Associated Press - March 4, 2004
NEW YORK (AP) - Even though world middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins has another bout before he takes on Oscar De La Hoya, he already knows what he
wants to do to the popular fighter.
``Oscar De La Hoya always has been known for how good and handsome he is,'' Hopkins said on Thursday during a promotional stop in New York. ``I'm
openly envious of him. His nose is straight. You can't go out like that. Show me a scar. I will give him a badge of honor.''
Hopkins and De La Hoya are on course to meet on Sept. 18 in one of the biggest bouts in some time. But first, Hopkins faces Robert Allen while De La
Hoya goes against Felix Sturm on June 5 in middleweight fights in Las Vegas.
De La Hoya has a solution if he gets beaten up by Hopkins.
``I figure I can set aside some money and get some plastic surgery,'' De La Hoya said. ``I can fix my face after the fight.''
Hopkins is looking forward to taking on De La Hoya because he believes it will help lift boxing out of the doldrums. After all, De La Hoya is perhaps
the most well-known active boxer in the sport not only for his various titles in different weight divisions, but for the good looks that have earned
him the nickname ``The Golden Boy.''
The fight against WBO champion Sturm (20-0, nine knockouts) will be the first for De La Hoya at 72 kilograms (160 pounds). De La Hoya has held titles
at 58, 60, 63, 66 and 69 kilograms (130, 135, 140, 147 and 154 pounds). If he and Hopkins do fight, it would be at a contract weight of 70 (157).
Hopkins holds the WBC, WBA and IBF middleweight crowns and has defended his titles 17 times.
``Boxing will be out of the emergency room,'' Hopkins said. ``This fight sets high standards. Everybody wants to be a part of something big. This is
the biggest thing in boxing, and we're six months away from September.''
The 39-year-old Hopkins knows he has to first concentrate on Allen in their third matchup.
Hopkins (43-2-1, 31 knockouts) stopped Allen (36-4, 27 knockouts) in 1999. Their first fight, in August 1998 was declared a no-contest after Hopkins
fell and hurt his ankle when the referee accidentally pushed him out of the ring while breaking the fighters apart.
Allen has had a long wait for the rematch.
``My respect is lacking for him,'' Allen said. ``Five years I've been waiting for this. This fight has become my personal life. I would have fought
this boy for nothing.''
Hopkins has a main goal: 20 title defenses.
``I'm glad I got a De La Hoya for one of the defenses,'' he said. ``I don't want 20 bums of the month. I hope No. 20 will be someone that considers
himself a superstar.''
First he must get past Allen, then De La Hoya before he gets to No. 20. But chances are the De La Hoya matchup could be one of the toughest defenses
of his career.
That is fine with Hopkins.
``It means the world has a chance to embrace boxing,'' Hopkins said. ``It brings excitement. Entertainers, actors and actresses are going to be there.
They're going to fly from New York to Vegas.
``Look at the buzz, from L.A. to Las Vegas, to Hartford, Connecticut. This thing is no hype drill.''