Pavlik/Hopkins Conference Call Transcript

Lee Samuels: Weíre here with the champ, the world middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik. Heís in Youngstown with his trainer Jack Loew. Theyíre both here on the call and weíre talking about the big fight with - against Bernard Hopkins, October 18, Atlantic City Convention Hall. Itís called ďUnstoppable.Ē Itís live on HBO Pay-Per-View. And Kellyís been training very, very hard for this event which heíll talk about. At this time Hall of Fame promoter, Bob Arum. Bob?

Bob Arum: Thank you Lee and everybody welcome to the call. After we finish here weíre going to turn you over to Kelly Swanson for the Hopkins conference call. Kelly and Jack are in Youngstown, Ohio finishing up training. As always Kelly has trained at a fearsome pace. Weíre very proud of Kelly because when he comes into the ring he comes in 100% and gives 150%. So without further ado Iíd like to turn you over to Kelly Pavlik to say a few words and then his trainer Jack Loew. Okay Kelly.

Kelly Pavlik: First I would like to thank everybody for this conference call and, you know, getting ready to put on another great show again on the 18th and Iím excited and looking forward to it. Training camp went well. As Mr. Arum mentioned earlier Iím rounding it up now, fine tuning everything and ready to go out there and show everybody what Iíve got again.

Jack Loew: Yeah like Kelly I want to thank everybody for having this call. We, you know, weíre in great shape as usual. Heís worked hard as he has for any other fight if not harder. You know, weíre fighting a legend in Bernard Hopkins and by no stretch of the means would we take somebody like him lightly. So, you know, I think youíre going to see like Mr. Arum said, youíre going to see Kelly out there at 150% if not more and weíre looking forward to the 18th.

Dan Rafael: Kelly I read something in - I think it was in the Cleveland newspaper yesterday that you had some sort of arm injury or elbow bump or something. Could you just - Iím sure itís nothing too serious or you wouldnít be fighting the fight but can you just tell me a little bit about what happened with that and whatís the story with it?

Kelly Pavlik: Yeah, you know, with the local people, the media, you always say things and to a whole new level. We bumped it about maybe a month ago and had a little bruise on it but, you know, it was nothing that ice, you know, didnít fix and, I mean, weíve been sparring 8, 10 rounds getting ready to finish up this week or a 12 round and have had no problem with the elbow. Itís just, you know, people hear one little thing. It was a little leak, I hit it that day and that little leak turned into, you know, something big for a reporter to keep his job.

Dan Rafael: So it happened a month ago though is what youíre saying?

Kelly Pavlik: Yes.

Dan Rafael: Okay and what elbow was it?

Kelly Pavlik: Left.

Dan Rafael: But itís not giving any problems right now?

Kelly Pavlik: No, not at all.

Dan Rafael: Okay thatís good. I had another question for you. You know Bernard, very cagey fighter, been around a long time doing this. And one of the great attributes of Hopkins has been his chin over the years. Heís only been down to my knowledge two times in his entire career. Both happened in the same fight about 10 or 11 years ago, maybe longer than that even. So and youíre a big puncher Kelly so how big of a deal would it be for you to put him on his butt or even to stop him in this fight? What kind of statement would that make?

Kelly Pavlik: Oh that would be a huge statement. That would probably be one of the biggest statements since probably the last 40 years in boxing. I mean, he has never been stopped. You know, how good of a chin does he have? Well we donít know. I think the two times heís been dropped it might have been (unintelligible) hit two times, you know, so the question is what happens when he does get hit flush.

Heís got great defense but, eventually in a fight it wouldnít - heís got to keep up at a pace, you know, his defense will lapse a couple of times so we take advantage of that and then itís definitely not out of the question an early round stoppage or a quick knockout or anything could happen, you know?

Dan Rafael: And do you think that the power that you have at middleweight which is obviously very good, you will take that with you at 170 pounds?

Kelly Pavlik: Oh yeah. I walk around 176, 175 and we could definitely have allowed myself to go to 185 but we donít. Weíre still fighting in that middleweight but, you know, my natural body weight is, you know, a little bit above 170 so I think with being able to eat more and keeping my body energized and refreshed and Iíll definitely have more snap on my punches at that weight too.

Dan Rafael: Great, thank you Kelly. Bob could you comment though about your take on how big of a deal it would be? I mean, obviously you want Kelly to win the fight but what kind of statement would it be to get a knockout win against somebody like Bernard with such a great chin?

