By Sean Crose
“I’m very, very serious,” Bernard Hopkins told the media during a Tuesday conference call, “that I am different than the human beings I talk to, the human beings that I interact with.”
He may not really believe he’s from outer space, but Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins most certainly comes off as kind of nuts.
“I really, really believe and understand,” he continued, “that I am different and not a part of this world, but in this world.”
Still, whether he’s sane, crazy, or just a terrific showman, Hopkins is a true American success story. A tough young kid who was going down the wrong road, Hopkins ended up being a credit to the American Corrections’ system by coming out of incarceration truly rehabilitated. He did the time, he cleaned up his act – and he never looked back.
Now he’s a top athlete at nearly fifty years of age. Rich, famous (if not quite a household name) and extremely well regarded, Hopkins is quite deserving of every ounce of praise he receives. Besides, there’s frequently sense to be found in Hopkin’s words, especially when he speaks of his upcoming bout with the feared Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev.
“If he (Kovalev) can punch like everyone says he can punch,” Hopkins said during the call, “there might not be any second chance.” Those weren’t the words of a man puffing up his opponent, those were the words of a man who knew exactly what he was about to get himself into–and who was preparing accordingly.
“You can sort of get a sense of how this fight’s going to go,” he claimed. “There’s a pattern where you understand that Kovalev was not being the guy he was.” In other words, Hopkins plans on either avoiding or escaping Kovalev’s notable power, then frustrating his man like he’s frustrated so many other opponents in the past.
In short, Hopkins is figuring to put on another classic Hopkins’ performance. “Enjoy the artwork,” Hopkins told the media. “Enjoy Miles Davis,” (to which one reporter suggested that Kind of Blue be played after the bout).
Whatever else can be said about Hopkins, no one can claim the man doesn’t call it like he sees it. Speaking of fellow light heavyweight titlist Adonis Stevenson, he pulled no punches. “Stevenson somehow jumped ship because he didn’t want to fight Kovalev,” Hopkins claimed. “Beating Kovalev, and beating him in grand fashion, will open up a lot of debate about a lot of things.”
There’s little doubt that Hopkins still loves the fight game. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine him retiring any time soon. “Atlantic City (where the Kovalev bout is being held) ain’t dead – and Bernard Hopkins definitely ain’t dead,” he said.
Indeed, the chance to fight Kovalev seems to have the man particularly excited. “I’m fired up for it,” Hopkins stated. “I really am.”
But what about Kovalev’s ferocious power? “Whatever gun he has,” Hopkins said, “I’m not gonna run from the gun, I’m gonna disarm you.”
Easier said than done, no?
“He’s a human.” the man called the Alien claimed. “I’m not.”
How exactly does one argue against such words? Then again, why would one want to?
Make no mistake about it, Hopkins has always been an outsider. He’s forever been the man looking in from the other side of the window. Despite his brilliance in the ring, he’s perpetually been reduced to being “the little engine that could” in the eyes of many. That sort of thing must undoubtedly grate on the guy, which may be why he’s now gone full bore outsider with his “Alien” persona.
Still, believe it or not, Hopkins seems to be at some level of peace as he closes in on his fiftieth birthday.
“I don’t need the media any more to be motivated,” he said during the call. Good words to hear. If he were to believe everything the media wrote, after all, the man might well be an alien indeed.