Bernard Hopkins, WBC and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight World Champion
“I chose to continue to fight and defend what I worked so hard to get.So why not get all of the benefits of what I’ve been doing for 20-something years and then walk away when it’s time?
photo by Gene Blevins/Hogan Photos
“I think that it’ll come down to who is the better fighter. The better fighter, the better person, the better strategist and who wants it the most.
“It really would be gratifying to me and happy for me to sit back in my 60’s and hear commentators say, “This guy is four fights away from beating Bernard Hopkins’ record.
“In today’s world where, unfortunately, most athletes, either don’t stay as focused long enough after they get a taste of what we call success in life, or just run into the wrong match, the wrong person. So I’m going to have fun in the second half of my life.
“Well, Chad Dawson said something that made sense. He’s going to be throwing a lot of punches, but I’m going to be connecting a lot of punches.He’s going to throw all the punches he wants, but I’m going to be connecting more than he is throwing.
“I’m coming in there with an aggressive game, but a smart game. If people think that the last two fights of my career were the old Bernard Hopkins from the Blue Horizon to Atlantic City days in the early 90’s, then I’m saying that they should watch this fight.
“The bottom line is they are going to see a better, a more aggressive, smart fighter in me when I beat Chad Dawson.
“When you look at my résumé compared with his [Dawson’s] résumé, you must say, or must agree, that my résumé is a Ferrari and his is a Mercedes.
“Keep an eye on [Danny] Garcia. He’s got a fight coming up [on October 15] that’ll prove he belongs in the pound for pound contender’s bracket.
“At the end of the day, what Dewey did is beyond anything that I’ve done in the ring; it is beyond anything I accomplished outside of the ring in my personal [life].
“I want my gray to be in the ring. I want Chad Dawson to see I have gray hair. I want to look like his father—well, I could be his father. I’m not, but I could be!That age difference is appropriate for me to look like I’m gray and I have gray, because realistically, if you do the math, he could be my son.
“There are a lot of people that are 46 and younger that feel lousy today that never took a punch. Well, change your lifestyle. Change what you do. I did it years ago, so I’m ahead of the game. I’m not feeling like I’m 26 every day.I always say if I have to put a number on myself, the way I feel today, I feel like I am 36. So if I’m 36 to 46, that means I’m 10 years ahead of the game.”
Danny Garcia, Top Undefeated Junior Welterweight Contender
“I feel blessed, just for being recognized that I have the talent.[For Hopkins to] recognize my hard work and dedication. I’m just blessed now, and it’s motivating me more to shine on October 15.
“I never rely on my power because that can’t win you a fight. I rely on my skills. I think I use my brain, and I break my opponent down and land the big shots. So my power is just my last resort.
“I know I got more mature since I turned pro.I’m a lot smarter and it’s a chess game in there. So now when I feel like a guy’s kind of outsmarting me a little bit, I stay relaxed and I just try to figure it out.
“It was definitely a growing process. I learned how to be a smart fighter and not go in over anxious and just set the pace.
“I just feel strong, and we had a great camp. I’m just anxious to show the world what I can do. I’m ready. I wish it was tomorrow.
“I watched Kendall Holt’s last fight and I said to my dad, ‘I am going to fight the winner of this fight.’So I feel like I predicted my future a little bit.
“Holt isn’t going to touch me like he did to his last opponent.You can’t hit what you can’t see.
“I feel like I took my time. I have had 21 fights; I never rushed and was like, ‘Yeah, go ahead and put me on HBO,’ or begged for it. It came to me when they thought I was ready. I know I am ready, so we took the opportunity and we trained hard.”
Dewey Bozella, Top Undefeated Junior Welterweight Contender
“When I was young, I was bitter because I never thought I’d get out of there [prison].I thought I’d die in there.
“I came to Bernard Hopkins’ camp and I was approved to fight.Thank God for that. I worked hard and it paid off.
“I’m not going out to lie down; I’m going out to fight. I’m not going to let this guy come and whip my butt.
“[On being able to have his first professional fight] it’s just like getting out of prison. It is a new experience.
“I always thought I had a chance to get out.People said, ‘Ah, it’ll never happen, it’ll never happen,’ but it did happen.
“I want to get this [fight] over with and then I want to open my own gym.
“My goal is to help young kids as well as adults to help turn their lives around and keep out of trouble.
“[My gym is going to be for] whoever comes in, but it’s going to be for the kids.
“I am a professional fighter. I’m here.
“[On earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in prison] I always said, ‘How can I give something back to society if I have nothing to offer?
“I knew I was getting out of prison.Either I was going to die in there and go out in a box, or I was going to walk out of there.”
Naazim Richardson, Hopkins’ Trainer
“You can’t underestimate Dawson in any way, shape or form.
“Pascal and Pavlik were supposed to be the guys running the sport. I said if you can beat these kids, you can beat anybody.
“I love boxing. I love the sport. And this guy [Hopkins] is boxing.”