Bob Arum: Well, you know, Iím an old baseball man and itís just winning the game. I mean, you know, a home run is very, very dramatic and, you know, a knockout is equivalent to a home run. But Iíll take singles and doubles as long as my team has more runs than the other guy at the end of the game. Same way on this one. I just want Kelly to win the fight. Iím confident that he will. If the home run comes, if the knockout comes, great. Doesnít come, I wonít be disappointed.

Michael David Smith: Kelly, you touched on it a minute ago but can you say specifically how much do you weigh right now and is it an issue at all for you that youíre moving up in a weight class?

Kelly Pavlik: No, not at all. I've been asked that question but if you go back and look at a couple of my fights, I mean, four years ago there were stoppages. The weight to me is not a big deal at all. Like I said earlier I have more energy, I have more snap to my punches, more bounce, and going in there, I mean, it's not an issue for me. My weight right now is about 171, 172 so we're right on top of it.

Michael David Smith: And overall has it - has weight been even an issue as far as your conditioning? I mean, did you do things like lift weights more or anything like that as you got in shape for this fight?

Kelly Pavlik: No, we didnít lift more because I still lift weights but we donít do anything where itís heavy, where we use muscle mass. We just stick to our regular plan with lifting like we always have. We have this other workout that we do with the Iron Man. We just picked up one more day on that. And running, we did a little more hills and stuff like that, not being afraid to add any muscle to my legs so but pretty much the training has been the same. I mean, there hasnít been much of a change at all.

Jordan Ingram: The question I have is for Kelly. Kelly, you know, a lot of times people talk about this fight and they just make it seem like if B Hop the veteran against a real good up-and-comer in yourself. But with six of your past seven fights actually having championship implications, you know, do you think that youíre a lot more experienced for this fight heading into this fight than most people on the outside would actually give you credit for?

Kelly Pavlik: Yea, thatís actually a good question there. First of all Zertuche didnít have the same name recognition as say with Taylor or Hopkins or Winky Wright. But he was a fighter that was rugged, tough, he had a great background. We went in there and we beat him and I learned a lot in that fight.

Then we turned around and fight Edison Miranda who nobody fights and who is a monster, who is a dangerous fighter. We went in there and we beat him and we stopped him. Then we come back and we fight Taylor not once but twice who beat Hopkins. Controversial or not he won and we fought him. And then we turn around and fight Lockett, a kid with a lot of European experience. You know, over in Europe heís had a lot of fights.

So, I think I touched every aspect of fighter -- South American fighters, American fighters that are agile and quick and experienced, and then a European fighter. And plus with my amateur background I think my experience is very wide. And also we have Bronco McKart that I fought that was a very experienced fighter then there were a lot of great fighters.

So my experience level right now is every bit as high as most of the other fighters out there. Is it as high as Hopkins? No, but mine hasnít been as high as a lot of fighters that I have fought early in my career.

Jordan Ingram: Are you coming into this fight with really high expectations? I mean, obviously like you said Edison Miranda, a great fighter. A lot of people wouldnít want to fight him. So do you come into this with high expectations? I mean, because this is like probably your most high profile fight that youíve had so far.

Kelly Pavlik: Oh yeah, definitely. I donít think itís as high profile as Taylor just due to the fact Taylor did dethrone Hopkins but, speaking of Hopkins, a two-weight class division champion, world champ, you know, never been convincingly beat.

So itís great for me. I think I could do - especially after watching the Calzaghe fight - I think I could definitely go in there and win this fight convincingly. You know, stoppage or just a unanimous decision, thatís going to be a huge, huge victory for me and, you know, I have a lot of - a ton of confidence going into this fight with Hopkins.

Jordan Ingram: Letís say that you beat - that youíre able to beat B Hop, and you say you can kind of walk around with the weight that you have now. Would the thought be that maybe thinking about going forward maybe fighting in a higher weight?

Kelly Pavlik: Well itís - thatís something in the future. The main thing is the 18th. Yeah thatís definitely in the future but weíve still got business in that middleweight division after we take care of Hopkins.

Jordan Ingram: Basically also as far as tough fights in the middleweight division do you look at it like there are a lot of tough fights or thereís not like a whole lot of like real big fights left? I mean, thereís Arthur Abraham there but do you look past Abraham seeing as though you beat some of the top guys like Jermaine Taylor and Edison Miranda, do you think that thereís a lot of good fights from a financial perspective that are left for you in the middleweight division going forward?

