Lem’s latest: Hopkins goes from Mayweather critic to ‘groupie’
LAS VEGAS — Hall of Fame-bound IBF light heavyweight ttitleholder Bernard Hopkins, a Golden Boy executive, had his promoter’s hat on following the post-fight press conference in the aftermath of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s unanimous decision that dethroned Canelo Alvarez as RING and WBC junior middleweight champion on Saturday night at the MGM Grand.
Hopkins said that he ranks Mayweather third, all-time, behind Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali, and ahead of fighters such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Marvelous Marvin Hagler.
A 36-year-old, five-division titlewinner who is THE RING’s No. 1-rated pound-for-pound fighter, Mayweather (45-0, 26 knockouts) earned his ninth belt against Alvarez (42-1-1, 30 KOs), a 23-year-old Mexican star who was THE RING and WBC junior middleweight champion.
Calling Mayweather “Michael Jordan” in boxing, Hopkins said that he rates Mayweather so highly “first, because of his zero,” and, “second, he just does more things as a disciplined fighter than the great Marvin Hagler, who is my legend, who I took a lot out of his discipline page.
“You can probably make some little weak argument [against Mayweather] about the talent pool, but he’s beating up young guys that can fight. They would beat anybody other than Floyd Mayweather right now. His time is his time,” said Hopkins.
“When Michael Jordan came through, and he was sweeping through all of those years, there were great players around him. But Michael Jordan just elevated himself to a situation. Floyd Mayweather is Michael Jordan in boxing when Michael Jordan ruled the game, when it was like, whose going to beat this Chicago team?”
Hopkins said he became a convert after watching Mayweather go from being badly staggered during the second round of his unanimous decision over Shane Mosley in May of 2010, to dominating the rest of the fight.
“I was one of his critics…When he beat Shane Mosley, you know, I sort of instigated that fight,” said Hopkins. “But when I saw him recover, and I saw him make Shane Mosley actually want to shake hands and talk, and have a conversation, I said, ‘Man, call me groupie, or call me what you want, but I’m riding with this man. I’m converted.'”
Already THE RING’s welterweight and WBC 147-pound champion, Mayweather also defended his WBA 154-pound belt against Alvarez.
A former undisputed middleweight champion and RING light heavyweight champion, Hopkins, 48, earned his most recent belt with a unanimous decision over Tavoris Cloud in March, extending his own record as the oldest man to win a significant crown. Hopkins first set the record at the age of 46 in May of last year by outpointing Jean Pascal for the WBC’s 175-pound belt.
Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KOs) said that he would love to face Mayweather in May at 160 pounds should he get beyond an Oct. 26 clash with 175-pound challenger Karo Murat (25-1-1, 15 KOs).
“If I have until May. Let me take care of Oct. 26, and I guarantee you, by March or early April, you can weigh me and say, ‘Bernard, you’re at 168. ‘I mean, do I have to come in with two legs, because I’ll cut one off. But trust me, if I have time, I have a great coach, even though I haven’t used him since I went from 160 to 175, and that’s Mackey Shilstone,” said Hopkins.
“We would put a game plan together, I go to New Orleans, or somewhere where it’s hot, and I’ll train like a dog, and I’ll be myself, and I’ll come in there, and I’ll do what I’ve got to do, and I’ll make the most historic, unique fight between a 37-year-old who can fight. No one can count me out. They won’t count me out… I’ll be 49, and he’ll be 37.”
Another option for Mayweather could be RING, WBA and WBC champion Danny Garcia (27-0, 16 KOs), who scored an 11th-round knockdown on the way to a unanimous decision over RING No. 1-rated 140-pounder Lucas Matthysse (34-3, 32 KOs) on the Mayweather-Alvarez card.
“He’s beaten everybody. Right now, we’re trying to find out who might be next. Is it Danny Garcia? Is it this person or this person. I say, ‘Give me until May to make 160, and you’ll see another chess player beat another chess player. The only way to beat a bad man with a gun is with a good guy with one,” said Hopkins, re-injecting himself into contention for a Mayweather bout.
