Lou DiBella Says Bernard Hopkins' Race Theory Is “Hogwash”

lou_dibella

Hogwash, Lou DiBella told me, complete and utter hogwash.

The reason Bernard Hopkins the athlete doesn’t get more love and attention from the mainstream sports press has nothing to do with the color of his skin, and just about everything to do with the sad state of the sport, the New York based promoter told me.

Combustible Lou was in fine form on Monday evening, after seeing that I Tweeted a query:

Michael Woods ?@Woodsy1069

So, is Hopkins right? Do you not think if he were a 49 yr old Caucasian his efforts wouldn't be more widely appreciated in mainstream media?

This Tweet riffed off of Hopkins’ rant to Brian Campbell of ESPN.com, who asked him, during a media workout, why he though his record hasn’t gained more love and attention in the mainstream press.

“[It's] because I'm black,” Hopkins said to Campbell before the start of the media workout at the Joe Hand Boxing Gym in Philly. “What do you think if my name was Augustine, Herzenstein, Stern? Cappello? Marciano? Don't you understand the conflict of interest? If I was any of those names of any other background, I'd be on every billboard and every milk carton and every place to be. If we're talking 'American Dream,' here's a guy who almost threw his life away and he took this great country's great attributes and used it — do for self, work hard and be a law-abiding citizen. I've done that for 26 years.”

Suffice to say Dibella doesn’t agree, not one stitch. I do happen to agree with Hopkins, if not quite in so cut and dry a fashion.

Here’s my follow-up Tweet to the question I posited:

Yes. I do think if ?@THEREALBHOP were white, MAYBE he'd be on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

“Listen, Bernard Hopkins is not Santa Claus, he’s not George Foreman,” the promoter DiBella continued, referencing the lovable cheeseburger-chomping persona put forth by Foreman in bis potent second act, which saw him beating Michael Moorer and winning the heavyweight title at age 45 plus, in 1994. “He's almost a generation removed since Foreman did that,” DiBella said. “Now, the mainstream sports media ignores our sport. We don’t have our own listing on the sports sites, on the websites. We’re in with “Other.” It has nothing to do with race, it has to do with the marginalization. And this fight (Nov. 8 in Atlantic City, and on HBO, pitting Hopkins, who turns 50 in February, against Russian neuron shifter Sergey Kovalev) is against Kovalev, who really doesn’t speak English, and the mainstream sports fans don’t know who he is.”

Dibella and Hopkins have a rich history, to be sure, but the promoter is far enough beyond the most contentious of their interactions that he is able to acknowledge that the 55-6-2 ex middleweight champion par excellence and current light heavy titlist is supremely talented.

“Bernard is a remarkable talent, the way he stays in shape, his conditioning, all that, I take nothing away from him. And I’m the first one to say that racism exists in America, racism exists in America, in sports, but it’s not a factor here. This is about the marginalization of the sport.”

I told Lou, hey, you don’t think MAYBE if Hopkins were white, he’d get a longer look from all the assignment editors who are, news flash, mostly old white dudes? Negative, he replied. “George Foreman was bigger than life, he was on the nightly news, people didn’t give a crap if he was white or black. I mean, LeBron James, is he white? Maybe, if Bernard was more a George type, that would maybe make a bit of a difference. But I’m sick of people pretending we are comparable as a sport to football, basketball. It’s now a different sports world, and it’s such an easy cop-out to say Hopkins’ (lack of mainstream attention) is because of race. The world has changed in respect to the sport. Bernard’s achievements are extraordinary, and the attention he’s not receiving but maybe deserves has nothing to do with race.”

I reached out to George Foreman for his take, and he's with Dibella. “This reminds me of a great movie director pulled over in Hollywood and blaming others for his state of mind,” Foreman told me. “All I ever expected from boxing was my purse and a title belt, and I'm thankful for the above. Rocky Marciano received little acclaim until after he died. Jack Dempsey hosted a restaurant, and Joe Louis had the most endorsements!”

Follow Woods on Twitter. https://twitter.com/Woodsy1069

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Comment on this article

COMMENTS

-brownsugar :

There is a lot we can say about race and its considerable effects on today's society. And there's a great deal more I can speak to the essence of the topic if I hadn't just check-in for another grueling night of Overtime. But I wouldn't put Bhops complaint anywhere near my list of valid issues. Sounds like more preflight stress and publicity noise to me. Bhop had better maintain his focus on Kovalev. He can be concerned about his legacy as it applies to ethnicity after the fight.


-SouthPawFlo :

I personally agree with Bernard Hopkins, his story is like no other in not only sports history but boxing history... If you think about how much Media Coverage Jeremy Lin had do you think that would have happened if he was a black athlete....