Kelly Pavlik: There could be. And I hate to do this to you on a long question like that but as all fighters say, the main - mostly and foremost is the 18th. This fightís not for the middleweight title so we know the middleweight championship is going to be there and we could talk about that after the 18th but right now our focus is on Hopkins.

Joe Maxse: Kelly, Iíve obviously talked to you plenty before but just to go over, thereís a good chance Hopkins is going to try something early in this fight to upset you, especially in the way of fouling. And I donít know, how much time have you spent if you can, can you even train for somebody that, you know, heís probably going to try to do something to, you know, foul wise to get you out of your game. Have you been able to work on that?

Kelly Pavlik: Yeah definitely. I mean, we have guys in the gym sparring that will do things. Mentally itís to not give him a chance. He is going to get a hold of me but the main thing is if you watched the Calzaghe fight, the second half of the fight Calzaghe played the same game to Hopkins and Hopkins was the one turning to the referee pointing and telling him that Joe was being dirty on the inside. And it kind of took Hopkins away, the second half of the fight from his game plan and his strategy. So, I mean, that right there was a big thing watching films on Hopkins.

And also heís never really fought a guy of my size and strength on the inside. The only big guy he fought was Tarver but Tarver wasnít really on the top of his game during that fight. But me, heís fought a lot of great, great fighters and he beat them but a lot of them guys were smaller fighters. So itís going to be a little harder for him to try to roughhouse on the inside and get away with dirty tactics as first of all heís going to have to use a lot more energy. Second of all, you know, he goes both ways on that.

Joe Maxse: And I think we talked about, youíre going to fight it at your pace. I think people should watch to see that pace early and see how you dictate it.

Kelly Pavlik: Definitely. Iím not changing anything so you keep up and if he tries to keep up that defense of his is - eventually somethingís going to open up.

Lou Cali: This is for Jack first of all. Obviously Kelly is fighting probably the most experienced fighter heís fought so far and the savviest fighter. A two part question Ė A, how does he approach the training change at all? And second, has the choice of sparring partners altered at all considering, you know, youíre going to have a fighter with, you know, basically all the tricks in the bag.

Jack Loew: Well, I mean, like Kelly said earlier, we didnít change anything for training. You know, we trained as hard as we do for every fight. We trained just as hard for Gary Lockett. But we are fighting Bernard Hopkins.

Kelly said it earlier. People are mistaken if they think that Kelly is a weak kid on the inside. Heís a 6í3Ē middleweight that is extremely strong on the inside and donít be surprised if we put Bernardís nuts in his throat before he touches us low. Weíre just as rough as he is on the inside so itís a tit for a tat and he fouls, we could fight rough too. So weíre not concerned about his roughhouse tactics.

Weíre planning on going in there and fighting Bernard and do what we want to do and thatís to make him fight at a really high rate and throw a lot of punches. And Kelly lands 55% of his power punches. And youíve got a guy that throws 37 punches a round versus a guy that throws close to 100, 103 punches a round, 97 punches a round. We havenít changed anything, weíre going in there and weíre just going in there and weíre going to fight our fight.

Lou Cali: Has it been difficult to get a sparring partner that kind of simulates what Hopkins does?

Jack Loew: We even got somebody in there that looks just like Bernard. We brought in Byron Mitchell and itís amazing how much he looks like Bernard and weíve been teasing him about that. And but weíve got him in here and weíve got James Countryman which is a slick mover. He does a lot of rolling with the shoulders. And weíve got a couple of bigger, stronger guys and, you know, weíre well prepared. We have plenty of sparring and thatís one thing we did not lack.

Lee Samuels: Bob has some things to announce about the show on Saturday.

Bob Arum: Yeah, first of all tickets, there are still some tickets left, most of them in the lower price category. The response has been enormous. Weíve sold over 10,000 tickets so far and we expect a full house on the night of the fight. Pay-per-view is going extremely well. We think Kelly is going to surpass anything that heís done before on pay-per-view.

