There have been numerous stories about Philadelphia raised and Delaware resident Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins (AKA 'The Alien'). This will be a story from one who has heard and seen Hopkins but without ever requesting an interview because I’ve only interviewed people I like 99% of the time.
Getting back to Hopkins after doing some research and getting an eye opening opinion from a good friend who spent 4 weeks in “camp” sparring with Hopkins for his most recent fight I still have questions.
It’s well known and said by most at least behind the back of Hopkins that he is “cheap!” They state he rarely helps out the Philly gym’s with say donations of equipment but has helped outside of Philly gyms which they feel makes “no sense!”
I feel “why should people feel when a person becomes financially successful he owes his earnings to others and must share them?” Hopkins claims something similar like even food shopping you try to get the best deals. His last “camp” was at the DSG Gym at Jasper and Castor in North Philly that Danny “Swift” Garica has and not say somewhere like Big Bear. No living quarter expenses for sparring partners or supplying meals, right?
Just a couple of my situations with Hopkins have happened going back to 2008 after he defeated one of my favorite boxers Kelly Pavlik in Atlantic City. I was stunned Hopkins on my card won all 12 rounds by being one step ahead of Pavlik and punishing him when he chose to. After the fight we writers went to listen to the fighters. Pavlik claimed he never wanted this fight but to “unify the titles”. This is something his promoter Top Rank never did for him. Yet they made the effort with Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. after Pavlik lost the title to Sergio Martinez. That was a fight Pavlik didn’t have to make being Martinez was in a lower weight division. I thought and wrote prior to this fight “if Pavlik can’t hit Hopkins how in the world will he hit Martinez?” Unfortunately it played out just that way with Pavlik losing to Martinez.
Then came Hopkins turn to speak after the Pavlik fight to answer questions or should I say make comments and only have people who might be in his favor get to ask them. First thing out of his mouth was “all you writers out there are squirming in your seats thinking Pavlik was going to beat me tonight and didn’t.” I have bad posture so it was easy for me to straighten up in my seat as if to tell him “who cares about your opinion?”
The next thing out of the mouth of Hopkins was “tonight I won and next it will be Obama the winner!” That’s about all I could take being against Obama even more today then back then in 2008 knowing a little more about him then and the world now. I yelled out “I hope not!” Well, that was the last time this writer was “allowed” to speak. After a couple of writers throwing “puff balls at him” I stood up and was about to ask “why don’t you and Larry Holmes stop trying to immitate Rodney Dangerfield saying I get no respect?” All of a sudden with Hopkins to my left and this ignorant blond (working for promoter) to my right starts motioning me down with her hand/arm going up and down like crazy. Like a fool showing respect I sat down unlike the writer next to me jumping up and blurting out another “soft ball” to Hopkins. I felt Hopkins should have said “no, let the man speak but probably realizing I was the one who blurted out about Obama he knew I wouldn’t have a “soft ball coming his way!”
I was told Hopkins promised $100,000 to the widow of Reading’s Steve Little who at times shared a gym with Hopkins. Word was either he didn’t come through with the promise or it was taken out of his trainer’s just dues. Maybe that was one of the two times his trainer Bouie Fisher had to bring a lawsuit against Hopkins in 2002 and 2005 for not giving Fisher what he had coming to him.
Then there was the lawsuit by promoter Lou DiBella who was accused of “taking $50,000” from Hopkins while working for HBO for Hopkins to be put on an undercard. Like the Fisher’s lawsuit Hopkins paid big time for both lawsuits.
A fellow writer needed a liver transplant and informed me that Hopkins gave him several thousands of dollars toward the bill. He said he didn’t even know Hopkins that well but I think it may have been one of his fellow boxing scribes who went to Hopkins about it. Either way it was a real decent thing to do by Hopkins.
Finally, getting to my friend and boxer Dennis Hasson when he was under contract to co-manager Doc Nowicki at the time was given the opportunity to spar with Hopkins for one of his fights around 2011 and earn $100 per day. After two days Hasson’s employer demanded that he return to work on the third day or be fired. To that Hopkins said “if he ain’t here he ain’t getting paid anything”. To this Hasson being the good guy he is said “hey it was good experience working with Hopkins”.
When Hasson was asked to be in “camp” with Hopkins for the Karo Murat fight he agreed and was able to stay about four weeks until camp was completed. Hasson was well known to Hopkins trainer Naziim Richardson and Garcia’s trainer/father Angel Garcia and both supported Hasson’s working with Hopkins.
To my surprise after working the third day with Hopkins Hasson tells me “Ken, Bernard is a really nice guy. He has shown me more about boxing than the trainers I have had. He also has given me advice on contracts and other things.”
After I came out of “shock” it would be the first time I can remember rooting for Hopkins in his fight with Murat. Now don’t get me wrong for Gennady “GGG” Golovkin is still my favorite boxer and Sergio Martinez next but I do have a different outlook on Hopkins though my opinion on him is still “let’s wait and see”.
When Hopkins made that “no white boy is going to beat me” comment prior to the Joe Calzaghe fight I felt it proved how racist Hopkins was. Then after Calzaghe beat Hopkins I was thrilled.
This year the IBHOF will induct boxers Oscar “Golden Boy” De La Hoya and Felix “Tito” Trinidad and Calzaghe. I recently did an article on “will Calzaghe be overshadowed” by these two?” After all they get all the print while Calzaghe “only” finished his career 46-0 with 21 title defenses but with only his last two fights wins over Hopkins and Roy Jones, Jr. in the US. Since Hopkins beat Trinidad and split with Jones, winning the re-match and Calzaghe beating Hopkins doesn’t it mean anything? I was informed by Chee of Doghouse Boxing that Calzaghe’s father posted on Twitter that I was a writer that knows what he’s talking about. Joe being his son “might” have had something to do with that comment.
Finishing up, Hopkins and Garcia are good friends. Stopping by Garcia’s gym recently with Philly’s “best female fan” Doreen Donnelly we spoke to Garcia’s mother Maritza Garcia who was at the front desk and knowing her son Danny really respects and like Hopkins I just mentioned Hopkins in passing. She informed me that she only got respect from him and felt he was a really nice person. Donnelly had met Mrs. Garcia when Danny and Hopkins were handing out turkeys to those in need over the winter holiday.
Now you’ve heard the good and the bad about Hopkins so is he “Jekyll or Hyde?” You be the judge. The jury is still out for me!