-stormcentre :

DiBella is - to some extent - right. Even though he and Bernard have endured and incredibly hurtful and costly legal battle in the past that no doubt still reverberates with Lou today. Bernard is not an introvert by any means and he usually likes to tell most, including the media, how great he is. Put a microphone and a camera in front of him and you may have to fight him to take it back, even if it's yours. However, the media usually want to "discover" greatness in an athlete and control the story and public perception. Bernard's approach to publicising his greatness sometimes shortcuts all that and jumps straight to the "important" parts; where he gets to talk. Different times (Foreman/Hopkins) and different media personalities.


-Radam G :

I personally agree with Bernard Hopkins, his story is like no other in not only sports history but boxing history... If you think about how much Media Coverage Jeremy Lin had do you think that would have happened if he was a black athlete....
NO! And it shouldn't. News is oddity, out of the ordinary, and new. Jeremy was an oddity and new to the mainstream of the U.S. mainland, so that was new and out of the ordinary from the dominant population's knowledge. If B-Hop were not 49-year-old, he would not be news. This fight between he and S-Ko wouldn't even be on television. Holla!


-dino da vinci :

"[It's] because I'm black," Hopkins said to Campbell before the start of the media workout at the Joe Hand Boxing Gym in Philly. "What do you think if my name was Augustine, Herzenstein, Stern? Cappello? Marciano? Don't you understand the conflict of interest? If I was any of those names of any other background, I'd be on every billboard and every milk carton and every place to be. If we're talking 'American Dream,' here's a guy who almost threw his life away and he took this great country's great attributes and used it -- do for self, work hard and be a law-abiding citizen. I've done that for 26 years." [url=http://www.thesweetscience.com/https://twitter.com/Woodsy1069]https://twitter.com/Woodsy1069
I for one would like to see him on a milk carton. I'm kidding. I'm kidding.


-deepwater2 :

NO! And it shouldn't. News is oddity, out of the ordinary, and new. Jeremy was an oddity and new to the mainstream of the U.S. mainland, so that was new and out of the ordinary from the dominant population's knowledge. If B-Hop were not 49-year-old, he would not be news. This fight between he and S-Ko wouldn't even be on television. Holla!
Lin was something different because he graduated Harvard , was sleeping on couches and waiting for his shot and got it ,led the Knicks in their long winning streak which hadn't been seen in a long time. Lin should of stayed and Carmelo should of been traded. Hopkins did things his way and is rich and respected in the sport but his style kept him from the superstar status he talks about. Why didn't Hopkins hire a PR firm to get his image and brand out there? Throwing the PR flag on the ground didn't do him any favors in that community.


-Radam G :

As for the question that you asked, Editor Mike: It is a simple thing of mathematics. The US population is "63% non-Hispanic white," according to some Census reports. And "12.3% "black." According to the media's reports, you scribes are 90% white and 4% black. So it appears that what B-Hop claims may be somewhat reliable. Ask some of your fellow scribes of all enthnicities to be honest about what they think and know? They cannot click with the serious-minded, opinionated B-Hop. As a a high-yellow brown Asian who can hangout and around, I hear/heard white scribes di$$ing B-Hop. I also hear them saying if he were "white he be aight -- some good copy. But being a black ex-con, ______ ________ ______ ______." And I heard the one or two black scribes saying that "B-Hop would get mad luv if he were white, or a grinning, joke-telling [N-word]...." Boxing is a microcosm of general society. And people ought to quit trying to fake like it's not.Those are facts. The lesser in population is going to always not be the same favor as the most. And that is around the world, jack. Even in the P-Islands. A "Caucasian" B-Hop would be off the chart. But also a Sugar Ray Leonard-personality like B-Hop would be off the charts. So my conclusion is B-Hop is half right. Half of the scribes and boksing people dig him, and half cannot stand his arse. Holla!


-stormcentre :

Also too . . . . Hopkins is well known to fornicate with the rules. And despite the fact that he is an excellent and historical boxer; when you put it all together with the fact that, when his moniker was "The Executioner", there were very few knockout victories - what you have is a great technical boxer who knows when/how to play with the rules and referee, and as such the revenue generating connection with the non boxing purists public is not made. These are the reasons for the shortfalls between Hopkins real and expected popularity. When Foreman was big (when isn't he?) fights were telecast on TV, he fought huge names and literally destroyed some, and was in sensational fights that boxing and non-boxing fans got excited about. Foreman is heavyweight history just like Ali, Frazier, Norton and many other greats are. Foreman also crossed over a little bit too, and that's where Bernard lacks despite, arguably, having some equal and perhaps even some better (discipline) fighting traits than Foreman.


