Hopkins was 39 at the time and most thought on his way into retirement, but ‘The Alien’ proved too much for De La Hoya who says mind games played a part in his demise at the MGM Grand a decade ago.
“People respect the fact that at 49-years-old, he’s still going strong. There’s no sign of him slowing down. He’s getting faster, he’s getting stronger and he has more energy. He’s toying with young fighters, half his age. For Hopkins it’s starts outside the ring, he breaks you,” said De La Hoya.
“What comes to mind from my fight with Hopkins, was one of his teeth fell off and he was, ‘well that’s old-age.’ Now I look back and think wow, he made me think I was fighting this old man. I had in my mind that if I just got through training camp, without doing any extra, that I could take this guy on. He made me complacent. He didn’t need to talk trash or get in my face, he’s a master.
“I believe that Hopkins focuses not on what he’s going to do physically, but on what he can do to get his opponent out of their comfort zone and what combinations does he not expect from me. I wouldn’t say he’s awkward, but he knows how to offset his opponents.”
Ten years on and Hopkins is still a champion as he pits his wits against heavy-handed Sergey Kovalev on November 8 in a bid to be the first world title holder at 50 and break yet another barrier in his remarkable career.
Alien vs. Krusher: Hopkins vs. Kovalev” is a 12-round unification bout for the IBF, WBA and WBO Light Heavyweight World titles, presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Main Events in association with Caesars Atlantic City, Corona Extra, AT&T, Hortitsia Vodka and Mexico, Live it To Believe It!. Ali vs. Abregu is a 10-round bout for the WBO Intercontinental Welterweight Title promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank. The HBO World Championship Boxing telecast begins at 10:45 p.m. ET/PT.
Tickets priced at $300, $200, $150, $100 and $50, plus applicable fees and service charges, are on sale now and available for purchase at the Boardwalk Hall box office, by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 736-1420 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
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