Bernard "The Alien" Hopkins will meet Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev in the ring during a light heavyweight unification title bout at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ live on HBO World Championship Boxing, but the two met on Tuesday for a press conference that saw Hopkins steal the show with his amazing promo on his opponent that all combat sports fans & up-and-coming fighters should watch to see how it is done.
At the NYC Press Conference for Hopkins VS Kovalev at the Waldorf Astoria, Hopkins cut a classic promo about himself and his opponent. Hopkins said that the fans and press should not worry about when he will retire, but should worry more that he is still growing stronger as he gets older. Hopkins told us that he is "walking a tightrope" against his opponent, who is named "Krusher" for a reason, but his opponent is Russian and Hopkins "is Ukraine", and there are plenty more gems that need to be heard in this great speech.
"Everything I do at this point in my career affects my legacy," Hopkins, with a record of 55-6-2, 32 of those wins by way of knockout, told the crowd. "I’ve set and broken many records, but becoming the oldest undisputed light heavyweight world champion is the goal and Kovalev stands in the way of that goal. He’s another young, hungry fighter and just like the ones that came before him, he will leave the ring beltless." Hopkins also urged his fans to "watch Louis Armstrong with boxing gloves do his business" on November 8. This is an epic promo that needs to be watched, and future MMA and combat sports stars should study this man as he works the crowd and sells a fight like no other.
The promo works on many levels, but my favorite is how he compares himself to older music. From The Beatles to the great Jazz musicians of the Harlem Renaissance, Hopkins dances to the drum of his own beat and likens himself to this classic and timeless music repeatedly since that is how he views himself and wants us to see him. When it comes to the trash talk portion, going political by calling himself "Ukraine" got a cheap pop from the audience, and even made Kovalev smirk a little in an uncomfortable way. By the end of the promo, it's hard not to get on the side of Hopkins, and even if you are not a fan of his, it surely must make you want to see how their fight is going to end.
Hopkins knows how to work a crowd, and at age 49 never misses a beat. Hopkins is definitely among the best when it comes to cutting promos, along with Muhammad Ali, Roy Jones Jr, and modern greats like Josh Barnett. After all, it's easy to talk trash, but it's hard to make sense while doing it.
In April, Hopkins defeated Beibut Shumenov to win the WBA Light Heavyweight World Championship, breaking his own record as the oldest fighter in history to win a world title, which he set in May of 2011 after defeating Jean Pascal at age 46. Kovalev comes off of the third defense of his WBO Light Heavyweight Title on HBO, defeating Blake Caparello by TKO on August 2.
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