The undercard is worth noting, Steven Luevano will defend his WBO featherweight title against Billy Dib, an undefeated fighter from Australia. There is a WBC middleweight world title eliminator which should be dynamite, Marco Antonio Rubio of Mexico fighting Enrique Ornelas. And the winner of that fight could be down the line an opponent for Kelly. And then thereís a 12-round NABO bantamweight title fight, Abner Mares, undefeated fighter from Guadalajara, Mexico fighting against Luis Melendez of Cartagena, Columbia.

So itís a terrific undercard that will be part of the pay-per-view which is $49.95. And prior to the telecast four international companies will be taping this entire event and also I think it will be shown on the Internet portals. Yuri Foreman, undefeated junior middleweight from Brooklyn, New York, faces Vinroy Barrett of Nashville, Tennessee.

So itís a good, good card and I advise you to tell your readers or listeners to get their tickets quickly so that they donít get shut out because itís getting to that point where weíll be sold out. Itís a good card. It should be a great fight and I canít wait to see it.

Bernard Fernandez: Kelly, have you had much occasion to, you know, to speak to Boom Boom Mancini and, you know, can you kind of comment on how, you know, where your popularity and everything maybe has tracked like his has as the latest hero for Youngstown?

Kelly Pavlik: Yeah, I talk to Ray. He comes in to town once in a while. But, as far as popularity, I wasnít around much when Ray was popular but he still carries a huge name in the area. I mean, heís still well respected and people still love him. I mean, no matter where he goes in Youngstown people flock to him. So he was great for Youngstown, still is great for Youngstown, heís still got guys out to (unintelligible) and, hopefully down the line one day that my name will still carry, 15, 20 years after I retire.

Eduardo Ohata: Kelly, you are handsome, exciting, and a finisher. Now what do you think that you have should do to be a superstar with the crowds of people that doesnít follow boxing?

Kelly Pavlik: Thatís a pretty good question. I would imagine, definitely I keep winning. Thatís the first step. Exciting fights, fighting the best fights out there is another key thing. So and once we start getting attention of what Iím accomplishing then I think thatís where everything starts skyrocketing.

Eduardo Ohata: Okay and do you think that you can take the place of Oscar de la Hoya after de la Hoya retires?

Kelly Pavlik: I donít know that. It would be nice. Iíve got a little of couple of things against me, first of all my looks. You know, he was more of a ladiesí man but, I have no idea on that. It would be nice but my main thing is go in there and fight, win, and move on to the next.

Igor Frank: What are your thoughts? I mean, it just looks on the outside that you canít win. If you beat him, heís an old man. If you lose, itís bad news for you. What are your thoughts? What are you trying to accomplish by fighting him?

Kelly Pavlik: Well first of all, there werenít too many matches to be made, and Bob can answer that one even better. He knows. But there were no fights to be made right now at the point. Abraham had his mandatory fight. A lot of other guys that were mentioned didnít fall out.

But Hopkins, coming off a very controversial decision against Calzaghe, he got beat up by Calzaghe pretty bad then, he could start throwing the age number around but he didnít. And as Calzaghe supposedly is best fighter in the room and Hopkins gave him everything. So that was one of the best fights out there to be made right now.

Bob Arum: I can say this, what Kelly said. We tried to make a fight with Calzaghe. I reached a tentative agreement with Frank Warren, Calzagheís promoter, and then Calzaghe split with Warren and elected to fight Roy Jones and theyíre trying to sell tickets in Madison Square Garden for that fight at $2500 a ringside seat. And of course the people from Wall Street are lining up to buy tickets at that price particularly in light of how well the marketís doing.

Raul Saenz: Kelly, as you know the economy in the country is not the best right now and you represent a lot of people especially in your town of in Ohio, of Youngstown, the hard American working man. And up there you know the Ike hurricane, storm that really did half a billion dollar damage in Ohio, do you feel any kind of pressure because so many people especially young kids, theyíre looking up to you?

Kelly Pavlik: Yeah you feel a little pressure. I mean, there has been especially, going into the world title fight in the first match against Taylor, there was definitely pressure there. But there is going to be pressure no matter, if itís 10 fights now, and 15 fights thereís not as much pressure. You want to constantly keep putting, Youngstown on the map and keeping it there in a positive way.

So thereís a little pressure but the toughest challenge comes taking that pressure and setting it aside for four or five days or so a week and focusing on, exactly what you have to do and thatís the main thing. And weíve been very good with that, from the first Taylor fight and actually the Miranda fight, the eliminator for the title fight. So, that pressure, now we know how to deal with that. But yeah, thereís a little bit of pressure, but nothing that affects anything.

