Final Words: Hopkins vs. Kovalev
Photos: Hogan Photos/ Golden Boy
BERNARD HOPKINS, IBF & WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion
“When I step into that ring I’m at war with everybody.
“I have no secrets. I’m one of the cleanest athletes that has ever been in any sport. Remind yourself every now and then who you’re dealing with. Then you can say, ‘I asked him that 15 years ago.’
“Sergey wants to do what every fighter and athlete wants to do, put the best against the best. They want to fight the best. I’m not going to be in this game fighting nobodies.
“I know the ring like I know this building [Caesar’s Atlantic City], but that’s not because I’ve been here a bunch of times. It’s because I pay attention to everyone and everything. I believe at looking people in the eye and learning everything I need to know about them.
“I’m still calm and relaxed now, but I still have the hunger to prove myself. Sergey says he wants a fair fight. [To Sergey] You’re the Krusher, you make your own fair fight.
“John David Jackson says he knows everything there is to know about me. Sergey is the student. I’m not fighting John. But how can a teacher teach with credibility when the teacher has all F’s? How can a teacher teach a student to have all A’s when he has an F? I guarantee John did not show our fight to Sergey.”
SERGEY KOVALEV, WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion
“All roads lead to this fight. This is a huge fight in my career and in my life.
“Bernard Hopkins is a legend. He is a professor of professional boxing. This fight is dangerous for me but this fight is also dangerous for him because of me.
“November 8th on HBO in Atlantic City will be a great show and a really interesting fight. I hope that this fight will be very fair and honest.
“In the beginning of my career, I was ready to fight anywhere at anytime. No one knew me in America and I built my career from zero. I fought any place, any opponent.
“I only understand about 10 percent of what Hopkins says. He speaks in American English and slang. It’s probably a good thing because it doesn’t bother me.
“After he fights me, he can leave boxing and become a one man show in the theater or comedy. He is a great talker.
“It would be different if we fought in Russia and I could fully explain myself and what I want to say and he had what he was saying interpreted.
“I understand that he is sure of himself 100 percent, and that is a good thing, but I am going to win on Saturday night.”
SADAM ALI, Undefeated Welterweight Contender
“I am very excited to be on the undercard with Hopkins and Kovalev. Every time I’m on a card with Hopkins, he is making history and it motivates me.
“I want to thank all the promoters for getting back together because that is the most important thing.
“I am ready to put on a show. Everyone has the chance to put on a show. I have been boxing for 18 years and this is my time.”
LUIS CARLOS ABREGU, Welterweight Contender
“I want to thank Sadam Ali and his team. They are good people. This is a sport. In the fight we are going to come to work and it will be a fight. After that we will go back to being friends again.
“You all know my style. I’m here to give the fans a great fight. Let’s put it all together and may the best man win.
“Now there isn’t much more to say. Lets leave it for Saturday night.”
NAAZIM RICHARDSON, Hopkins’ Trainer
“This fight will put ‘The Alien’ in the Hall of Fame. ‘The Executioner’ is already in there. He is not only he oldest boxing champion he is the oldest champion in any sport. We can’t even reduce him to boxing any more, he’s no longer just ours.
“I’ve seen this man face punchers before. I’ve seen him face everything except for ‘fan man.’
“Come out and see one of the greatest athletes of all time. ‘The Executioner’, ‘The Alien’, ‘B-Hop’ or whatever your favorite segment was in his career.
“I don’t want anyone to declaw or defang Kovalev. I don’t want to hear it was this or that, or that the mind game of Bernard was too much for him. You all watch this kid. There’s no excuse for this man not to come out and do what he’s been doing.”
JOHN DAVID JACKSON, Kovalev’s Trainer
“Boxing needs fights like this. I respect Bernard and what he has accomplished in his career and I respect this young man Kovalev for what he has accomplished in his young career. He is going to go on to bigger and better things.
“It’s fight like these that keep boxing alive, with the veteran warrior and a young warrior willing to fight each other.
“The talking is done, the fight plan is together and every stone has been turned.”
EGIS KLIMAS, Kovalev’s Manager
“I want to thank Sergey for being a good person. It’s fights like these that keep boxing alive. He wants to take the old man’s title.
“It is a fight that people need to see in boxing. They could have chosen other fights. This is what boxing needs. I am respecting this man for what he’s accomplished.”
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, President & Founder of Golden Boy Promotions
“This is the premiere event for the year in boxing. The beauty about this is that it could easily have been on pay-per-view, but its not, it’s live on HBO.
“It’s the biggest fight of the year and all of the parties involved stepped up to the plate and it is going to be a highly anticipated event.
“Bernard is a future Hall of Famer who is shattering records left and right. Talk about perseverance, never giving up and fighting for what’s right.
“You can go on and on about what a perfect example of an athlete he is. He eats, sleeps, and breathes boxing. Bernard Hopkins is in a class of his own. We are never going to see another Hopkins in our lifetime, that’s how special he is and I’m not just saying that because he knocked me out.
“Having the privilege to step into the ring with Bernard Hopkins is an experience that is impossible to prepare for. How are you going to deal with his brain power, mind and his plan A, B, C?”
KATHY DUVA, CEO of Main Events
“Sergey will enter the ring with one belt and wants to leave with three. He has an electrifying presence in the ring and I have no doubt he is going to give us a show.