The Man Who
Trains Bernard Hopkins: Interview With Bouie Fisher
By Ike Enwereuzor / Jacboxing.com
I spoke to the man
himself, the old school legendary trainer, Bowie
Fischer, who is been in the games for over 3 decades
and traines the undisputed middleweight King Bernard
"the Executioner" Hopkins since 1989.
Mr. Fischer beats all the odds to be where he's
On Saturday, September 29, at Madison
Square Garden, New York City in front of over 19,000
boxing fans. It didn't surprise me at all to see
Hopkins who was regarded as the underdog entering
the biggest fight of his career but he excute his
game plan by knocking out previously undefeated
"Tito" Felix Trinidad at 1:18 of the 12
to unify 160 pound division since 1987, when Marvin
Hagler was stripped for taking a match with "Sugar"
Ray Leonard. It was a spectacular 12 round of action
between Hopkins-Trinidad but Hopkins took away Tito's
left hooks and became the first man to handle him
his first professional career lost.
Hopkins' fought a very brilliant
fight and masterful clinic against Trinidad allows
him to be compared to the past legends like Marvin
Hagler, Jake laMotta, Carlos monzon, Emile Griffith,
Dick Tiger, Ray Leonard or "Hitman" Tommy
Hearn. It was a lot of movements and jabs did the
job and Hopkins had Trinidad stunned in the 11th
round but couldn't finish it untill 12 with a shot
The new undisputed middleweight
champion would never allow himself to get out of
shape just like Hagler and Duran did. Hopkins is
expected to return to the ring Febuary 2002 against
No.1 mandatory contender Carl Daniels
"It's all I wanted since I
was 15 years old" Said Hopkins
What's going on
with you these days?
My life is working
in the gym 4-5 hours a day. It's a pleasure to see
kids want to do this. I teach them how to fight
and how to respect themselves and others. We get
no financial support from anyone, the man in our
area who promised financial help never came up with
anything. The gym charge is $10 for amateurs kids
and $25 for professionals if they have it. If we
can save one kid from getting in trouble, that's
our aim and I feel we do. People, not just blacks,
are welcome to take advantage of our gym. The kids
in our gym must bring their report cards to us at
the gym. They must do well in school, if not we
send them home untill they improve their grades.
They must finish High school and get their education.
It has been a journey, but Iwill never retire. I'll
be in the game for the rest of my life. Two of my
sons are working with me (James is Bernard Business
manager and Andre is my co-assistant). We have been
travelling a lot receiving awards for myself and
Bernard. The city just keeps building jails and
they aren't being built for nothing, it cost them
a lot of money, so it's a business and some of these
kids will end up there. The poor kids get hit the
hardest. This is why we feel that education is important.
If you don't have your report card I'll send you
home to get your grades right. Some of the kids
start to cry because of this, but I think it's better
to cry now rather than later. Sometimes the kids
will come up with lies, I'll tell them I have done
all that BS. They will lie about their road work
just like I use to do many years ago. I simply tell
them I have been there before.
You were a professional fighter yourself, what
do you remember from your first pro fight?
I started in the amateurs
in 1945 and I becama a professional in 1947. I remember
my first fight very well. I got knocked on my butt
4-5 times. The guy just beat me up. In those days
there were a lot of great teachers who use to talk
to me like I'm speaking to you now. Philadelphia
had so many great men.
When did you start
training Bernard Hopkins?
I started training
him in 1989. When Hopkins came to the scene and
wanted me to train him, he seemed to have his mind
in the right direction. We shook hands, then he
came back and hard work was the thing. I'm so happy
we beat all the odds. They regard me now as trainer
of the year.
What's has it been
like training Bernard for all these years?
Bernard's very dedicated
to this game. I don't have to call him to come to
the gym. He does his road work and comes to gym
ready to go. He's the best figher I have ever worked
with. He tries to do the right thing and treat people
right with respect. Now, people are asking me for
autographs. How about that? Now, I'm getting the
recognization for over 60 years in the business.
What do you think
he has improved on since 1989?
He's a remodel, goes
to schools, churches, organization to speak to groups.
When Bernard first told me he wanted to be a Boxer,
I told him I have heard that so many times. Bernard
said to me, "I don't care how many times you
have heard this." After I started to train
him I never had to call him to come to the gym or
do his road work. He always comes in without being
called. He improved so fast now he's regarded as
the best figher in world.
