The middleweight champ--a.k.a. the Executioner--signed last week
to fight Oscar De La Hoya on Sept. 18. Hopkins (43-2-1) has won
23 straight fights.
SI: You turned 39 in January but show little signs of aging. How
have you done it?
Hopkins: A lot of it has to do with genetics. And ducking doesn't
SI: You have an IBF mandatory defense fight with Robert Allen on
June 5. You won't slip up and lose that one, right?
Hopkins: The only way I will lose to Robert Allen is if somebody
slips Ecstasy in my water.
SI: Does it bother you that De La Hoya is guaranteed more money
[$30 million to Hopkins's $15 million] for this fight?
Hopkins: Absolutely not. Oscar De La Hoya is unique. Even Ray
Leonard didn't have the star power Oscar has. Oscar De La Hoya
and Bernard Hopkins is an event where actors and actresses will
come out, and I give all credit to Oscar for that. I don't think
I can get Jack Nicholson to come out and watch me fight.
SI: Roy Jones Jr. outpointed you in '93 for your last loss. Does
that result still bother you?
Hopkins: It motivates me to stay in boxing as long as Roy Jones
stays in boxing to force that [rematch]. Our excuses--both of
ours--have been about money and weight class. But one day Roy
Jones and I will fight at 175 pounds. And after I fight Roy, I'm
SI: You used to sew your daughter's photo in your trunks. Will
you do that for the De La Hoya fight?
Hopkins: My mother passed away last year. She was the backbone of
eight kids. You will see Shirley Hopkins either on my trunks or
on my shoes.
SI: Is it more fun to smack around a good-looking guy like De La
Hoya than just some average-looking boxer?
Hopkins: Oh, absolutely. You know, it wouldn't hurt to knock out
a couple of teeth. You look at De La Hoya, and you think that he
is an actor or a singer. I'd like to rearrange a couple of things
on his face so the pretty boy becomes just another boxer.
For more from Bernard Hopkins, go to si.com/siexclusive.
COLOR PHOTO: ARNALDO MAGNANI/GETTY IMAGES Ring lord wants Oscar