-stormcentre :

And then there is also the fact that Hopkins (and his unique traits) have never, really, been properly promoted and advertised. GBP has probably been onto that recently, but even then that’s a few years too late given the modern era of boxing we now live in and how the media (rather than telecasted fights) and hype is used to jack up popularity for even credible fighters.


-Radam G :

Lin was something different because he graduated Harvard , was sleeping on couches and waiting for his shot and got it ,led the Knicks in their long winning streak which hadn't been seen in a long time. Lin should of stayed and Carmelo should of been traded. Hopkins did things his way and is rich and respected in the sport but his style kept him from the superstar status he talks about. Why didn't Hopkins hire a PR firm to get his image and brand out there? Throwing the PR flag on the ground didn't do him any favors in that community.
Roger DAT! He was out of ordinary. And the stubborn B-Hop wanted/wants to roughshod his way to getting the luv, instead being honey that draws the flies. You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. [I'm just making a point. I'm not calling scribes flies.] Holla!


-flackoguapo :

I think some people don't like that BHop is hood educated and brings that vibe and style everywhere he goes... and maybe the whole "a white boy will never beat me" cost him a lot of white fans


-the Roast :

I think it's that gap in his front teeth. Very distracting. He should have got that fixed a long time ago.


-dino da vinci :

@tRoast. But isn't he wearing a mouthpiece (gum shield) the majority of the time we see his melon? :confused:


-the Roast :

Not when he's talking. Pre fight, post fight, hyping a fight. Me staring at that gap.


-Radam G :

Not when he's talking. Pre fight, post fight, hyping a fight. Me staring at that gap.
That is why B-Hop is going to whup S-Ko's arse. He is going to put da gap-tooth whammy on him. And that will be all she rows. Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream. S-Ko's arse, the Alien is to cream. Hehe!
->http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo2e70HxbFg. Holla


-New York Tony :

DiBella's right about Hopkins' delusional whine. He doesn't get the attention he claims he deserves because boxing has long been on the periphery of the sports world. In addition, "The Alien" has alienated a significant number of the few remaining fight fans. What strikes me the most is Hopkins' lousy timing, at least outside of the ring - his complaint comes at the same time he's profiled in "The New York Times." However skilled, Hopkins is a bore and a boor - both in and out of the ring. I hope Kovalev cleans his clock ... though he probably won't.


-The Shadow :

As for the question that you asked, Editor Mike: It is a simple thing of mathematics. The US population is "63% non-Hispanic white," according to some Census reports. And "12.3% "black." According to the media's reports, you scribes are 90% white and 4% black. So it appears that what B-Hop claims may be somewhat reliable. Ask some of your fellow scribes of all enthnicities to be honest about what they think and know? They cannot click with the serious-minded, opinionated B-Hop. As a a high-yellow brown Asian who can hangout and around, I hear/heard white scribes di$$ing B-Hop. I also hear them saying if he were "white he be aight -- some good copy. But being a black ex-con, ______ ________ ______ ______." And I heard the one or two black scribes saying that "B-Hop would get mad luv if he were white, or a grinning, joke-telling [N-word]...." Boxing is a microcosm of general society. And people ought to quit trying to fake like it's not.Those are facts. The lesser in population is going to always not be the same favor as the most. And that is around the world, jack. Even in the P-Islands. A "Caucasian" B-Hop would be off the chart. But also a Sugar Ray Leonard-personality like B-Hop would be off the charts. So my conclusion is B-Hop is half right. Half of the scribes and boksing people dig him, and half cannot stand his arse. Holla!
It is what it is, man.


-amayseng :

I personally agree with Bernard Hopkins, his story is like no other in not only sports history but boxing history... If you think about how much Media Coverage Jeremy Lin had do you think that would have happened if he was a black athlete....
I disagree and Bhop is one of my favorite fighters of all time. In fact I have been asking and complaining on here for years why Bhop is not given the attention he deserves, especially during a steroid and hgh era of the last 15 years in professional sports where Bhop is the example of Perfect nutrition, rest and exercise. He himself said he is doing all this on "nuts and bananas". Of course his DNA plays a huge part as well as they go hand and hand. However for it being a Race issue---NO way, no how. The NBA is probably more than 80% black and is more popular among whites today than it was years back. Look at the diversity in the NFL and NCAA football.... I feel in today's society that entertainment has no color, what is exciting is exciting. Hopkins problem is probably that he is not a knockout or exciting fighter to the masses or casual fan. Us hardcore fans find him very exciting, but the casual fan is not gonna penny up to watch him. The UFC has taken the young fans away from our sport as well..