Lee Samuels: Okay, before we go Bob, letís review the fight week schedule and then weíll turn it over to Golden Boy. On Tuesday weíll be - Kelly will be flying into New York City on Monday night and weíll be at B.B. Kingís in New York on Tuesday at noon for a press conference. And then on Thursday at Caesarís we will have a roundtable press meeting with all the pay-per-view fighters. Thatís at noontime at Caesarís in Atlantic City.

And then Friday weíll be at the weigh-in at 5:00 pm at Circus Maximus Theater at Caesarís. And then we will be - first bell is 7:00 pm on Saturday and the pay-per-view on HBO begins at 9:00 pm. So Bob, itís a very exciting fight week. We canít wait to get to see Kelly and Jack and weíre ready to go.

Bob Arum: Yeah, Kelly Pavlik is probably tired from training but Kelly Swanson even more tired from running the tour so Iím glad to hear from you Kelly Swanson who we will now turn it over to. Iím glad youíre still...

Kelly Swanson: Thank you. Iím still alive, yes I am. Okay, thanks everybody. We appreciate your being on the call and thanks of course to Kelly Pavlik for his great words. I think itís going to be an excellent fight. And now Iím that much more excited about this side of the call because as you all - as Top Rank and Bob Arum mentioned, it is now Bernard Hopkins and Golden Boyís turn to talk about what is going to happen when Bernard faces Kelly Pavlik. I know firsthand Bernard has been training really hard, really hard for this fight and so Iím going to back my man.

But before we get to the main man, the Executioner himself, Iím going to introduce Richard Schaefer, Chief Executive Officer from Golden Boy Promotions to introduce the champ. Richard?

Richard Schaefer: Thank you Kelly and welcome everyone to todayís call. It was very interesting. I was listening in to Kellyís and Bobís comments and what really stood out, it sounded like this is not really a fight Kelly nor Bob wanted and I think they probably know why. Because the difference is Bernard really wanted the fight. Bernard throughout his career has tested his skills against the best and Kelly today in this particular weight class is the best. I was happy to hear that Kelly had a great camp and is in his best shape. That is what Bernard wants. He wants to fight the best Kelly Pavlik there is so that there will be no excuses when he wins.

Throughout the last 15 years Bernard has fought the best from Trinidad to de la Hoya and pretty much everyone and anyone in between. Twenty consecutive middleweight defenses, never been knocked out, last time down about 15 years ago. Almost 70% of his fights he won by a knockout. And the fact is today, you know, when you travel with Bernard from mainstream to the airports to everywhere, he is together with Oscar the most recognized fighter with - has really captured not just the boxing world but mainstream America.

So itís really great to have Bernard be back in the ring going against the best. And on October 18 Kelly Pavlik will not be fighting B Hop. He will be fighting the Executioner. Itís a pleasure now to introduce to you my friend, the legend Bernard Hopkins. Come on Bernard.

Bernard Hopkins: Thank you. First Iíd like to say my name is Bernard Hopkins and I approve the introduction from Richard and everything else is great. Weíre having a great camp here. And I didnít listen to Kelly Pavlik and his people but Iím pretty sure they mean everything they say and that will bring the best out of Bernard Hopkins. Heís not fighting Jermaine Taylor, heís not fighting Miranda, heís not fighting the other guy from Paris, I canít even mention his name, his last fight - from London, excuse me. But this is going to be a different fight for Kelly Pavlik.

And Iím just excited, I had a great camp, great team. Iím just ready to go. In a couple of days here Iíll fine tune it and headed to New York and then Atlantic City and then show everybody come October 18 which is the 20-year anniversary of Bernard Hopkins fighting in Atlantic City for, you know, my first fight as a professional in 1988 with Clinton Mitchell if the record reflects that. Itís been brought to my attention by a boxing journal. So in saying that Iím ready for all questions and like I said Iím ready for October 18 mentally, physically, and to sock the world again.

Dan Rafael: There has been a lot of discussion about the fight. Iíve heard a lot of comments that you made when you guys did your little media tour and we talked one time prior to this conference call. You know, I wonder after all the big fights youíve had and the titles and the money and all the stuff, what is your motivation to keep fighting at your age?

