Bernard Hopkins feels that his historic run at his advanced age has been largely ignored by the general media because he's black. In an ESPN exclusive interview, Hopkins was asked why his record-breaking run hasn't transcended the sport.
"[It's] because I'm black," Hopkins said before the start of his media workout at the Joe Hand Boxing Gym. "What do you think if my name was Augustine, Herzenstein, Stern? Cappello? Marciano? Don't you understand the conflict of interest?"
"If I was any of those names of any other background, I'd be on every billboard and every milk carton and every place to be. If we're talking 'American Dream,' here's a guy who almost threw his life away and he took this great country's great attributes and used it -- do for self, work hard and be a law-abiding citizen. I've done that for 26 years."
"If you really look at it, I have done the 'American Dream' that people have died on boats to come here to live," Hopkins said. "I have done all of that and then you look back and say, 'Wait a minute, what's wrong here?' A lot of people are not bold to say it, but I am."
Hopkins has never been shy about bringing up racial themes in media interviews. He once even made national headlines by claiming that former Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb wasn't tough enough, or black enough, to ultimately succeed in the NFL. At that time he also followed that up with the following statements on McNabb:
"Forget this," Hopkins said, pointing to his own dark skin. "He's got a suntan. That's all."
"Why do you think McNabb felt he was betrayed? Because McNabb is the guy in the house, while everybody else is on the field. He's the one who got the extra coat. The extra servings. 'You're our boy,' " Hopkins said, patting a reporter on the back in illustration. "He thought he was one of them."
So this latest rant is probably sure to stir up some controversy, and just in time for Saturday's fight. Maybe can generate a ratings boost by continuing to talk with no filter, which he'll be sure to do. He even went on to say that a win over Kovalev on Saturday wouldn't even crack his top three most significant wins. The number one of which he saves for Kelly Pavlik.
"That was the greatest moment of my life because it was undeniably white against black," Hopkins said. "The American story against the thug, even though he changed his life. The convicted felon. So it was me representing an entity that had changed in spite of what they say you should be able to do. But once you do it, they really don't want you to do it.
"And so I exposed it and I beat him easily after being a 6-to-1 underdog. And, matter of fact, it even went further. I ruined his life. I ruined his career."
Although Pavlik was undoubtedly never the same after losing to Hopkins, troubled by alcoholism and retiring from boxing at 30, Hopkins still taking smug shots at Pavlik about that years later seems a bit low. And for the record, I don't believe Hopkins record-breaking run isn't garnering as much media attention as he'd like because he's black. Yes, there are still many racial injustices that exist today but I certainly don't believe this instance is one of them. I think it has much more to do with him not being a much of marketable star to the general public, and that is largely attributable to his years and years of boring fights. I mean he was taken off PPV for a reason and that's because many of the fights he did have on PPV were duds.
Sure, the hardcore boxing fans and writers alike respect Hopkins and all of his achievements in the ring, but even most of them don't get overly excited for his fights. And honestly, most casual fans I've talked to aren't even aware that Hopkins still fights, and when informed that he does, they still don't care much to look for him. Whatever you want to take from this, we can be sure of one thing - welcome the villain back.