Dan Rafael's weekly must-read Notebook is up, and the biggest story this week is about the first Pavlik-Hopkins press conference for their October 18 pay-per-view bout in Atlantic City.
So what did Bernard do this time? Did he pie-face Pavlik? Bring his "last meal"? Rip up an Ohio State flag? (If only.)
He complimented Kelly Pavlik.
According to Rafael, Hopkins said, "I have nothing bad to say about the guy. I'm a fan of Kelly Pavlik's. ... He is the rightful heir apparent to the legacy I set down in the middleweight division. One thing about this fight, I am a fan of Kelly Pavlik's. I became a fan of his and not just because he beat Jermain Taylor twice. He got the title honestly, he didn't get it on a favor or politics or because he was supposed to be the next big thing. He got it by knockout. He became the heir apparent that Jermain Taylor didn't become. Kelly earned it the old fashioned way. Nobody gave it to him. As far as I am concerned, it's his middleweight division now."
Who is this nice old man and what did he do with "The Executioner"?
I'm not saying I don't like it -- in fact, I think it's refreshing. Bernard's tactics have gotten old, and one has to think a 43-year old man with a big bankroll can't legitimately be as immature and silly as he has acted on several occasions. So when Bernard acts like an adult who has a job to do, I like that. Because that's the reality of who he is.
Was anyone going to buy this fight BECAUSE Hopkins threw a rock -- verbally, literally, whatever -- at Pavlik during this media gathering? No. You're either the type that will order this fight or you're not. Frankly, I'm more likely to order it NOW than I was before. I might be in the minority here (thought I don't think I am among serious fans), but this is more of what I'd like to see. There is a time and place for personal rivalry stuff, and no one was going to buy that Hopkins and Pavlik had any real beef.
Good for Bernard, and good for boxing. The less forced, see-through drama, the better. It's time more fighters started acting like grown men when the cameras are rolling.