“There are so many things I’ve done that the world of boxing has witnessed. It’s going to be difficult for the boxing people to pick one of my performances as the best.
“I’ve done so many unpredictable things and so profoundly. Even the people who want to go against me, are afraid to go against me. They’ve been wrong so many times. A lot of them are just being mum right now. They must feel I can still do things.
“This is a great position to be in. I don’t really believe there is any fighter, in any decade that can be in my position of luxury that I’ve been in for many years.
“Early on in my career I had the kind of anxious where you couldn’t sleep at night. That anxiousness is like a virus we all have in us. Some you can deal with but some will wipe you out.
“The Pavlik fight was the first time I heard the masses put the word knockout attached to my opponent. I’m real keen on what people say. Ninety percent of it might be garbage, but something in there might be the plan. That woke me up and I knew I wanted to destroy.
“The only thing I can do is be right about what I say. Because I know I’m being watched. I understand what I’m facing. All I can do is put the work behind it.
“I didn’t need to take any fight for the last 10 years. But I’ve always fought the best and I’ve always wanted to prove myself to the best.
“I always not only want push the envelope in my career but I also have an itch for going against the grain.
“Enjoy that you can see me now. I would love to see the great Michael Jordan and Julius Erving in their younger days, but they’re gone. Look at me at 50, I’m going to eat right and live right so I can take less punches and look normal.
“This fight isn’t about boxing, it’s something deeper than that.
“I was made to be where I’m at. I just had to go through some challenges, so that I can educate others later.”
SERGEY KOVALEV, WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion
“Fifty is just a number. I think nothing of his age. If he was old he would be retired, but he’s still in there. He’s not an old man, he’s a young alien.
“I’m really excited for this fight. I will do my job and anything I need to do to win.
“Bernard likes to push everybody, inside the ring or outside. We’re ready to begin. We’re ready to fight. I feel like I’ve been fighting him for two months going to the gym every day.
“I don’t know what will happen November 8 because this is sports, this is boxing. But I will be ready. I will get a chance to be undisputed and I’m ready to do it. That is my goal.
“I need to do what I do and do it very well.
“I can think back and remember everything from early in my career, but I don’t want to do that. It was often very terrible and it was hard to get to this stage and this place.
“I was searching around for any promoter but no one would sign me. I fought for three years for free. In 2013, Kathy Duva signed me and my career has gotten much better. Being on a big fight on TV is what I’ve always wanted.
“Egis Klimas paid for everything when I was starting out, my opponents, my clothes and my food. He invested a lot into me.
“This fight is a great opportunity for me to create my history for me and my family. I will do that. When my son grows up he will be able to look at this and say, ‘that is my father.’ He can see that I did it for him.
“I can’t make any predictions. We will see everything on November 8. It’s boxing, it’s a fight. For me, any fight like this is a street fight, anything can happen.
“I’m going to go in to fight. I’m going to box, I’m going to show that I can fight with the best light heavyweight right now.
“From my side everything will be clean and fair. I don’t know what he will be doing.
“My life has already changed but this fight means everything.”
NAAZIM RICHARDSON, Hopkins’ Trainer
“Sergey Kovalev is an exceptional puncher. We haven’t seen him hurt guys of extreme quality yet, but we can’t take for granted what we’ve seen against the opposition he’s faced. He’s annihilated these dudes, that’s how he wins fights.
“Kovalev is a monster. He’s a beast. He punches harder than Hercules. But I don’t want people to defang him on Sunday. If Kovalev is all of these things that people say he is and Bernard beats him, you better start that car and drive him straight to Canastota and induct him into the Hall of Fame right now.
“We’re too late in the game to overhaul from training camp to training camp. We train Bernard Hopkins. The rest of the world adjusts to Bernard Hopkins. Each camp we strive to get the best Bernard Hopkins we can.
“We don’t even call it training camp. It’s a lifestyle for Bernard. They’re just dates we all get together.
“It’s genetics. It’s lifestyle. There are many variables that mesh together to make Bernard who he is. We just have to appreciate him while he’s here.
