BERNARD “THE EXECUTIONER” HOPKINS, Six-Time And Two-Division World Champion & Oldest Fighter In History To Win A World Title
“Any athlete who goes in there and knows they are 100 percent ready physically has an advantage. Athletes deal with aches and pains, but I was able to rest for the whole summer of 2012 and I had a chance to heal my body 100 percent.
“Tavoris Cloud might actually be hungrier than me. How often do you hear a fighter say that his opponent is hungrier than he is? I don’t need hunger. I’m motivated by my desire to prove that I’m different and that I can still silence the critics.
“You will have reason to be surprised on March 9.
“You’re not going to see a new Bernard Hopkins. I’m too old for that crap. I think what you will see is something different that I know I am capable of doing.
“There’s always a chance you will see something new in a fight. Especially in boxing.
“I’m going to avoid Cloud’s strengths and expose his weaknesses.
“I have the philosophy that I’m different. I have the body, the well-being and the experience. Now the teacher gets to show the student that he’s worthy of the lesson. Let me show him through experience.
“I don’t know what being a 48-year-old feels like. There are a lot of 48 year olds that aren’t in good shape. The pharmacy is making a killing off of them.
“I’m 100 percent clean. I’m doing this off of nuts and bananas.
“The media here know that there’s the possibility that I can pull this off. I’m confident. Confidence comes with work. When you prepare yourself and you know you’re going into combat with all of your bullets, you have the confidence to go into battle.
“I want to be the poster child for taking care of yourself after 40. Obesity is an epidemic in this country and I’m a living, breathing example of what it means to stay healthy.
“I’m not going to give up. If you pay attention to my plan and the way I live and the way I eat, then you have a chance to extend your life a few more years.”
TAVORIS “THUNDER” CLOUD, Undefeated IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion
“Whatever comes with the fight, I’m ready. He [Bernard Hopkins] called me out. I’m just going in to win the fight.
“I’m going to give the people their money’s worth…true sports entertainment for their dollar. I’m the undefeated IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion making my fifth title defense. The crowd will be with me because everybody wants to be with a winner.
“I’d be a fool to get caught up in Bernard Hopkins’ mind games. That’s a fool’s game buying into those traps. When the bell rings on Saturday night, we’re both equals. I’ve got to go in there and hit him to show his tactics will not work against me.
“I switched to my new trainer Abel Sanchez to add versatility to my game. I’m coming to fight a serious fight. If I knock him [Hopkins] out, it will just put another feather in my cap. I’m predicting a win, but I never look for the knockout because that’s not my game plan. If my punches result in a knockout, so be it.
[On his high-altitude training camp known as “The Summit” in Big Bear Lake, Calif.] “The first day of training in Big Bear, it felt like somebody put a plastic bag over my head. After eight weeks up there, I feel very strong.
“In this fight I want to show people who are in poverty, downtrodden or denied that you can succeed. I want my performance to be an inspiration to people. You have to stay in the moment and keep moving ahead. I just want to show everyone that you can find answers to your problems and afflictions with hard work and perseverance.
“I came from nothing out in the woods near Tallahassee, Florida. My mom was a single mom raising five of us. It wasn’t easy but she found a way to raise us to adulthood. We made it somehow.”
“You have to go in there and hit him. Show him that his tactics don’t work. Bernard Hopkins is a fighter that you have to get straight to the point with. You can’t lollygag and bullsh*t because that’s his game. Being serious and doing my job throwing punches in the ring, that’s my game. I don’t come to put on a show for the people. I come to give the people a fight and give them their money’s worth; give them real entertainment.”
“He [Hopkins] is a good fighter. He’s earned his keep, but I just don’t think he can hit me. I think he trains hard and he lives his life right. He’s made sacrifices to increase his longevity, but you know it’s been too long.
“I was hungry and I was looking for a way to better my life. With boxing, I didn’t have to make a team. It wasn’t like baseball or football. I could just walk in the gym and start doing something that I liked.
“The word ‘snooze fest’ comes to mind [when talking about Hopkins’ fighting style], that’s what a lot of people say. He’s a boring fighter.
“Fighting a fighter like Bernard Hopkins, who’s supposed to be a legend, puts me in a different frame of mind. It puts me on my toes. I know this Saturday I’m going to be victorious because I’m going to put on a great show.
“I want to thank my amateur trainer. We started at the bottom together. Just because you were born at the bottom doesn’t mean you have to stay at the bottom. After Saturday night, we’re going to put that bologna away and go get a steak.
“I’m ready. I feel like I can’t be beat. You have to feel like that being a fighter. I just feel like this is a bigger type of energy. I feel like I’ve beaten so many odds. I feel kind of invincible. It’s going to be a good fight.
“Saturday we’ll see it all come to fruition. God brought me out of nowhere. I know he isn’t going to turn his back on me now.”
NAAZIM RICHARDSON, Hopkins’ Trainer
“You hear people talk about how Bernard Hopkins is tricky and crafty. They make it sound like the man can’t fight.
“The truth is, he hasn’t gotten in anyone’s head. It’s not mental games or smoke and mirrors. This man can fight. I’m tired of people judging him a different way. When people say there’s no action in one of his fights, that it’s his fault.
“People call him a dirty fighter. They need to understand what they are watching. It’s a throw back style of boxing. If you want fighting, there’s another sport out there that does that. Boxing is an art. In boxing you have to swim without getting wet.
“I hate to tell you all, but Bernard Hopkins has already left the building, but don’t worry, The Executioner is still here. The Executioner will be here Saturday.
“I think Tavoris Cloud is underrated. You are going to see the best Cloud you’ve ever seen against The Executioner.
