Hopkins irritated by Kellerman when questioned about Kovalev fight
By Allan Fox: Last night we saw IBF/WBA light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs) show flashes of what appeared to be irritation when he was interviewed by HBO commentator Max Kellerman about his chances of beating WBO 175 pound champion Sergey Kovalev (25-1, 23 KOs) about their fight in November.
Kellerman merely said to Hopkins that it would be a major accomplishment if he were to beat the hard hitting Kovalev, but the fact that Kellerman used the word ‘if’ seemed to upset Hopkins, as he went into a little speech immediately after, saying that Kellerman should have known better than to say what he said. Hopkins then walked out on the interview.
Kellerman to Hopkins: “It would be the biggest feat of your career if you can do it. What makes you think you can still do it?”
Hopkins: “I’ve already convinced them [the boxing fans] that I’m not the norm. If I pull this off, as if this is the defining fight for everything I’ve been doing, that is reckless talking, Max. You should be more educated than that. Max, you lost this interview.”
Hopkins then walked out of the interview seemingly because Kellerman wasn’t saying the words that he wanted to hear from him with his questioning. It seems as if Hopkins wanted Kellerman to word his questions in a more positive way towards him by saying something along the lines of ‘when you beat Kovalev’ rather than ‘if you beat Kovalev’ and that’s obviously something a neutral interviewer like Kellerman can’t be doing during an interview. He can’t come across like he’s a fan of Hopkins in order to boost his ego.
Hopkins’ irritation at not having Kellerman propping him up during the interview would seem to suggest that there’s some self-doubt there for the 49-year-old Hopkins about his chances against Kovalev, because a person doesn’t get irritated like that normally unless they have a feeling like they might fail.
Hopkins mentioned to Kellerman that this isn’t the defining fight of his career. In other words, he seems to be saying that even if he lost the fight, the defeat wouldn’t shape his career because he’s already accomplished so much. That obviously goes without saying. Hopkins’ career won’t be ruined if he loses to Kovalev, because he’s already accomplished so much already in terms of his major victories over big names like Felix Trinidad and Kelly Pavlik as well as his long run as a middleweight champion. Hopkins has a built in excuse if he loses to Kovalev due to his advanced age.
If Hopkins gets beaten by Kovalev, he can point out that he was near 50 and that he lost because of his age. You’d hate to see Hopkins pull out the age card when explaining why Kovalev beat him, but that’s a predictable thing that we may see next November if Hopkins loses to him. By bringing up his age, Hopkins will be able to take away from Kovalev’s victory by cheapening it. Of course, Hopkins might not acknowledge that he was beaten unless Kovalev knocks him out. Hopkins didn’t acknowledge that Joe Calzaghe beat him.
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