Super lightweight Lovemore “The Black Panther” N’dou (45-8-1, 30 KOs) could be fighting highly rated Demetrius Hopkins in his next bout. FightNews talks with N’dou about this possible bout, and also how he rates his most recent opponent, Naoufel Ben Rabah, and his hopes of meeting “overrated” Ricky Hatton in a mega fight.
Could you advise if Demetrius Hopkins is your next proposed opponent in June? Who is arranging this fight?
Demetrius Hopkins, among other names, has been mentioned as a possible opponent but nothing is solid as yet. Al Haymon, my advisor, is taking care of business and making sure I get the right fights and the right paydays. So, if the Demetrius fight is worth the money, I'm definitely whupping him next.
What would be your fight plan be if this does happen?
Just beat him up pretty bad. You know, I'm never the one to give away my fight plan before fights, but should he end up being my opponent, I can assure you that he is in for a hell of a beating. There will be no controversial decision like the one he got against Steve Forbes because he is getting his ass knocked out this time. And on the Forbes issue, Forbes should have won that fight. I watched the fight twice on video and each time I had him winning.
Hopkins is highly regarded and the nephew of all time great Bernard. Does this faze you?
Hell no! It wouldn't faze me if he were Godzilla’s nephew. Just because his uncle is a legend don't make him one. In fact, I got no respect for fighters who live off their family names. Demetrius ain't nothing but a phony living off Bernard's name. Fact is they have done a good job feeding him nobodies and handing him unfair decisions on top of that.
Boxing fans need to remember that if he does end up stepping into the ring with me, when the bell goes, it will be just him and I. And the referee, of course. There will be no Bernard helping him cope with the punishment I will be handing him. I got the utmost respect for B-Hop because he is one of the best there is. In fact, I look at him as one of my inspirations to continue fighting at my age. I look at what he does at his age of 40-something and that motivates me to wanna do even better at 35. In fact, Bernard is probably 50 years old and he got everybody fooled because he is just a legend and good at what he does. Now, why wouldn't I respect a guy like that? Truth is I worship him. He lives a good and clean life like I do. Doesn't drink or smoke, like I do and he doesn't mess with drugs, like I do. Why would anybody not respect that?
In fact, I remember talking to Bernard in Miami when Urango fought Rabah for the same title I'm holding today. Bernard was there as Rabah's representative but at the same time trying to make a deal for his nephew to fight the winner. Right there, I made it clear to Bernard how much I respected and worshiped him as a fighter. But I further made it clear to him that someday his nephew and I might share the ring in the very near future, either for an eliminator or for the world title itself, and I would give him a whupping. Bernard didn't disagree nor agree with me but said it will be a hell of a good fight if it ever happened. (You can tell he learned his smart promotional skills from the Golden Boy) And I think that sums it all up. It will be a great fight but I'm knocking Demetrius Hopkins out.
Ben Rabah gave you one of the toughest bouts of your career - would you agree?
I wouldn't say the toughest but it was good while it lasted. I said before the fight that he was never in my class but just another phony that looked good against nobodies and had everybody fooled, thinking he is the real thing. I beat him up so bad they had to carry him to hospital in an ambulance. For me, it was like a sparring session. The next day, I was doing a 10-km run and the day after I was sparring 10 rounds against Australian Welterweight Champ, Gary Comer and a good friend of mine, IBF World champ, Vic Darchinyan, while he (Rabah) was still nursing his wounds and contemplating retirement. Truth is, had the fight gone another round; I would have done a lot of damage which is the last thing I wanna see in boxing.
His camp has been mouthing off again asking for a rematch, which I don't think he deserves. Truth is, if I fight him again, I will KILL him this time. What good does it do for boxing or for me? If I beat him up, people will be saying, ‘oh well, we expected that.’ He needs a rematch. He needs to work his way up the rankings to the mandatory position then I will happily whip him again, as the fight would be more meaningful. His manager says Rabah will beat me the second time around, as he will have his heart in it this time. Where was his heart the first time? In his ass? They were mouthing off before I beat him up and they are still mouthing off after I sent him to hospital. My message to them is learn to shut the f*** up and give credit where credit is due because you are starting to make yourselves look like fools in the eyes of the public. Accept defeat and move on. I got better things to do than argue with fools. At this stage of my career, I'm looking for good money fights against good name fighters. Rabah ain’t one of them.
In your opinion, how would Ben Rabah perform against Miguel Cotto, Sharmba Mitchell or Junior Witter?
Sharmba Mitchell is a has-been in my eyes. He and Rabah will make a little scrappy and boring fight. Cotto and Witter will both eat Rabah for breakfast.
Have you any thoughts of moving to welterweight and challenging IBF Champion Kermit Cintron?
I would fight him tomorrow if the opportunity presented itself. I still make 140 pounds comfortably, but I have always said I will go up to welterweight at any time for any meaningful fights. That's why I was also prepared to move up and fight Arturo Gatti. Kermit Cintron is one of the fights I would love to have.
You are now 35 years of age. Are your best fights ahead of you? How many years have you got left?
Look, all I know is that the Lovemore of today would beat the Lovemore of 5-10 years ago. I'm getting better with age. That's why I keep telling everybody that my old age is my honor and strength. With age comes dedication, maturity, skills and more reasons to wanna win. I have a family now and that in itself gives me more reasons to wanna win and be more successful. As for how many years I have left in boxing I will tell you like I always tell everybody. For as long as I get up in the morning and enjoy doing my roadwork and having a workout in the gym, I will continue fighting. The day I will stop enjoying those two things that's when I will call it quits. But right now I'm just loving it. Age will never be a determining factor, as in my eyes it is just a number. You only as old as you feel. Right now I'm feeling very young. And I look it too.
You had talks with Art Pelullo regarding a possible Ricky Hatton fight. Do you feel confident this fight could happen?
To be quite specific, I had talks with Artie regarding a promotional agreement and Ricky's name was also mentioned as a possible opponent in the future. Whether the fight could happen depends solely on Hatton's camp. I have made it clear in the past that I would fight ‘Fatton’ any time on any given day.
Can you defeat Hatton? What would be your fight plan?
Why do you think he chose to hand me over the title than let me fight him for it? He knows he would get his ass whipped, simple as that. Instead he chose to fight Castillo who, just like him, is on the slide. We all know that those wars Castillo had with Corrales are finally catching up and it showed in his last fight against Herman Ngoudjo.
Fatton's people know that I'm capable of doing more damage to that beer-belly than Castillo would at this time of his career. And truth is, if the Castillo that fought Corrales shows up that night, he is capable of punching Fatton through the ropes.
To me, Fatton is the king of one-dimensional fighters. He lacks those special effects that make a great fighter and that's why I would beat him up so bad. He is very fit, I give him that. But hey, I'm just another fitness freak and I won't let him bully me around like he does all his other opponents. He struggled against Urango, a D-level fighter. And against Collazo he nearly got his ass whipped. And Collazo ain’t no super fighter. Look at what Shane Mosley did to him. He made him look like an amateur.
People forget that up until he fought Kostya Tszyu he hasn’t fought anyone credible. He was the most protected species I have ever seen. He beat Kostya, so what? It's all about timing. He beat Kostya when he was ready to be taken. It happens all the time. It's like when Tszyu beat up the great Chavez, it was all about timing. Chavez was ready to be taken. On his best, Tszyu would have blown Hatton away in two rounds. I know this for a fact because I have done a lot of sparring with Kostya when he was at his best.
To answer your question, yes I would beat up Ricky Fatton because I have what it takes. I can match his fitness and I have the speed and can fight off angles, something that he lacks in the BEER ingredients