17
Jun
2019

Hopkins: I survived prison, became a champion a long time ago

Final 1 17/12/2016

Stacey Verbeek

Legend Bernard Hopkins wants to end his illustrious career on a high as he enters the ring for the final time on Saturday night.

The 51-year-old who has enjoyed one of the most remarkable journeys in the sport takes his last step against the big-hitting Joe Smith, exclusively live on BoxNation, where he will look to go out with a bang following a glorious four-decade stint at the top.

The future Hall-of-Famer and two-division world champion has overcome many obstacles in his life, including a lengthy prison sentence before his fortunes changed and he embarked upon a path that will seen him go down as one of boxing’s greatest ever.

“I want the book to be written good. The last thing you remember about a good book is not the beginning, it’s the ending,” said Hopkins.

“I look at this as the final icing on the cake or that exclamation point. This is it. You know this is history. I achieved my first goal of success in the first part of my life. That was rougher than boxing.

“If you know anything about Bernard Hopkins’ history, if you go into details about the inner city Philadelphia guy, who was in the penitentiary from age 17 to 25, and survived, you’d realise I became champion a long time ago,” he said.

Hopkins has not been one to avoid testing himself having shared the ring with some of the very best during his career, with names such as Felix Trinidad, Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones Jr all appearing on his résumé.

Now, though, he goes in against a young and hungry fighter in 27-year-old Smith, who has only a solitary loss in his 23 fights, with 18 wins by knockout.

“I’m in a competition with myself. When you reach this level of professionalism, you have done things that most fighters, especially the young fighters haven’t done yet. I want to overdo myself,” Hopkins said.

“Joe Smith is a hard puncher, he won’t run, is a union guy, he won’t lay back, and he won’t try not to execute me. However, Joe Smith has to be trained to pass four, five, six different styles that I will utilise in the ring, and he is going to have to be smart.

“I will be the matrix, I will be the executioner. I will be everything that I need to be to win. The sweet science is something that I’ve always been addicted too. My fight will be like watching the last game of Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant,” he said.

Hopkins v Smith Jr is exclusively live on BoxNation this Saturday night. Buy now at boxnation.com.

BoxNation is available on Sky/Freeview/Virgin/TalkTalk/EE/Apple TV/ online at watch.boxnation.com and via apps (iOS, Android, Amazon).

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