Bernard Hopkins: My motivation is back pay. And Iím a late bloomer and Iím a late start in everything in boxing. As you look at my history for years, the last five years has been a blessing for Bernard Hopkins and my family and it reflects that and Iíve done well. Iíve done well in the ring and Iíve done well in financing and dealing with Richard Schaefer who comes from the financial banking industry. Iíve made some great investments.

But in saying that, I am a late bloomer. Whether history reflects whether it was worth it or not, I can tell you it was for the years that I didnít get the chance to shine. And you wrote about it many years and, you know, some believe that my decisions was going in the wrong direction and it bought me time. It bought me time to be here at 40 plus years old still doing what I do at my best.

And thatís what I tell people over and over. I say this you have to understand. Bernard Hopkins havenít had the opportunities that other fighters in my era or before me early in their career where theyíre not even around anymore. I mean, I didnít - I mean, (David Reed) came and left. Itís a gold medal winner. Jermaine Taylor is on the verge of a big question when he fights Jeff Lacy. I mean, Iím still here and Iím still around. So if you can do it and you can do it in respect of your legacy and yourself and youíre not disrespecting it, then why not? Why not?

I mean, youíve been writing over ten years and it ainít physical boxing but in the same token, if you still have it in your blood in your veins and you still have it in your heart and your desire to get up in the morning, to be able to travel city to city and write about this or write about that, just look at that as a boxer. If Iím willing to take my body through five to six weeks of pain and then see the rewards then I think that should be more looked at than why Iím doing it and Iím doing it for the right reasons and not the wrong reasons. And I think thatís more of me doing than more of me trying to explain it.

Dan Rafael: I want to ask you this then as a follow-up to that. Do you ever think about am I going to do this one fight too long? In other words, at what point do you think - and I know you can still do it. Obviously, you know, I thought you won the Calzaghe fight. Weíve discussed that. But at what point do you say you know what, enough is enough. Why push my luck?

Bernard Hopkins: Itís not luck. You know, luck didnít get me out of the penitentiary without getting killed, stabbed, raped, or whatever. Luck didnít get me out of the ghetto and turn my life around. Hard work creates luck.

And so, you know, luck and Bernard Hopkins are enemies because I believe that everything thatís been mapped out for Bernard Hopkins, even the bad stuff, has been part of my legacy to make the character that I became and the person that I became -- not only a family man, not only to my wife and not only with my sport and my athletics and the sport of boxing, but it had a lot to do with my whole demeanor. And thatís something that Kelly Pavlik and them are blessed not to have in one way. But itís been something that worked for me.

And what worked for me is where Iíve come from, where Iíve been at. I never second-guess my decisions. I never second-guess my decisions because I think long and hard about the decisions I make before I say I do. And if a person does that then they will stay out of the penitentiary like I have done for 20 plus years.

See Dan, this is go way beyond boxing. When I made my decision that I wasnít going back to the penitentiary I had no money, I had no fame, I had no star power. How did I pull that off? So luck and Bernard Hopkins doesnít rhyme. It doesnít rhyme, it doesnít go together.

Dan Rafael: I didnít mean in the specific sense of luck. I just meant, you know, it gets to a point where youíve had a lot of fights, you get a little bit older. I mean, I think even you would admit as good as you still are youíre certainly not what you were say 2001 when you beat Trinidad. And so at what point do you just know?

Bernard Hopkins: Iíd just say if I am not the same person that I was, if Iím not, excuse me, not the same person that I was in 2001, then I want someone to prove that by putting me on my ass, by making me look like I shouldnít be in the ring. I havenít heard Dan Rafael say that. I havenít heard the (Tom Hauser) of the world. I havenít heard a credible writer, the credible experts, (Burt Sugar). Iíve never had as of yet -- as of yet I havenít heard someone say that of credibility that I respect and that boxing world respects. So why would I think about something thatís not even in my even least of thinking?

You know, my whole thing is you think about bad, bad will happen to you. If you think about whether you can do or you canít, that becomes another burden on you. I donít need that in my life. The only thing I need to know is can I prepare myself mentally and physically to go to battle -- and I say yes.

Dan Rafael: Okay Iíd like Richardís opinion about that if he has a minute. Richard do you ever think about, I know you also deal with Oscar to the same degree, you know, one too many fights? You know, youíve got to worry about that a little bit. Just your thoughts about what Bernard is saying.

