#1 something to do with why he is still in the league, and signe von corse178 29.10.2019 11:48

As the great Bernard Hopkins gets ready to end his legendary career with a farewell fight against Joe Smith Jr. on Saturday night at The Forum in Inglewood, California, it got me thinking about how long I have known him.When Hopkins, a month shy of his 52nd birthday, fights Smith in a 12-round light heavyweight bout, it will mark the 23rd Hopkins fight I will have covered from ringside. In all, I will have written about the final 27 of his 67 fights -- from Syd Vanderpool to Smith -- since I first began covering boxing for USA Today in 2000. I have written tens of thousands of words about his life and career.Through the years, I have gotten to know Hopkins as well as I know any fighter. I have dined with him and his family. He has met my wife and son, and even my parents and sister. Oftentimes when we talked in recent years, boxing has been only a small part of the conversation. We discuss our families, politics (that can be as rough as any of his fights), race relations, his time in prison and many other topics.I havent always agreed with the way Hopkins has gone about things (more on that later) but I have deep respect for what he has overcome and what he has accomplished. As far as I am concerned, he is one of the greatest fighters in history and, other than maybe Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and Roy Jones Jr., the best fighter I have ever covered.While I have many, many memories of covering his fights, we all know about them. It is the personal moments that forged our relationship and have given me insight into Bernard Hopkins the person.Instead of looking back at his biggest and best fights, here are a few of my favorite personal stories from the 17 years I have known Hopkins:Cup of teaIn September, I traveled to London to cover the Gennady Golovkin-Kell Brook middleweight world title fight. Hopkins was also there in his role as an HBO analyst. On the morning of the fight, Hopkins and I had breakfast at our hotel and, as it turned out, I had a role in making the fight with Smith.While Hopkins sipped on a cup of tea as we overlooked the River Thames, we discussed his desire for a farewell fight before the end of this year since he turns 52 in January. He wanted my opinion on whom he should fight. We discussed this for probably 90 minutes. He gave me the parameters: no walkover opponent, somebody with a good record who was credible and would not make Hopkins chase him around the ring. And he wanted a realistic opponent and a fight that could get made.I put my thinking cap on and came up with two guys: Seanie Monaghan and Smith.Hopkins asked for my view of both fighters, which I gave him, and then he punched their names into his phone to do a little research. He said he would also take the names to Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya and president Eric Gomez to see what they thought. I said to Hopkins, Wouldnt it be funny if you wound up fighting one of those guys and we could joke about it for years to come that the fight was hatched over a cup of tea in London at a restaurant overlooking the River Thames.Hopkins laughed and agreed. A month later the fight was made.The dark yearsAfter Hopkins beat Antwun Echols for the second time (which was the first Hopkins fight I covered in person in December 2000), I vividly recall attending the postfight news conference and listening to him implore the media not to let promoter Don King get away with allowing Felix Trinidad to move up to middleweight and cherry-pick a title and call himself middleweight champion without having gone though Hopkins to get it.Many of us picked up Hopkins cause. I wrote my share advocating ?Hopkins be part of any plan to unify the titles. Eventually, King signed Hopkins through a deal with Hopkins then-adviser Lou DiBella, and Hopkins knocked out Trinidad in the final of the four-man middleweight tournament in 2001 to become undisputed champ. It was Hopkins finest hour, and he reveled in the positive coverage and attention.But then Hopkins ego exploded and he lost his mind a little bit. He unjustly threw DiBella overboard and fired his longtime trainer, the late Bouie Fisher. He had forgotten where he came from and who helped get him to the top of the mountain. I thought he treated them very unfairly. As much as I had advocated Hopkins getting his chance against Trinidad, and praised him for winning the tournament, I also took some hard shots at him in the newspaper when he dumped DiBella and Fisher.Hopkins read it. Hopkins didnt like it. That was in early 2002. Hopkins and I didnt speak again until late 2004.He would go on conference calls before his fights and rip me, knowing I was listening. He would purposely look past me in the scrum with reporters at his events. I still covered his fights, just had no one-on-one interviews, which was fine with me because I was just as ticked off at him as he was at me.But as his megafight with Oscar De La Hoya approached, I was writing a cover story for USA Today. I needed to interview him for this piece. There was no getting