- Category: Sports
23 Sep 2013
- Written by Matt Breen / The Philadelphia Inquirer
PHILADELPHIA—Bernard Hopkins grabbed the boxing glove off the table and raised it to his face.
This, Hopkins declared, was no longer a glove. It was a hat. With one hand, he tossed the glove into the air and it plopped onto the table.
It was the 48-year-old’s way to say he was throwing his hat into the ring of conversation of possible May opponents for Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Boxing’s biggest draw and the world’s richest athlete needs a foil. Who better, Hopkins said, than the sport’s oldest-ever world champion?
“We are the special ones,” he said.
Hopkins defends his International Boxing Federation (IBF) light-heavyweight title on October 26 in Atlantic City. A possible fight with Mayweather is not a distraction, he said, but instead more incentive to beat Karo Murat.
Mayweather’s next opponent is guaranteed a handsome payday, and Hopkins would surely like a piece. But Hopkins also believes he presents the best opposition for the pound-for-pound king.
Young fighters, he said, would be too overmatched against Maywe ather’s chess-like strategy.
“They don’t have the IQ. They don’t have the skills which pay the bills,” said Hopkins. “They don’t have the whole makeup that’s needed to beat a mind like that.”
Danny Garcia, who scored a unanimous decision this month on the undercard of Mayweather’s last fight, is a favorite to meet Mayweather.
Hopkins said he would rather have the 25-year-old Garcia, his protege, fight Mayweather as long as the public bought in.
Mayweather’s visually lopsided majority decision over Canelo Alvarez makes it increasingly difficult to find Mayweather a suitable opponent.
The promoters have to find someone who customers believe has a chance to top Mayweather. Not just a foe, Hopkins said, who might give Mayweather a bloody nose.
“I’m not paying for a bloody nose,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins was ringside, wearing his promoter hat, earlier this month in Las Vegas as he sat between Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer and “the billionaire CBS guy.”
He was energized during Garcia’s win over Lucas Matthysse and “quiet as a church mouse” during Mayweather’s fight. Hopkins needed just three rounds to know that Alvarez did not have a chance.
That’s when a “very powerful person” asked Hopkins if he could lose nearly 15 pounds to go from light heavyweight to middleweight, where Hopkins once ruled, for a chance at Mayweather.
Maybe the person was just being nice, Hopkins thought. Or were they on to something?
Mayweather’s last pay-per-view grossed a record $150 million, and now they need to try to match it.
“The only person that can beat a master chess player is the master chess player himself,” said Hopkins.
The champion turned his back, threw his hands in the air and began training. He has a fight, or perhaps a pair of fights, to get ready for.