Like a villain from an 80's slasher film, you can never discount Bernard Hopkins. Hopkins was supposed to have officially retired from the ring after dethroning Antonio Tarver last June for the unofficial light heavyweight championship. Less than a year after that shocking win however Hopkins has now decided to leave his semi-retirement to take on former junior middleweight champion Ronald "Winky" Wright in a catch weight fight of 170 pounds. The 12-round bout, which will take place on July 21st at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada was announced two weeks ago with the first stop of the press tour taking place Tuesday in New York City.
"You're only as good as your last fight," the 42 year-old Hopkins explained when he came to the podium at the ESPN Zone in Times Square. "I'm a late bloomer. You're just starting to see a new Bernard Hopkins in a new body."
"A lot of people ask me why I chose (to fight) Bernard," Wright, 35, said. "I say I didn't chose Bernard, he chose me. The only thing left was Bernard. I run away from no challenge."
"The one thing you won't see is a boring fight." Chris Lighty, the CEO of Winky Promotions said in response to buzz that the fight would be too defensive oriented. "We had no problem giving a brutal beating to our friend (Jermain) Taylor and we're going to do the same thing to Hopkins."
"Bernard has all these crafty things he does but come July 21st I'm going to be on his ass from the first round," Wright, 51-3-1, 35 KO's, said. "I come to fight."
"I am numb to what Winky and his business partner says," Hopkins responded. "I'm a chameleon. I can do everything (in the ring). I'm undefeated with southpaws; ten and 0 with nine knockouts. And I love to beat up Florida boys because they're spoiled with the sun." The "Executioner", 47-4-1, 32 KO's even nicknamed his opponent "Winky the Twinky," squeezing the cake in his hand to show the damage he would do to his naturally smaller opponent. "I guarantee that you won't see Winky again after July 21st."
"It's a very interesting and intriguing fight," former Hopkins knockout victim turned Hopkins trainer John David Jackson said in his assessment of the fight. "A lot of people sleep on this young man (Wright) but he can fight. It's going to be a very, very good fight." Jackson will be co-training Hopkins with Freddie Roach, who was not in attendance for the press conference. Nazim Richardson, Hopkin's former trainer, is still in recovery after suffering a minor stroke.
With or without Richardson is his corner however Hopkins remains the same confident fighter he always was regardless of the abbreviated retirement from the ring. "There's no puzzle in boxing that I can't figure out," he said. "My goal is to top last year with Tarver. He's going to say his thing, I'm going to do my thing and at the end of the day we'll see who's telling the truth."