“My whole thing is that if you don’t have an IQ of wisdom, knowledge and understanding, and a clean, healthy body to come to the table — and I ain’t pitching myself for a fight, I’m just telling you all. But if I was 30, or 29 or 28, my name would be coming up more than just when I was at ringside and asked if I can make 160. We’ve got two guys that live the same way. And you have two guys that don’t get hit. I’ve never been cut. But it’s got to do with the defense, man. Defense makes the best offense.”
NEVADA COMMISSION CHAIRMAN ACCEPTS BLAME FOR PRESENCE OF JUDGE C.J. ROSS
Nevada Commission Chairman Bill Brady has informed Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review Journal that he regretted allowing C.J. Ross to officiate Mayweather-Alvarez, which she scored a draw at 114-114.
Recommended by Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director, Keith Kizer, who could not be reached by RingTV.com for an immediate comment, Ross had come under question and scrutiny for being one of two judges who scored 115-113 for Tim Bradley following his split-decision over Manny Pacquiao last June.
“I accept the blame for that. I, as chairman, let the public down. I could have done something about it, and we chose to go the way we did… We need to change the way we do things and we will…,” said Brady, who was ringside and was “was a little surprised” upon hearing that the fight was a majority decision, accoring to the Review Journal.
“And there’s grave concern by the commission over what happened Saturday. We are already thoroughly looking into this…I can guarantee there will be some changes. We have to protect the fighters, the viewing public and the betting public. We’re going to look at our vetting process. It needs to be more thorough. We have to get this right.”
Kizer said that “both camps were pleased with the officials we picked for this fight,” according to the Review Journal, later adding, “We’re always looking for ways we can improve the system.”
Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer told several reporters after the post-fight press conference, including RingTV.com, that Kizer made assurances that there were would be “no controversy.”
Schaefer said on Saturday night that he hoped that in addressing Ross’s appointment, the commission own up to its role in the situation.
“What I would like to see them say is that, ‘You know what? It was a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes. The best way to handle a mistake is to say, ‘You know what? I made a mistake. Sorry. It shouldn’t have happened. It won’t happen again,” said Schaefer.
“Then you move on. But when you know that you made a mistake, and you try to bulls__t people and you try to like talk your way around it and so on, I think that you make things worse… I like the commission, I respect the commission, but they’re going to have to live with their mistakes.”
Ross, for her part, defended her scoring in the Review Journal.
“When you score 12 rounds of boxing, you’re scoring 12 separate fights. From where I sat, there were a lot of close rounds and a lot of exchanges Canelo was able to win,” said Ross.
“Canelo was able to land his punches effectively from the inside and control the rounds I gave him. I have no problems with my scoring the fight the way I did.”
SCHAEFER: NSAC SHOULD HAVE SEMINARS FOR JUDGES
Schaefer believes that the NSAC should hold educational seminars for judges, in particular, and, officials, in general.
“The Nevada Commission made a lot of money tonight, I mean, with the gate tax alone. Nevada made a lot of money on a $20 million gate. Six percent is $1.2 million,” said Schaefer.
“They made $1.2 off of the gate, so I’m sure that they can pay for some educational seminars or whatever for some of the officials. That’s what I would do. I would tell them to put that money to good use.”
MAYWEATHER SAYS LEFT ELBOW WAS INJURED IN THE FIFTH ROUND VS. ALVAREZ
Mayweather was on the way to securing a knockout before injuring his right hand during his unanimous decision over Robert Guerrero in May, according to his father and trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr.
Asked if he felt he was close to scoring a stoppae victory over Alvarez on Saturday, Mayweather revealed that he was limited by an elbow injury suffered during the fourth or fifth round.
“Actually, what happened in the fight was that I was using the jab, and I was thinking that I could use more combinations going down the stretch. But when we came close, at one particular time, I think that I dislocated my left elbow when we came close. So I stopped throwing the jab, I think, after the fifth round,” said Mayweather, who believes that he bumped his arm against Alvarez’s.
“But then, when I looked over at my corner, and I looked over at my children, I said, ‘Nah, I can’t give it up.’ I told myself that I’ve got to keep using my jab, because I was put in this position for a reason. My arm was hurting, and I wanted to stop throwing my jab and to just paw with the jab and just land the right hand, but I forced myself to use the jab. My right hand. My right hand feels good, and my left hand feels good. I’m just a champion, man.”
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Rich Kane, Hoganphotos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]