“With a win over Kovalev it separates so that now he should go to the Hall of Fame as ‘The Executioner’ and ‘The Alien.’ A win over Kovalev only adds to ‘The Executioner’ but it would also solidify a Hall of Fame career for the ‘The Alien.'”
JOHN DAVID JACKSON, Kovalev’s Trainer
“Sergey’s talent is still untapped. He could be a really special fighter. He needs to get past this fight here first and then the sky is the limit for him.
“His punching power is so unreal it makes him hard to deal with.
“I warned Bernard’s camp a few years ago, don’t fight this Kovalev kid. I don’t know what they told Bernard. But I told them please don’t fight this kid.
“This is business at the end of the day. Bernard can talk about me all night long but I don’t have to get in the ring with him.
“Sergey doesn’t understand English that well so it doesn’t matter what Bernard says. There’s mutual respect, but fight week is here so we’ll see what happens.
“Sergey is ready. Bernard is all he talks about. Beating Bernard is the next phase of the plan. If you beat a fighter of that magnitude it takes you to the next level.”
SADAM ALI, Undefeated Welterweight Contender
“Luis Carlos Abregu is not someone you should overlook or underestimate. He has power in both hands. He gives you a lot to worry about in the ring because of his tremendous power.
“There is no limit for me. I just want to keep going and going. This is the biggest fight of my career and I just have to be on my A-game.
“I worked on defense a little more than usual in training camp, I think anyone who fights Abregu should. I’ve been training hard and I’m mentally and physically prepared. No weight lifting, but a lot of calisthenics.
“It’s been a long journey to get here. It hasn’t been going as fast as I expected it to but there’s a plan for all of us. This is the biggest fight of my career, I hope there are bigger fights coming but so far it’s the biggest.
“I have a tough opponent and I think a lot of people are underestimating me. I’m the underdog now, which I’m not used to being. I’m putting in the time and the work in the gym and I’m ready.
“Everybody is entitled to their opinion and I honestly like being looked at as the underdog. I want to be underestimated, that way you’re going to be surprised by what I bring to you.
“I’ve put in the time at the gym so I’m not worried about getting tired at all. I have to be heads up in the ring.
“This fight is definitely a bigger step up than people thought I was going to take but after I win this I will prove a lot of people wrong.
“Everybody needs to take this kind of step if they want to be special and I want to be special. I know I am special. Training camp was great and I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a long time.
Hopkins vs Kovalev Fight Week Arrives
Months of grueling training and countless hours of preparation have led to arguably the most anticipated fight of 2014 featuring Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins taking on Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev. This Saturday, Nov. 8 fight fans will finally get a chance to see what all the talk is about when the light heavyweight champions meet at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ live on HBO World Championship Boxing®.
However, before fight night arrives, please take a look back at some of the noteworthy words exchanged between the Hopkins and Kovalev camps.
Bernard Hopkins, IBF and WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion
“I’ve been in the game for almost three decades. I look for more of what a guy brings to a gunfight other than bullets…The sweet science is not based on only one thing you can do particularly well.
“I’ve been watching this guy, I dug up amateur fights of this guy, and I know how he breathes, I know how he sits down, I know where he sits down, what he thinks, I know everything about him.
“There’s no fighter I wouldn’t put my record up against. In this era, in any class. I put the work in to have the track record and be taken seriously.
“Come November 8 on HBO you get to watch artwork. You’re watching Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong with gloves on.
“I want the best. Hagler fought the best. Ray Leonard fought the best. The Alis of the world, they fought the best. I’m from the era where I fought the best and that’s important to me.
“I have the same thoughts on Kovalev that most people here do. He’s a dangerous puncher, he has an over 90 percent knockout rate and anyone who fights this guy has the opportunity to not be the same. We won’t take anything away from this guy because he’s real, but on Nov. 9 we don’t want anyone saying what they aren’t saying now.
“Kovalev is a threat to anybody. It won’t be an easy fight, even if it looks easy to you. I don’t just have to beat the man, but I have to beat a lot of people. They’re either going to watch me win or watch me lose, and I don’t mind playing that game. I don’t believe in luck, I believe in whoever brings the best of themselves and whoever sacrifices to be victorious will win.
