Bernard Hopkins started yesterday with a crack-of-dawn run along Kelly Drive and through winding, hilly Fairmount Park up to Girard Avenue. Before his mid-afternoon training session at Joe Hand’s Boxing Gym, he sat among reporters and cameras and hyped his Dec. 18 bout against current light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal in Quebec.
In his mind, it’s a battle of old versus young, and for good reason: When George Foreman became the oldest man to become heavyweight champ with much fanfare, he was two months from his 46th birthday. If Hopkins wins, he’ll be a month older.
“People will be dropping their canes, putting their teeth in and rooting for me,” said Hopkins. “I want to prove you can be a warrior with longevity if you do the right things when you’re younger. Fight like you’re poor, even when you’re not. Fight like you’re hungry, even when your fridge is full.”
Boasting that “Bernard Hopkins continues to make history,” he talked about staying true to Philadelphia roots, being accessible to local fans, how he hasn’t been debilitated like others who boxed for long spans and how he’ll tire, surprise and beat his foe.
“Young is always a threat to the old. You can ask housewives or corporate executives all about that,” said Hopkins, who fights a 27-year-old with a 26-1 record on his turf. “Every now and then, something different happens. That’s what I represent.”
No sign of statue yet
The last time Metro caught up with Hopkins, he was promoting his March fight against Roy Jones Jr. At that time, he questioned why there wasn’t a statue honoring Joe Frazier. Hopkins deemed him “the king of Philadelphia boxing” and said if the city were to find a place for the honor, “I. Will. Pay. For. It.”
Told yesterday that the city hasn’t taken any visible steps toward a Frazier statue in eight months since, Hopkins said he thought if someone “gave them a big check, they’ll do it. But, you know how this city is.”