An open letter to Bernard Hopkins

17.09.04 - By Carlos Campos: Dear Bernard, Leading up to this Saturdayís bout with Oscar De La Hoya, you have been splashed across newspapers, television and radio in an effort to promote what is undoubtedly the biggest fight of your career. In the beginning, I was of the opinion that this was due in large part to the fact that you stand to make a windfall off of the pay-per-view buys. But after listening to you today on a well -known syndicated radio talk show, Iíve changed my mind. The real reason you have been overexposing yourself is because you really enjoy telling anybody who will listen that you are the greatest middleweight since The Raging Bull.

Well, to quote an old Public Enemy tune, donít believe the hype! Itís beginning to sound like you were the star pupil at the Don King School of Promotion. I think you should seriously consider changing your name from Executioner to Egomaniac. You are always quick to point out your string of title defenses and your seemingly easy victory over Felix Trinidad as proof of your greatness.

Uh, Bernard, letís talk about Roy Jones Jr. and why you never seriously discussed a rematch with him in the past 10 years. And please, no more excuses about the money not being right. When you are the best middle weight in the history of the sport like you claim to be, you shouldnít let a little thing like money stand in your way of your legacy.

And enough with pointing out Felix Trinidad as your coming out party! Trinidad was a puffed up welterweight. Why donít you try and call out someone in your own division. Or better yet, why donít you finally take a chance and step up in weight to fight an Antonio Tarver or a Roy Jones? You donít seem to have a problem with other fighters stepping up in weight class to fight you. Could it be because you might actually end up with some competition? I donít remember Carlos Monzon challenging welterweights in order to prove his superiority.

How many more times are we going to have to hear you tell us about your prison past and how that has given you a hunger that is greater than any other fighter out there? If being incarcerated were a prerequisite for boxing greatness, then Mike Tyson would still be champ. Bernard, do you think that De La Hoya grew up in Beverly Hills? East Los Angeles is not exactly Mr. Rogersí Neighborhood. And if you think De Le Hoya has lost his hunger, why does he still carry around a food stamp in his wallet? Itís because it serves as a reminder of where he came from and what he never wants to go back to again. B-Hop, you of all people should know that success manifests desire. Do you think Donald Trump stopped selling real estate after he made his first million? Of course not. De La Hoyaís past success only serves to create more desire within. This is the mark of a true champion and it is not exclusive to Bernard Hopkins.

I almost fainted when I heard you say you were a better ďoverallĒ fighter than Marvin Hagler. Stylistically, you two are different animals. Hagler was a prodding, determined assassin who relied on his ability to cut a ring off and slowly immobilize his opponent with ferocious blows. You rely on both your power and above-average boxing skills. But, come on letís be serious. Hagler was a legend that defeated legends. Last time I checked, Robert Allen and William Joppy were not exactly on the fast track to the boxing hall of fame. When you did have your chance to defeat a top player in the game, Roy Jones, you lost. If you had ever faced a fighter in the same vain as Marvin Hagler, you would definitely have been humbled.

Come Saturday night Bernard, your decade-old jig will be up! In Oscar De La Hoya, you will be facing someone whose desire and courage is on par with the greats of the sport. All along the press junket for this fight, you have insinuated and outright stated that De La Hoya lacks the courage and the heart to be in the same ring with you. Just because a fighter doesnít have scars like Rocky Balboa doesnít mean he canít fight. If anything, it means he has the ability to hit without being hit. And after all, isnít this the point of boxing? My guess is that you will find this out the hard way on Saturday.


Carlos Campos

P.S. - Vince McMahon called. He wants his Executioner mask back.

Article posted on 17.09.2004

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