“This is nothing to sneeze at, that’s the main thing, but just being able to be around as long as I’ve been and still fresh as a daisy, I believe, and I’ll prove it November 8th, there’s no definition really behind it. Just enjoy it, understand it, and realize that you might not be alive to see it again.”
Sergey Kovalev, WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion
“Bernard talks and fights. I just fight.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do. I go into the ring and I get my victory at any cost. If I need to fight, I will fight. If I need to box, I’m going to box… I don’t have any strategy for the fight, just to go into the ring and fight like a street fight. I’m going to kick his ass because he’s my opponent.
“I always have bullets in my arsenal. My hands are my weapons. It’s my weapon in the ring. Hopkins thinks that I only have two bullets but I will bring some more.
“It is not easy to overlook Hopkins. I think when he’s 60 years old he’ll be in the same condition. He’s an alien, but I have to send him to the moon and maybe from there he’ll go by himself to Mars.
“I don’t really understand what Bernard is saying. It doesn’t matter what he says. Even if I understood, I wouldn’t care. I don’t worry about him. I’ll go into the ring and do my job.
“He has pushed me little bit. I want to do everything a little bit faster and a little bit rushed. I already can’t wait for this day to come. I have patience and there is nothing I can do but wait for November 8 to get two more titles and go back and give this victory to my wife and my son.
“Any way I need to get a victory, dirty fight or clean fight, for me it doesn’t matter. I will fight dirty, if Hopkins will fight dirty.”
Oscar De La Hoya, President and Founder of Golden Boy Promotions
“Being the best middleweight in the history of this sport, with 20 defenses and now to be 49 at light heavyweight, he’s still going strong. I’m now convinced he is an Alien.
“Bernard Hopkins, not only are we talking about the fighter who is the best in this era, but can possibly be the best in any era. When you talk about comparing the ’80s and the ’70s and the ’60s and 1990 and the 2000s, well Hopkins is a fighter you can say would have competed, if not would have been the best, in any era. That’s what we’re talking about right here.
“People respect the fact that at 49-years-old, he’s still going strong. There’s no sign of him slowing down. He’s getting faster, he’s getting stronger and he has more energy. He’s toying with young fighters, half his age. For Hopkins it’s starts outside the ring, he breaks you.
“At 49-years-old, being the oldest champion in any sport, he deserves tons of respect. The fact that he’s facing the ‘Krusher,’ is just another of the many dangerous fighters that Bernard has faced.
“At this point. Hopkins is already in the Hall of Fame, he’s already going to be talked about as one of the greats. So he doesn’t have that added pressure of trying to prove himself. I think people already have the utmost respect for him.
“I believe that Hopkins focuses not on what he’s going to do physically, but on what he can do to get his opponent out of their comfort zone and what combinations does he not expect from me. I wouldn’t say he’s awkward, but he knows how to offset you.”
Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events
“This fight is going to be the most anticipated fight of 2014. It’s so much fun putting together a fight like this that everyone wants to see. It’s great to see the excitement level and the anticipation. You can feel it in the air.
“Bernard’s never been stopped. Sergey has knocked out just about everyone he’s fought. It is a tremendous, compelling fight.
“This is going to be a tremendous event. It’s one of those fights that when the bell rings you really won’t know what is going to happen. It’s not about finding out who’s best, its about who is going to win the fight, because both are great.
“This is what boxing is supposed to be and we look forward to November 8.
“The first person I thought of when I saw Sergey Kovalev in the ring was Ray Leonard. I saw the look in his eye and I could tell he was different. I believe he is the most electrifying boxer in the world of boxing and he will prove it on November 8.”
# # #
“Alien vs. Krusher: Hopkins vs. Kovalev” is a 12-round unification bout for the IBF, WBA and WBO Light Heavyweight World titles, presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Main Events in association with Caesars Atlantic City, Corona Extra, AT&T, Hortitsia Vodka and Mexico, Live it To Believe It!. Ali vs. Abregu is a 10-round welterweight bout promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank. The HBO World Championship Boxing telecast begins at 10:45 p.m. ET/PT.
Tickets priced at $300, $200, $150, $100 and $50, plus applicable fees and service charges, are on sale now and available for purchase at the Boardwalk Hall box office, by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 736-1420 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.