Bernard Hopkins fought as a professional boxer for 28 years and until he was a month shy of his 52nd birthday.
The Hall of Fame fighter and former middleweight and light heavyweight champion Hopkins (55-8-2, 32 KOs) has pretty much seen and heard it all throughout his time in the sport, which nowadays also involves being a partner with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions.
The 56-year-old Philadelphia-bred Hopkins is currently in Frisco, Texas promoting the welterweight scrap slated to take place Saturday between Vergil Ortiz Jr. and Egidijus Kavaliauskas on DAZN.
Naturally, conversations Hopkins participated in led to the bigger picture at 147 pounds, and the recent cancellation of the Errol Spence Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao fight.
Spence Jr. said he suffered a torn left retina and was forced to the sidelines just 11 days before the much-anticipated Aug. 21 scheduled bout. Instead, Yordenis Ugas has since stepped in as a late replacement opponent to fight the Filipino senator.
Spence posted a picture of his patched up left eye on social media on Wednesday one day after his injury was disclosed. It was identified and discovered that Spence had the impairment during a pre-fight medical examination by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in Las Vegas on Monday.
Hopkins was skeptical of Spence’s injury.
"The only thing I can do is listen to what you said to me and listen to what I heard. That’s conversation and I don’t know if it’s true, if it’s not true. I like Spence, I respect Spence. I know he is always ready for any challenge. I just think … I just have some suspicions about this whole thing. I just think the way it manifested and came out suddenly and so fast … I’ll just say stay tuned. If you hear something other than what everyone was given and what was told. I think there is more to the story than what it is. But if it is true, I wish him a speedy recovery. But I just have to say that first because I want to be the first one that people say, ‘what did I know that everybody else didn’t first know’ or ‘what did I know that a few people did know but nobody was bold enough or brave enough to say it,’” Hopkins told both Little Giant Boxing and KO Artist Sports.
Spence is expected to make a full recovery and return to the ring, PBC announced.
Hopkins even went as far as suggesting that Spence should provide proof of his ailments.
"Again, if it’s the case then I think we all should see it. It can be an eye issue. It can be business. It could be lack of. The whole thing … it’s been told and most people probably will believe it. Most people won’t dare to question it or ask for more details. I’m the type of person, I’ll show the X-ray to the world. If I’m ready to fight, I’ll say ‘look, it’s a hairline fracture or it’s a straight cut-through broken bone,’” said Hopkins.
“When it's … and let me tell you something; a detached retina or a slightly detached retina is no joke. You gotta take that seriously. Nobody wants to play and say they have something and don’t have it. It's like someone saying they got cancer and they don’t have it. So, I’m just saying, I’m always suspicious about things coming out of nowhere. And I know most people are gullible. They will eat it and they will take it and repeat it. I don’t repeat anything … I’m conscious of repeating anything that I don’t have more to it and I got other questions or I got other reasons to think different.
"I’ll say, if it is the case, I wish Errol Spence a speedy recovery. I think he’s a future Hall of Famer and is getting bad deals (injuries) if that’s the case on that issue. If it’s something else, then someone else will reveal it. If not, then it will go away and hopefully they will reschedule. But it’s nothing to play with.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com