around it. His longtime publicist, Kelly Swanson, is also a friend of mine, and she was annoyed at both of us for not speaking to each other, so she arranged a three-way peace call. She mediated. We cleared the air, we did the interview and we have not had a bad moment since.Retirement? Not quiteBefore Hopkins upset Antonio Tarver to win the lineal light heavyweight title in 2006, he said he would retire after the fight. Few believed him, but he indeed walked away. The week of a big Golden Boy fight in Las Vegas maybe a month or two later, the company threw him a retirement party that I attended. There were maybe 50 or 60 people there at the MGM Grand. People gave speeches. It was a good time.Maybe a month later, on a slow week, I was looking for something to write about. I thought, why not give B-Hop a call and see how retirement is going? Maybe Ill get a decent column out of it. I gave him a call, and he began to tell me the things he had been doing: driving his daughter around, mowing the lawn, cleaning out the garage. He spent 10 minutes telling me about how he had gone through all his career memorabilia and the scrapbooks that his wife had kept of clippings from his career.The man was bored to death. I could tell. We talked for maybe a half-hour, and when I hung up, I told myself there was no way that man had retired. He was definitely coming back. Id have bet my life on it. A few months later, he announced he was returning.Shoulder-gateHopkins defended his light heavyweight title against Chad Dawson in the first of their two utterly forgettable fights in October 2011. I traveled to Los Angeles to cover it, and it stunk out loud. Thankfully, it lasted only two rounds. That is because Hopkins suffered a dislocated shoulder when Dawson lifted him up and shoved him down to the canvas. It was originally ruled a knockout win for Dawson but later overturned to a no decision, as it should have been.There were many who believed, however, that Hopkins, knowing he was in for a tough night and having all kinds of problems with Dawson through the first round and a half, faked the shoulder injury hoping to get a no contest and get out of Dodge with the title. I have to admit the thought crossed my mind. But a few hours after the fight, I realized that was not the case when I went to Hopkins suite -- we were staying at the same L.A. hotel -- and found Hopkins and members of his team sitting around a table talking about the fight.Hopkins was back from a visit to the hospital and in a bad mood. His shoulder was packed in ice, and when I looked at it up close it did not look right. Part of the bone was sticking up. It was nasty. Im no doctor, but I didnt need to be to know something was wrong. Then Hopkins handed me his medical paperwork from his hospital visit that outlined the diagnosis. I even snapped a photo of it for proof. He was not faking.CheesecakeIn May 2011, I traveled to Montreal to cover Hopkins rematch (of a previous draw) with then-light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal. Hopkins, who was 46 at the time, won the fight by decision. Thats the bout in which he famously did pushups between rounds to show what great condition he was in against an opponent much younger.The victory was historic, as Hopkins broke George Foremans record as the oldest fighter to win a world title. It was the first of several age-related records Hopkins would set.There was no elaborate party to celebrate winning the title and his historic accomplishment, but Hopkins was hungry. After the fight, in the wee hours -- it had to be about 2 a.m. -- Hopkins invited me to join him and his team for a postfight bite to eat. I rode with him and others in the car around Montreal until we found a place that was open. It was virtually empty other than our group of around a dozen people, including several from Hopkins promoter Golden Boy.I remember the restaurant had several big TVs on, and we saw fight highlights seemingly on a loop. Hopkins was definitely enjoying himself. But while everyone ordered bar food, Hopkins, who is fanatical about his conditioning, ordered pasta with garlic and broccoli. We all busted his chops: Come on Bernard, you just freaking won the light heavyweight world title at age 46! Broke a major record! Training camp is over. Youre allowed to have pizza or chicken wings or fries! Nope. The kitchen made him his special meal, which was not on the menu.But when we were done, Hopkins could not resist. His one cheat food is cheesecake. He adores it. He could devour an entire one with ease. The restaurant had it on the menu and he went for it. To truly celebrate his historic victory, he had one giant piece of caramel cheesecake. He was sitting across the table from me, and when he hoisted a chunk of it with his fork I caught the moment with my cellphone camera. The caramel was literally dripping from the fork and Hopkins had a smile as wide as could be. He crushed that slice of cheesecake like he had crushed so many opponents. I posted the photo on social media and it drew more than 12,000 views.You want to get on B-Hops good side? Offer him a slice of cheesecake. Fake Mets