the baddest 'Alien' Hopkins image you've ever seen.
Hope you Enjoy!
It’s almost impossible to fathom Bernard Hopkins.

His professional boxing career began twenty-six years ago, not with a bang, but a whimper. He lost a majority decision to one Clinton Mitchell. He didn’t fight again for 16 months. That time he won.

He wouldn’t lose another bout for five years.

By the time he captured the IBF middleweight championship in 1995, he was called “The Executioner.” He’d wear a black head mask in the ring and glower at this opponent. His punches were hard and crisp - resulting in 20 knockout wins in his first 26 fights. He held the crown for 10 years, making 20 successful defenses.

Before he brutalized Felix Trinidad in 2001, many were calling him old. He was 35 at the time.

Four years later he took the light heavyweight title from Antonio Tarver. He talked of retirement, but changed his mind. In 2011, he became the oldest man in boxing history to win a world title when he defeated Jean Pascal. Last year he broke his own record by outboxing hard-punching Tavoris Cloud in Atlantic City.

Hopkins was 48 years old.

“It's truly amazing. It's unbelievable. It's incredible,” said Beibut Shumenov, 30, who fights Hopkins on April 19 at the DC Armory in Washington, DC.

Hopkins (54-6, 32 KOs) recently changed his moniker to “The Alien,” thanks to his ability to perform at an age when most athletes are sitting on the couch or playing golf. Some complain that his style is boring, but nobody can deny that it’s truly remarkable that a middle-aged man can fight at an elite level.

Shumenov is not exactly a household name. Is getting motivated to face his opponent an issue for Hopkins?

“If I’m having problems getting up for this fight, it’s damn too late,” Hopkins told during a telephone interview last week. “I’m ready, Man. I want his belt. That’s the biggest motivation. I want to be the first fighter to be an undisputed champion in two-divisions.

“That, along with the other historic things I’ve accomplished," Hopkins said. "He has something I want. That’s all the motivation I need, Man.”

Hopkins was on hand last December in San Antonio, TX to witness Shumenov (14-1, 9 KOs) defending his belt. Was he impressed?

“He had a long amateur career, so technically he’s strong,” Hopkins said. “He’s not a rookie. He’s not a green guy. He’s held the title for a number of years. He’s defended his title four times. He beat some old veterans, but my whole thing is, you look at a thirty-year-old, who fought in the Olympics for his country, with only one loss, fighting a forty-nine-year old. To me, that evens out the fight.

“Let’s look at this like we’re in court,” Hopkins said. “The burden is on me. It’s not on Beibut Shumenov. He has nothing to lose. He has everything to gain. And when you’re fighting a guy like that, trust me - I’ve been doing this for twenty-seven years. These are the most dangerous guys that appear in boxing”

So does Hopkins, who’s been victorious in 23 of 26 championship fights, feel he’s the underdog?

“Let’s look at it the other way,” said Hopkins. ”I’ve got everything working against me. I’m forty-nine. We’ve been talking about Father Time since I was thirty-five when I fought Felix Trinidad. You remember that? I was an old man then. I have to be the educator. I don’t mind doing that. It shows that I’m on point.

“I’ve been training hard for eight weeks. I have to do everything in my powers. I have to be a living legend, use my high fighting IQ, whatever accolades I carry. All that stuff has to come out on April nineteenth.” Hopkins said.

Even with a big advantage in experience, Hopkins won’t allow himself to look past Shumenov.

“You never take anything for granted,” Hopkins said. ”We’ve all done that. We’ve paid the price. I’ve seen enough in my life that I never take nothing for granted.

“If a ninety-year-old lady gets sanctioned by a world-wide boxing commission – I’m going to box her like she’s a young Mike Tyson.”

In his last bout, five months ago, against tough Karo Murat, Hopkins, a defensive wizard, ate more punches than usual. Did he feel any of them?

“Nope, I don’t even remember taking those punches,” said Hopkins. “You focus. You can’t think about that. If you think about a punch for a tenth of a second - you’re going to get hit with four more. I don’t even know about the punches until the fight is over. After the fight is over - there’re lumps on my face. I didn’t even know I got hit there. You can’t think about it. There’s no time to reflect in a fight.

“In other sports, you can call timeout and talk about it. Not boxing. If you show some physical agony in your corner – between rounds, you have to camouflage it. You can’t let the shark, who thrives off of blood, get aggressive and eat you alive.”

His ongoing success defies any rational explanation. It’s a known fact that Hopkins is a slave to his profession. He doesn’t smoke or drink. Still, there has to be more. How about genetics?

“It’s everything you can think of, ”Hopkins said. “My grandmother lived until she was ninety. Then you look at my mother and father. From the lifestyle they lived, they didn’t see sixty. They made me go the other way with the lifestyle I live. So, maybe I got my grandmothers genes, but all the other disciplines, it’s me.

“I’ve tried to make sense of it,” said Hopkins. “As the years went by, I saw myself getting better and more seasoned. I don’t drink wine or celebrate. I don’t stay up and go to parties after my fights. The book is out there on Bernard Hopkins. My celebration is eating cheesecake.

“It’s an investment. I’ve invested in my body – for this life. You take any of the four major sports, it sounds like bragging, but it isn’t really meant to be. You take a guy my age and put him on a team, how big a story would that be?”

Rumors have been flying for weeks that Hopkins, if he wins his bout on April 19, could be in line to face WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson this fall. Stevenson knocked out Chad Dawson, the last fighter to defeat Hopkins.

“To be undisputed champion, you have to beat the man who beat the man to become the man,” said Hopkins. “That’s why I have to beat Shumenov. I’m challenging myself and pushing the envelope to leave a legacy.

“I’m looking through, but not looking past. That’s a major difference. I’m not over-confident, but the stakes are high.”

John J. Raspanti responds to all his emails. Please send all questions and comments to John at:

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