Bernard Hopkins, speaking to Kelly Pavlik after winning their non-title 170 pound fight on Saturday.
What can you say about Bernard Hopkins? From the moment he entered the ring in Atlantic City on Saturday night, wearing (for the first time in many a year) his trademark Executioner mask, we should have known something was up.
What a performance.
For those of you who didn't see it, B-Hop dominated Pavlik from start to finish with a comfortable unanimous decision. I had it 118-107 but in truth it didn't matter - this was a (surprising) whitewash.
However, his comments after the fight (shown above, taken from Dan Rafael's account of the fight on espn.com) are sickening. Coming from the man who said he would 'never lose to a white boy' before he fought Joe Calzaghe, this is another racist statement which should not be tolerated.
I have no problem with Bernard as a fighter. Sure, he's not the most exciting to watch, but to see him mentally as well as physically deconstruct an opponent is a great sight. It is art. Yet for this statement to go virtually unnoticed is a disgrace.
Bernard - you are a first ballot Hall of Famer. In a time when boxing shoots itself in the foot with alphabet soup organisations and too many champions, you were for many years an undisputed champion in one of it's key divisions. In terms of dominance and superiority, you were a throwback to halycon fighters such as Sugar Ray Robinson and Carlos Monzon. Yet statements such as this, as well as your chequered history, make you unlikeable as a human being.
Now, more then ever, boxing needs strong leaders in the ilk of Ali, Louis and Marciano. MMA, though I don't rate it myself, has become a threat. It is taking money and attention out of boxing. Yet it is struggling as well, and in the fight of the pugilistic disciplines, 'faces' would go a long way. These men need to be likable, these men need to be exciting and, Bernard, it makes no difference if they're black or white.