How would you compare
Bernard's fight with Felix Trinidad to his fight
I think both fights
came out the way we wanted. Keith Holmes was awkward
and more difficult to fight. He was there to survive
not to win. Trinidad was a perfect fight for us
and we knew it was going to be the easiest fight
of Bernard's career. We prepared ourself for this
fight 12 years ago and it worked out pretty good.
I want to make about 3 more champions. I'll do what
I can to win but something illegal I must back up.
This is my business, I gotta to do it right.
What is your impression
of Carl Daniels?
If you are No. 1, you
must be doing something right. He is a good fighter.
The last time I saw him fight he looked pretty good.
It will be a test for Bernard and that's why we're
here. If all goes well, maybe we'll fight Oscar
De La Hoya. They are talking about it now.
What are your thoughts
of William Joppy?
He didn't look bad
in his last fight with Eastman, but he looked like
he ran out of gas. At least he won. Eastman's not
a bad fighter he put Joppy down in the last round.
Joppy took a bad beaten from Trinidad but bounced
I talked to William
Joppy before his last fight and he brought up an
issue that Trinidad's people wrapped Tito's hand
illegally and that is why he lost. He said that
your people caught Trinidad illegally wrapping his
hands. Can you tell us what happened?
I tell you, Ike. They
have been getting away with that for a long time.
I sent my people to Trinidad's locker room to make
sure everything was right. When they got there they
came back to me and told me that Trinidad's left
hand was wrapped before they got there. So, I had
to go over to his dressing room myself, this is
my business and I have been doing it for over 50
years. When I got there I told them to unwrap the
hand and do it over because we need to see the hand
being wrapped. They refused to unwrap the hands
so I told them I guess the fight will not happen
then, we can reschedule to another date. The officials
came in and said we don't have time to do this over.
I told them, well we must do this right or no fight.
They know the rules, no tape on the skin or tape
on the ankle. His left hand was heavy just like
your camera. Guess what, the officials then said
you can go and wrap Bernard hands anyway you want.
Trinidad's father and his people didn't want to
make the change because they knew they cheated and
they tried to cover it up by asking me to wrap Bernard's
hands anyway we wish. I wasn't going for that, we
have to do this right, they raised hell like you
couldn't believe. I said you can do it your way,
but there will be no fight if you don't do it right.
They said we are going to leave it as it is, so
I told them we can reschedule the fight untill next
week. They didn't want to do that. This is why we
had a delay coming out. When they saw Bernard they
tried to ask us to take off just a little tape,
but they had a half roll of tape on Trinidad's left
hand. This is why people say he has a good left
hook. David Reid paid a big price, Trinidad took
away the fighter in him. David Reids people were
trying to schedule a fight with Bernard and it could
have happened if Reid would have won his last fight.
I'm glad it never happened.
Which fight do you
think was Hopkin's toughest?
I think his fight before
Roy Jones against Gilbert Baptist was a tough 12
round fight. Our first fight with Segundo Mercado
in Equador was a draw but Bernard is the most competitive
fighter I know, always physicallly and mentally
ready. He came back and stopped Mercado in 7.
What do you like
most about working with Hopkins?
I like his work habit
and the way he turned his life around. He was in
jail for 5 years but came out and improved himself.
I like him also for the way he prayed and got the
help he needed, I'm proud of him. He works hard
and he does his job. A week after his fight with
Trinidad he came back to the gym. I told him to
go enjoy himself for another week but he started
working with the heavy bag and speed bags. He's
going to start sparring in 2 weeks. He wants no
trouble with the authorities. He is always ready
to go speak to groups and organizations and he is
always signing autographs. He is certainly a remodel
and my sons are there for him just like a brother
would be. Our families are looking great, I have
11 grand children and 9 adopted. We're happy to
What are your thoughts
about Calvin Davis?
Davis is certainly
going to be alright. He has only one loss with 22
wins . We're looking for some good things from him.
He fought in Philly about 2 weeks ago, but I wasn't
there because there was a special award in Scranton,
PA., for Bernard and myslef so I had to go. But
Calvin won the fight in a 10 round decision and
he's scheduled to fight again in California in January
Do you think Bernard
will move up in weight to fight?
I don't think so unless
Bernard had to fight Roy Jones jr. again. Roy will
have to move down to 168 lbs and we'll put on a
couple of pounds.
Your advise to anyone
who wants to become a boxer?
If you want to be good
in this games you have to put in all you got. You
can't cheat because it will show in the ring. You
must train very hard to make it.
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