Ahead of the highly anticipated “Final 1” battle between Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins and Joe Smith Jr., the fighters, along with their promoters Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions and Joe DeGuardia, President and CEO of Star Boxing, held a media conference call with a Q&A session for the media.
Hopkins vs. Smith will be airing live on December 17th on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT from the “Fabulous” Forum.
Below is what the fighters and their promoters had to say on the conference call:
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions:
“On December 17, a boxing legend will enter the ring for the final time as Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, at 51 years young, steps into the ring at the Fabulous Forum against Joe Smith Jr., a rising contender in the light heavyweight division who was born three years after Bernard took his first fight. This fight can be seen live on HBO World Championship Boxing on Saturday, December 17.
BERNARD HOPKINS, Future Hall of Famer, Two Division World Champion:
“I want to thank Golden Boy Promotions and HBO that helped put together this legendary fight. It is definitely fighting action from top to bottom. I am very ready to have a final one. I’m in a competition with myself. To stay fresh in the game and to stay fresh in my mind on my end.
“Even though I defeated John David Jackson, he is the very best out there and we wanted him in my corner. JDJ is much overlooked, but he is one of the top 3 or 4 trainers. He has known me since I was a younger fighter trying to make it into boxing. If you look at the craftsman ship of JDJ, when you see that a guy not only has the tools, the way to use them in the ring, and you as a fighter have the confidence and trust in your teacher-you’re in great hands. He’s been representing that for many years. We felt that it was a perfect transition, the transition in us knowing each other and working together… When you give your teacher – your coach — all that he wants while you train, come fight night he can give you what you need when you most need it.
“I’m also from a union, the state corrections union – it’s a brotherly hood, and some of the best diamonds come from under the rock. These are some of the base of fans for me – especially the young aspiring boxers who I tell to watch me.”
JOE DEGUARDIA, President and CEO of Star Boxing:
“It’s a pleasure, we want to thank Golden Boy for giving us and Joe the opportunity for this fight. We echo the thoughts and sentiments about this December 17 fight. Bernard Hopkins is a real legend, and it is a privilege to be in this fight with HBO, a great network. Looking forward, Bernard is going to be taking on a real hungry lion like Joe Smith. He is going to be up for a real surprise. I am proud to be associated with this fight. Joe won the WBC International Title against Andrzej Fonfara earlier this year and is pleased he will be defending it against Bernard.
“Joe Smith Jr. is symbolic of the American spirit – working with the sledge hammer, a proud part of the union-and will bring all that hard work to the Forum. After Joe Smith Jr. wins this fight, yes, many doors will open, but he has to get through Bernard Hopkins first. Once he does that, every door in the world is his.
“The unions all have Joe on the agenda, and many different unions are supporting him. The support has been tremendous-it is one of their own who is representing them in the ring.”
JOE SMITH JR., WBC International Light Heavyweight Champion:
“I want to thank HBO, Golden Boy, and Star Boxing. We have been training hard and are ready for what is to come. I am mentally preparing for everything that Bernard Hopkins has for me. The date is almost here, and I am ready to put on a great show.”
“I am prepared to go 12 rounds, he is a tough guy. If I get the opportunity to take him out, I will do that. I go into every fight the same way; whether it is a legend or a nobody that is standing in front of me, they have the potential to hurt me. Each fight I push myself a little harder.
“We are always training and preparing the same like we do for all our fights-I don’t do anything different. When the call came for the title fight, I was working for the labor union, and trained for two months straight and that resulted in a win. The same thing happened when I got the call for this fight. I have been training in Long Island, so I have traveled to spar with different fighters throughout the area. I believe that I have some of the best jabs in boxing. Most of my fights end early, so I don’t get to show off my boxing capabilities. I think most people will be impressed by my boxing performance as I take on Bernard.
“To fight someone well known like Bernard is a privilege. I will be bringing my best, and will make sure that he doesn’t return. I will make sure he exits my way.”
Hopkins vs. Smith is a 12-round light heavyweight battle presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Star Boxing and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate, BORN BOLD and Casa Mexico Tequila. The event will be televised live on Saturday December 17, 2016 from Inglewood California’s “Fabulous” Forum on HBO’s flagship series beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Tickets for Hopkins vs. Smith are now on sale and are priced at $25, $50, $75, $105 and $205, not including applicable service charges and taxes, with a total ticket limit of 12 per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or the Forum Box Office (Monday through Friday 11:00am PST to 7:00pm PST) at (310) 330-7300. Tickets are also available for purchase at www.fabulousforum.com or www.ticketmaster.com.