Bernard Hopkins: “I’m Inspired By Outdoing Myself”
At 46 years old, Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins will be inspired by one thing this weekend: beating an opponent who's nearly half his age.
The boxing legend will attempt to do just that — again — on Saturday (Oct. 15) when he puts his WBC light heavyweight championship title on the line against 29-year-old southpaw Chad Dawson in Los Angeles, California; the ageless warrior became the oldest world champion in May after scoring a win over 28-year-old Jean Pascal. Not to mention, that came years after Hopkins already recorded 20 consecutive title defenses in a 10-year run as middleweight world champion.
Here, XXL talks to the Philadelphia native about the fast-approaching Chad Dawson fight, wanting 50 Cent to portray him in his biopic, being inspired by Jay-Z and his willingness to move down in weight class to fight Manny Pacquiao. Knock 'em out the box!—Mark Lelinwalla
XXL: We’ll get to the boxing in a minute, but before we do that we understand that you’re working on a biopic film and that if you have it your way, you’ll have 50 Cent portray you. Is that correct?
Bernard Hopkins: It is correct. I’d love that. He was the first person, when asked of me, who I’d like to play me. It was him. I said, The only person I see out there is 50 Cent. People told me, 'Bernard, that’s a great choice.' I see that same demeanor, that body language.
It’s interesting because 50 has an amateur boxing background and there’s certainly parallels between your lives, but you tell us why is ’Fif your first choice?
It’s a lot of what you said, but I can give you something else. Actors—especially good ones and veterans—they can be who they need to be. Jamie Foxx was Ray Charles…looked like him all over again. I think because of the upbringing, because of the inner-city lessons in education we both have—whether growing up in Philadelphia or Jamaica, Queens. It doesn’t matter. We both had that survival, the man on the block type thing. So, when you get a person who lived that for real and has really been through that, it shows. 50 has been shot and all that, I’ve been stabbed three times by three different people. It’s a history that has a uniqueness to it, an authentic feel to it. That’s why when producers ask me who I want, I say him because he knows the streets, he knows how to represent that part of life we both had education in. So to me, it would be a no-brainer. It wouldn’t be an easy thing to do, but it would be a natural thing for him to do. That’s what struck me about him to anybody else that was brought up to me or suggested to me.
Have you had a chance to formally approach 50 about it?
No, I haven’t. I’ve been busy training and obviously it’s been busy with me for the last three fights. But no, I haven’t made a connection. But Golden Boy [Promotions] is a good friend of Floyd Mayweather, so it’s not hard to get in 50’s ear or his representatives’ ear. It just hasn’t happened yet in the way where it’s real. He has to want to do the story because he’s not going to do something where he puts his name and reputation on the line with something he’s not comfortable with. I don’t want it to be on some street business. But I know he’s a fan of boxing. I’m aware of him and he’s aware of me. But one thing I know in my life, if things are meant to be, they will be. I think the timing will be right. Those guys–like a 50, a Jay-Z—they inspire me to come from where we come from. To come from Jamaica, Queens to come from Marcy Projects, to come from Philadelphia and somehow make it…those guys inspire me.
Absolutely. Segueing to the big fight. Chad Dawson, a 29-year-old big lefty. What challenges does he present?
Well, the challenges I set forth for myself are more than the challenges he could ever bring to the table. HBO invested a lot of money in him and he needs to deliver. He’s thinking he has an old 46-year-old man in there with him that he’s going to beat up and he’s going to be the heir of this division. That makes him dangerous. But one thing about being 46 in boxing…when is Father Time going to flash by Bernard Hopkins? It’s going to be seen, but not happen October 15th on Pay-Per-View. I want people to understand that I feel the rules are different to me because of what I invested in myself 10, 15 years ago. I’m not saying I never get aches or pains because I’ve had many of them this camp…I’m human. But this will be a performance that I will outdo the last fight. I’m inspired by outdoing myself. I’m eager to prove that for me, 46 years old is not a death sentence. Not for me and the way for me to show that is prove it October 15. If people feel like they didn’t get their money’s worth with the [Victor] Ortiz-Floyd Mayweather fight, then you should still have a few dollars for this fight because it’s history. Every time I get in that ring with someone who’s young enough to be my son, then that in itself should be enough motivation to watch this fight.
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