Bernard Hopkins is back in Miami, surrounded by the beach and the punishing heat, preparing for his October 18th battle against Kelly Pavlik. He has returned to a place where he has trained for over 10 bouts, holding every training camp but four (Wright, Taylor II, Tarver, and Calzaghe) there since 2001 when he prepared to face Tito Trinidad. He is focused on the task at hand and confident that his intense regimen will prove that at 43 years old he has not lost a step.
Rising in the morning at 6 am, Hopkins walks out the back door of his condo and onto the Miami sand beach while it is still dark. Danny Davis, his assistant trainer who sometimes works the mitts in workout sessions, is always with him. Davis will also be in Hopkins’ corner come fight night. By the time the two are headed back from their 3 mile run the sun is coming up, and Miami’s club goers are just on their way home.
Hopkins usually takes shelter from the Miami heat the rest of the morning, spending time relaxing and watching old boxing tapes. He not only studies his next opponent Kelly Pavlik, but the greats like Sugar Ray Robinson and Joe Louis, examining old grainy films in an effort to gain even more knowledge about the sport he has spent his lifetime perfecting. “He watches a lot of middleweights and learns from it. He picks up different stuff,” says Malik Chambers who runs his camp, and has been with Hopkins for 10 years.
By 3 pm Hopkins is at the gym, Normandy Gym, getting his hands wrapped. While Hopkins is familiar with Miami, he has selected a new gym because of its proximity to the condo—just five minutes away. By mid-afternoon the heat in the gym, lacking any amenities or fans, is brutal, hot and muggy, hovering around 110 degrees. Everyone sweats through their shirts, whether they are training or not. After shadow boxing, and hitting the heavy bag and speed bag, sit ups and jump rope, Hopkins hits the mitts with co-head trainer John David Jackson, who started working with Hopkins before his bout against Antonio Tarver.
Fellow co-head Nazim Richardson, is never far from the ring watching Hopkins work. Richardson, in his 13th year with Hopkins, worked alongside Freddie Roach as Hopkins’ trainer for his bout against Calzaghe, and he is once again back in Hopkins’ corner devising the best strategy to beat the 26-year old Pavlik. He is joined by Sharif Parker, who has been with Hopkins for 13 years, and is always in the gym as well, by now a staple of any Hopkins’ camp.
Five days a week Hopkins spars eight to ten rounds with one of the three “hungry lions” Malik Chambers has brought in to camp to refine Hopkins’ skills for his test against the powerful Pavlik. All have been selected because they throw punches with killer intentions like Pavlik. The first is the young Haitian Olympian Eli Augustama, a quick, powerful, and strong 21-years old, who will soon turn pro. Gabriel Rosado, 22-years old by way of Philadelphia, is 12-0 professionally, and has a strong jab, terrific mechanics and a great work ethic. The last is Columbian Dionisio Mirada, 25, who at 28-3 professionally is said to fight and look like Tito Trinidad, is quick and powerful, and possesses a devastating right hand.
After two hours in the gym, Hopkins heads back to his condo where he usually prepares his own food—pasta with olive oil and lemon, chicken, fish or vegetables might be on the menu depending he night. He shares the condo and sometimes cooking duties with Tony Kolev, his masseuse and chiropractor, a native of Bulgaria, who has been working with Hopkins for six years. By 9 pm each night Hopkins is in bed.
Remaining tickets to Pavlik vs. Hopkins, priced at $700, $500, $350, $200, $100 and $75, can be purchased at the Boardwalk Hall box office, by calling Ticketmaster (800) 736-1420 or online at www.Ticketmaster.com.
Promoted by Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions, in association with Caesars Atlantic City, the Pavlik vs. Hopkins pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT has a suggested retail price of $49.95, will be produced and distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View and will be available to more than 71 million pay-per-view homes. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry. For Pavlik vs. Hopkins fight week updates, log onto www.hbo.com