“Saturday you will see the return of The Executioner.”
ABEL SANCHEZ, Cloud’s Trainer
“We had a great eight week training camp. Bernard Hopkins is a difficult challenge that we are going to conquer.
“Twenty-two-years ago I brought a young man here to fight named Terry Norris. If you remember the fight, it was a terrible beating for Ray Leonard. Saturday night, the legend is going to retire and the new star is going to be born.”
RICHARD SCHAEFER, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions
“I know that Bernard Hopkins is going to make history again.
“I’m going to ask Brett Yormark [CEO of Barclays Center] to hang a banner of Bernard Hopkins [in the rafters of Barclays Center].
“History doesn’t usually come cheap, but ticket prices are starting at 25 dollars.
“There is great young local talent on the undercard as well.
“Everyone should go back and listen to what Jean Pascal said [about beating Hopkins] and then think back when Hopkins got down on the canvas and started doing push-ups [between rounds during their fight].
“Make sure you are here Saturday night. This is a once in a life lifetime opportunity to see this world champion [Hopkins] once again.”
DON KING, Renowned Promoter & President of Don King Productions
“I’m here to help Richard Schaefer because he is doing a tremendous job.
“Bernard Hopkins’ accomplishments and achievements are far beyond that of the norm.
“I am so happy to be at Barclays Center. When I saw Brett Yormark [CEO of Barclays Center], I thought to myself that he and his brother Michael are doing an amazing job.
“I think it’s wonderful that we have all of these people here to bear witness to greatness in the making. Richard said that Bernard will be making an attempt to break his own record [as the oldest fighter to win a world title]. The mere fact that he can make this attempt, everyone here should bow their heads and be grateful that they can bear witness to this history-making event.
“I think it would be a crowning achievement for Tavoris to beat him [Hopkins] and make his record 25-0.
“Abel Sanchez is the new trainer we have for Tavoris. Tavrois left Florida [his home] and North Carolina [his previous training camp] and went to the mountains of Big Bear.
“We want the poor, the privileged, the men, the women, the children, the young, the old, the black, the white – we do not discriminate – to come to Barclays Center to pay homage to this great building which is an edifice in Brooklyn. I want everyone to be there to see Richard Schaefer get teary when Bernard Hopkins loses.
“You can see the clouds rolling in and thunder is imminent.
“Cloud is hungry. He needs the money. He wants the fame and acclaim. This is his opportunity in the land of opportunity.
“You have a genius sitting beside me here [Hopkins]. He doesn’t just work with his fists, he works with his brain.
“I once promoted a fighter from Brownsville, not too far from here. His name is Michael Tyson, one of the greatest knockout artists of all time. We’re going to have a young Tyson here.
“When you meet this young man [Cloud], you’ll fall in love with him. He’ll fight for the people. He doesn’t want to be a champion for himself. He wants to be a champion for the people.”
BRETT YORMARK, CEO of Barclays Center
“We’re thrilled to host our second night of world championship boxing at Barclays Center in Brooklyn this Saturday night.
“The sports’ elder statesman will be fighting at the world’s newest venue.
“I had the opportunity to run the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday with Brooklyn-born fighter Frank Galarza. Brooklyn has great talent and we are happy to be hosting some of that talent on Saturday night.
“Thank you to Golden Boy Promotions for their vision of making Barclays Center a venue for boxing in the United States.”
KEITH THURMAN, Undefeated Welterweight Rising Star
“I feel good. I’m mentally ready. I’m mentally prepared.
“I’m confident that I can steal rounds by getting inside and throwing punches.
“He wants to be champion again, but I want to be a champion too. He is bringing experience, but I am bringing my talent and ability.
“Zaveck has gone 12 rounds many times in his career. This is one of the only times I have been required to go 12 rounds, but I know I am prepared. I am going to outclass him.
“This is the first time I’ve ever been to Brooklyn. Everyone knows that New York City is one of the greatest cities in the United States and in the world.
“I look up to Bernard Hopkins as a fighter. I’m honored to be his co-main event and to be able to give a great performance.
“Zaveck is a tough guy. He has never been knocked down and I love putting people to sleep. Knowing that he has never been knocked down is a true test for me
“You’ve got a legend over here trying to make history once again by going up against a young puncher. You come to Brooklyn. You tune in. You knock on your neighbor’s door. You do what you have to do to watch this fight.
“I’m in love with boxing. It fell into my lap and I have been in love with it ever since.”
JAN ZAVECK, Former World Champion
“There have been many times that I’ve been stuck in the ring with bigger, stronger guys and in the end I came out victorious. I believe Saturday night is going to be the same way.
“I’m prepared for 12 rounds. I’ll be very happy with anything else, but I’m prepared for 12 or 15 rounds.
“It’s my pleasure and honor to be here fighting on HBO and in the United States.
“I put in the work to hand Keith Thurman his first loss.
“Experience means everything and I know I am prepared.”
MARCUS BROWNE, 2012 U.S. Olympian
“It is an honor to fight on a Bernard Hopkins undercard. I’m happy to fight in New York City. I wouldn’t want to fight anywhere else but Barclays Center. I am here to get things started and lay the platform for the main events.”
# # #
Hopkins vs. Cloud, a 12-round fight for Cloud’s IBF Light Heavyweight World Championship will take place Saturday, March 9 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The event is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Don King Productions and sponsored by Corona, AT&T, Ford and Rocawear. The HBO World Championship Boxing telecast begins at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT. The co-main event will be a 12-round fight between top rated undefeated contender Keith Thurman and former World Champion Jan Zaveck for Zaveck’s WBO Inter-Continental Welterweight Championship.