Jerseys . Manuel was offered a position the day he was fired. He accepted earlier this week and the team made the announcement Friday. Mets Jerseys 2020 .Y. -- Jayna Hefford scored the winning goal Friday as Canada survived a scare with a 4-3 win over Sweden at the Four Nations womens hockey tournament. https://www.cheapmetsjerseys.us/ . During the athletes parade, the 23-strong Ukrainian team was represented by a lone flagbearer in an apparent protest at the presence of Russian troops in Ukraines Crimean peninsula. New York Mets Gear .Y. -- Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo had little trouble picking up his first shutout of the season against a Buffalo Sabres team thats having trouble scoring goals. Custom New York Mets Jerseys .Y. -- Marcell Dareus and the Buffalo Bills defence made life miserable for Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco. FRISCO, Texas -- Dez Bryant hesitated to talk about playing a day after the death of his father, and preferred not to try to add anything to Tony Romos heartfelt statement about the quarterback situation in Dallas.The Cowboys star receiver had already drained enough emotion on the field in a wild win at Pittsburgh, less than a week after his passionate reminder that critics didnt think hed still be around six years after he slid in the draft because of concerns over character.To try to get Bryant talking, someone offered a description of his game against the Steelers , when he had six catches for 116 yards and a 50-yard touchdown that ended with him in tears on his knees in the end zone rather than in his customary X pose.It was cool, the 2014 All-Pro said, smiling as the brief answer stopped, drawing laughter from reporters.There is another way to get Bryant going these days. Ask about the chemistry hes been raving about for weeks on a team with the NFLs best record (8-1) heading into Sundays game against AFC North-leading Baltimore (5-4).Bryant wasnt expecting that bond to affect him this personally, though. Not until he had to play so soon after finding out his father died, and while the team was on the road.If I didnt have my teammates or that type of vibe -- if we didnt have this type of vibe in the locker room -- I dont think I couldve played in that game, to be honest, Bryant said. These guys are amazing.The scene in the end zone was rare for the normally demonstrative Bryant, who is tied with teammate Jason Witten with 62 career touchdowns, third in club history and nine shy of Hall of Famer Bob Hayes record. The full embrace with coach Jason Garrett is what stood out on the sideline.I love Dez Bryant, Garrett said. Anyone who has had a chance to be around him loves him the same. He believes strongly in developing relationships with people around him. He loves this football team. He loves his teammates. Its hard not to feel the same way about him.Bryant believes team chemistry helped ease the transition to rookie Dak Prescott, who has won eight straight games and is keeping the quarterback job even though Romo, the 10-year starter, is ready to play following a preseason back injury.dddddddddddd Romo has been the guy on the other end of most of Bryants 434 catches and 6,223 yards in his career.When Bryant offered enthusiastic updates on Romos recovery from the broken bone in his back from a preseason game, some interpreted it as his desire to get Romo back on the field. But Bryant had been clear from early in the season that he thought Prescott could be something special.Pundits seized on Bryants pair of one-catch games with Prescott. Yet he also has three 100-yard games in the six he has played; Bryant missed three games with a knee injury.I feel like I have been misunderstood for so long, said Bryant, who had off-field issues early in his career and several emotional outbursts on the sidelines. Im really not supposed to be in the league right now, according to a lot of people. But Im here. A lot of people try to say Im a `me, me, me guy. Thats never been. Thats not how I was taught.And he believes that has something to do with why he is still in the league, and signed his big contract.I genuinely care about people, he said. Ive been around a lot of hate in my life. Thats something I try my best to eliminate every day. Like I said, Im no longer interested in trying to get people to see who I am.Witten, in his 14th season and the Dallas leader in career receptions, is among those who have tangled with Bryant in sideline episodes through the years. Those incidents never seemed to spill into the locker room during the week, and theyre less frequent.Thats one of the relationships that Ive cherished the most over the last seven years, Witten said. We talk about it all the time, but when you can have an impact like that and see a guy come along on the field, the skill set he brings, how competitive he is and then the growth that goes with it, hes a brother of mine.Bryant felt that bond more than ever last weekend.---For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL---Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/apschuyler ' ' '

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