The voice on the other end of the phone sounded giddy, like that of a teenager who just found the keys to a new car in his Christmas stocking.
"I'm energized, man," bellowed
What has put the spring in Hopkins' step? A fight, or more specifically a relevant one. Hopkins signed on last week to face WBC light heavyweight champion
The fight for Pascal's 175-pound title is one Hopkins needed badly. In October 2008, the former undisputed middleweight champion and lineal light heavyweight champion appeared to revive his Hall of Fame career with a stunning victory over
The pool of opponents, already shallow, quickly dried up. Negotiations with
The emergence of the 27-year-old Pascal, however, offered an alternative. Pascal had earned the WBC title with two convincing victories against
"Bernard didn't just want to fight anybody," Golden Boy Promotions CEO
Pascal's straight-ahead style made him even more appealing to Hopkins.
"My history shows anybody that came straight to me, they take a severe beating," Hopkins said. "I'm versatile. If he runs, I'm going to track him down. He's an aggressive guy, but he's elusive aggressive.
If Hopkins can defeat Pascal, it sets up a potentially big 2011. Dawson is still out there, and by the middle of '11, Showtime's Super Six tournament will have concluded and several of its participants could be looking to make a move to light heavyweight.
"There is potentially $20-plus million on the table," Hopkins said. "There are more bodies, more names. I'm back in business again. The money that is out there, with me being one of the oldest fighters in the world, there are major fights on the table."
First, Pascal. Just like he was against Pavlik, Hopkins will be an underdog in this fight and have to prove he is capable of hanging in with a younger fighter. What's more, Hopkins will face a hostile crowd in Quebec, which has become the Haitian-born Pascal's adopted home. It's a role Hopkins says he relishes.
"It's young versus old," said Hopkins, who estimates he is at about 80 percent right now. "I'm more comfortable and more dangerous when I'm an underdog. I need hostility. I need problems. I'm a survivor. They may start hollering 'Pascal,' but eventually they will be hollering 'Hopkins.' They are going to respect what they see. They are going to forget who they should root for. They are going to respect this old guy."
• Undefeated junior middleweight
"We're not looking to match him against King Kong," Schaefer said. "He needs to get used to being in the ring again."
Assuming Kirkland wins in November, Schaefer said he plans to bring Kirkland back to fight on the
• Electrifying welterweight
• Former super middleweight king
"Who knows if that will change," Schaefer said. "If it does, we told him that we would be here to work with him."