When Bernard Hopkins speaks on boxing people tend to pay attention. He tells a great story, has always liked to talk, but his credentials and experience in the ring make him as qualified as anyone in the world when it comes to boxing opinions.
He’s known as a man who has defied the ageing process not just in boxing but in professional sports period, as he gets ready for his final fight in the ring next month against Joe Smith Jr remarkably at the age of 52 (just a month shy of his 52nd birthday too).
This week speaking on the Opie Radio show Hopkins went into detail on why he believes amateur boxing in the US has been hit in recent times (despite the US doing relatively well for the first time in a while at the recent 2016 Games).
Bernard Hopkins speaks on amateur boxing in the USA:
“In the sixties or the seventies, definitely in the eighties, you had the ghetto. You had gyms at every corner. You had the Pow Club, you had the AU, you had inner city including me when I started at nine years old, could walk to any corner and go in the gym and box. We used to fight. We used to go to Ohio State fair to fight in little tournaments to qualify to even go to the Olympic trials. So when you take the fast money, the crack cocaine, the drugs in the 80s and 90s the young kid is saying, that’s 15 and 13 years old – why the hell should I go with the hopes of boxing whether I got a gold medal or not and I can make hundreds of thousands of dollars with a kilo of dope? Why would I go train and sacrifice? So we loose a lot of inner city and a lot of kids through that.”
“The you lose about the structure of, the discipline in the home. If the dad’s not there. If the mom’s not there. Nobodies teaching them. They don’t want to put the sacrifice in, the blood, the tears and the sweat.”
Hopkins returns to the ring on December 17th on HBO against New York native Joe Smith Jr.