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Bernard Hopkins says ‘window has closed’ on facing Golovkin

03
Mar

 

Photo: Naoki Fukuda.

Photo: Naoki Fukuda.

Washington, D.C. — Bernard Hopkins is ready to move on from the idea of facing IBF and WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin for the final fight of his illustrious career. “That window has closed,” Hopkins told a small group of reporters on Thursday.

Hopkins, 51, claims he was in the running to face Golovkin in the first half of the year at 168 pounds in his retirement fight — going so far as to start thinking of the particulars of training camp. “That’s the type of fight I wanted, to end with a bang,” Hopkins said. “That’s a fight you can get hurt in.”

Hopkins had even started to brainstorm ways to sell the fight to HBO. “I can present this to HBO: ‘Out with the old, in with the new,'” he said. “We can promote it like that. You got the middleweight legend of yesterday and the middleweight [champion of the] present who’s dominating, and Mr. Hopkins has never been knocked out.”

But Golovkin’s camp decided to face mandatory challenger Dominic Wade on April 23 instead. Hopkins is still planning the details of his last fight, which he says will likely take place this summer at either super middleweight or a catchweight of 170. But Golovkin is no longer an option. “Because I have enough sense to know that in June, I’ll be halfway [to 52],” said Hopkins, looking trim in jeans, a sport coat and a checkered dress shirt that rested comfortably over a flat midsection. “So I count things by numbers and halves. And I’m already picking out my (grave) plot around that time. You understand?”

Hopkins said he wasn’t interested in facing newly crowned WBA champion Felix Sturm. WBO super middleweight champion Arthur Abraham seems to remain an option if he gets by Gilberto Ramirez in April. He said he’d be willing to travel to England to face IBF titleholder James DeGale. Hopkins said his hometown of Philly would be his first choice to host his retirement fight but he doubts the city would be able to “support it” compared to places like Las Vegas.

“My hope and goal is to do one more meaningful fight,” Hopkins said. “If not — this guy Felix Sturm just won a super middleweight title — who knows? I really don’t want to fight [him]. Abraham? (WBC light heavyweight titleholder Adonis) Stevenson is off the table because more of the Al Haymon situation — he don’t want to do me no favors, we all know that.”

Hopkins said he would finalize his decision and make an announcement by the spring but he doesn’t want to face a pushover. HBO has an option for his final fight, he said. “I’m not just going to get in there with nobody because that’s not my style,” he said. “I want to fight somebody that’s going to kick my ass if I’m not ready.”

He’s aware the clock is ticking on his decision. He doesn’t want to be a punchline by waiting around too long. “I turned 51 in January,” he said. “I will be 52 next January. I don’t want to blow another summer. It gets silly now … 52, 53, 54 … ‘That man better not be fighting’ … because then it becomes not even a story — it becomes a joke. And I don’t want to ever intentionally or accidentally put myself in a position to be clowned because that’s what I’d be doing. So there’s a timeframe.”

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