It was a year ago in Las Vegas that Bernard Hopkins made a decision the boxing world would find out a little later on.
The former middleweight and light heavyweight champion nicknamed “Hard Nard” by some, put his weight behind Golden Boy Promotions. It came months after the company was blindsided by its CEO Richard Schaefer’s decision to leave. The final blow was that many fighters perceived under the Golden Boy banner were actually never signed.
An ambush of major proportions took part in May 2014, one rivaling Little Big Horn.
Instead of leaving Golden Boy’s Oscar De La Hoya flailing in the water against a tidal wave, Philadelphia’s Hopkins met face to face with his former ring foe from East L.A. After hearing his side, Hopkins still stands strong with the Los Angeles-based promotion group. Even after offers of money from others.
“We didn’t talk on the phone, I met with Oscar. I think it was the last fight Canelo had in Vegas, I believe we talked in the room and we had a conversation. I had some questions about the business and how he felt and how he was committed to the business,” recalled Hopkins two weeks ago while in Los Angeles. “Do you quit, throw the towel in, or suck it up, tuck your chin in and take your shots and swing educationally, smartly. We’re fighters. We consider everything with patience and making the right move like on a chess board.”
Boxing seldom sees this kind of loyalty. Nor does it see this kind of grit outside of the ring. While one side is flaunting cash and gathering signatures on contracts, and allegedly falsely booking venues to stymie the competition, the two boxing partners are looking to go the distance.
Getting cash is not enough for Hopkins. He wants boxing to succeed.
“I’ve been there, I’ve done that and I’m here talking to you because I really want to do something. As a person that won the big fights and is here for the long haul,” Hopkins said. “They’re (PBC) not here for the long haul. I think they’re here for control like a dictator.”
More than a hundred prizefighters have signed with PBC and its affiliations. It’s a scenario that has repeated itself throughout the decades with various organizations and with the same results. But when someone passes cash, most fighters will take it. It’s hard to blame them because a pro boxer’s career doesn’t last long.
Loyalty is rare as a red diamond. But like a rare gem, it’s extremely valuable.
Hopkins has no regrets in staying with Golden Boy Promotions and refusing a financial offer from a rival company.
“When I spoke my piece I was offered a lucrative deal. I just didn’t sign it because I decided to go the other way. As we see what manifests now we understand what I was offered came to fruition. I chose to go with the fighter who has the fight in him for his personal battles that he knocked out and was victorious,” said Hopkins of refusing the rival company and staying with Golden Boy Promotions.
Recently, it was announced that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will fight Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas this coming November, probably in Las Vegas. Golden Boy Promotions is veering toward a mega fight pay-per-view card. Hopkins is satisfied.
“I have an itch for right and for the underdog. And with the one that people want to bury. I learned how to navigate and to become what I have been against in time. It was never hard for me to make a decision. That it would be a decision not of emotions but what the future can be,” Hopkins said of his choice to stay with Golden Boy. “Two hall of famers that have been in the game and came from different directions. How can we miss and go wrong? No one in boxing business can match the credibility we have or can match Oscar and Bernard.”
Through thick and thin, fair weather or bad weather Hopkins chooses the fighter.