Five Minutes with Bernard Hopkins

Three weeks after becoming the oldest world champion in boxing history, sprightly 46 year old American fighter Bernard Hopkins came to Shanghai in order to help promote the Brawl on the Bund charity event. Hopkins loved his Shanghai experience so much that he's now looking to retain his light-heavyweight belt in the city next year. It would be a historic bout in more ways than one; not only would we see the oldest world champion defend his title, it would be the biggest fight to ever grace the Middle Kingdom.

How good has 2011 been for you? Your youngest daughter was born two months ago, then you become world champion and now you're in Shanghai. That's some exciting stuff!

Shanghai is fantastic, I've met great people and the hospitality has been through the roof. It's a new experience for me to be able to help people, and it gets my blood going to be able to look forward to something new. I'm enjoying this time late in my career, and I'm blessed to be in this position.

How have you stayed motivated over the span of a 20-something year career?

I look at life like this: whatever you have the passion to do, you should do. It's time to stop when you know it's time to stop. I don't have to get beat to a pulp to know that I don't have it no more. I don't feel the same way now that I felt when I was 35. I damn sure don't feel the same way I felt when I was 25, but I don't feel like I'm 46. When I stop feeling like I want to get up like I did this morning at 5am to run, then it's time to go.

How do you stay physically at the top of your game all the time?

I don't drink, I don't smoke, I get rest. I take care of my inner and I take care of my outer. I watch what I eat because that's my temple. I'm very conservative, I pick my battles and I pick my fights.

People call you 'The Executioner'. When your daughters are old enough to ask you why people call their sweet daddy such a nasty-sounding name, what will you say to them?

'The Executioner' is a name I got early in my career because I would get my opponents out of there so fast, it was like they was going to an execution. But as I got older, I have started taking the word 'executioner' and applying it to my ability to execute everything that I have trained to do and worked to do. I will say to my daughters, “You can execute that test in school, you can execute getting your driver's permit, you can execute anything that you have in your mind that you want to become.”

What a positive spin. Have you always been an optimist by nature?

You can never tell me I can't do something. I'm a very strong-willed person and I got it from my mother. She raised four girls and three boys, and our father was dead, but she really was the disciplinarian, the backbone. I'm a person that doesn't compromise. People say anything is possible, well look at my life. All I had when I started was me, and that's all I needed. I only get one time around on this Earth and I'm going to set the bar high and I'm going to get the most out of it.

What would you like your legacy to be? What's the one thing you would like people to remember you for?

Courage. That's it. Courage.


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