Richard Schaefer: Well look, first of all I think Bernard and Oscar are very amazing athletes but what they really are as well, they are very smart and very clever people. They really know what they are doing and they know to listen to their body and to say you know what, now is enough. But as long as they can compete at that top level, you know, like Bernard beating Calzaghe, Oscar, a lot of people have Oscar winning the Mayweather fight, basically both of these guys winning against the two top pound-for-pound fighters at the time, you know, as long as it is like that why should they walk away? Why should they walk away?

And as long as they are able to attract the kind of following they do like you saw with Bernard and Bob mentioned it before, selling over 10,000 tickets, Oscar selling out the MGM. As long as there is - as long as theyíre embraced by the fans and they have the kind of following and they put forward the kind of performances they put forward, then why should they stop?

Bernard Hopkins: And one more thing too Dan, this is like I look at it like you take the two Jermaine Taylor fights and you take (unintelligible) history but Iím just saying, you take the Joe Calzaghe fight. The guy threw 1000 punches, a couple of hundred punches around. You know, then someone talks about my age and youíve got a controversy whether who won or lost a fight from a 43-year old champion? I mean, what the - did they say their guys to leave? Did they say to the guys, I mean, I had not one mark on my face. And again I didnít get into the money and get into all that stuff but I feel that the fans really ainít get what they supposed to get anytime a so-called ďold aging fighterĒ canít get a scratch on him by a guy seven, eight years younger.

So my thing is again, Richard and Dan Rafael and anybody thatís listening -- I know my limitations and I know my body. I havenít sparred in two days because I felt myself peaking and looking too sharp, running a full house of sparring partners out of camp since Iíve been here. And Iím talking about young guns that have careers thatís 25, 26, 27. The oldest guy I got is 29.

Thatís because I know where my body tells me Bernard you need to take two days of not boxing. And thatís Bernard knowing me. No trainer had to tell me that. Nobody had to see that. Now (Nazim Richardson) sees it. (John David Jackson) sees it. But I felt it and thatís the difference. And thatís the edge of having experience, having been there, done that.

And again I, you know, as the doctor told me yesterday doing my physical, Richard and Dan, he said Bernard, you know, youíve got the body of a 25-year old that thinks heís 43. Youíre an amazing athlete based on the records of what weíre looking at on this computer. Youíve got a heartbeat that a 65 year old man would have but youíre an athlete.

So when you hear people that donít know you, donít have no agenda, that have no agenda to tell you these things and say that you have made a machine out of yourself well in the age of unusual, then you ought to be proud of that and, you know, they donít know - I ainít going to tell them consistently. I did kind of one or two times but after that I just got to keep showing them. Iíve got to keep showing them.

And Kelly Pavlik is the perfect opponent for me come October 18 because he comes forward, he comes to fight, and look -- he wants to knock Bernard Hopkins out. At least thatís what he says. But heís going to find it difficult and thatís going to change the fight. I guarantee you Dan, thatís going to change the fight. Tito tried to walk me down. Tito had one bullet in the chamber and that was a left hook. If Kelly Pavlik thinks heís going to beat Bernard Hopkins because he has a right hand, heís a damn fool.

Bernard Fernandez: Over the last 14 or 15 years youíve been the primary standard bearer for Philadelphia boxing, for Philadelphiaís reputation as a great boxing town. But, you know, really there hasnít been anybody to challenge you on that. You know, not Abe Miller, not anybody like that. Probably your greatest competition for recognition in Philadelphia came from Donovan McNabb and from Allen Iverson. Then you have a kid like Kelly Pavlik. You know, they donít have any professional sports teams. You know, heís basically following in the footsteps of a guy like Ran Mancini who was adored because he was the only show in town, you know, coming 25 years after Boom Boom.

You know, can you kind of reflect on your circumstances and how your fight has not been so much, you know, to gain recognition in the boxing world but in your own hometown against, you know, those team stars like McNabb and Allen Iverson?

Bernard Hopkins: Well I think that Philadelphia came around many years ago and, you know, recognized Bernard Hopkinsí achievements personally and also to Philadelphia. And I think Bernard that, you know, itís better late than never but they did eventually put on.

And as yourself and, you know, your wife and many people from the media world in Philadelphia, Media City in Philadelphia came out to the parade, that was the most highlight time of my professional career when it comes to recognition. To see over 15,000 plus people shut down Philadelphia.

Article posted on 10.10.2008

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