And in just seven short months ...
"I can say I am now a full fan of the mixed martial arts. I watched a couple shows in Philadelphia. I got a lot of respect for these guys man. There are two guys that train at a gym in Philadelphia, and I'm going on record, yea Bernard bowed down, man. They put there time in. I got mad, mad, mad respect for those boys. I see how they work and I sat there and watched them. And now I got the panties on and they got the boxers."
Former middleweight boxing Champion Bernard Hopkins has officially made the switch. Apparently "B-Hop" is now an MMA fan, but in a very short amount of time. Although it is nice to see, in October of last year, prior to his bout with Enrique Ornelas, "The Executioner" made some slandering and disrespectful comments about MMA and its fans at a press conference promoting the boxing match:
"Everybody's different. I don't wanna watch two grown men, with panties on, wrestling. I mean, I'm from the hood. We don't play that. To me, I'm not buying a ticket to watch to men with panties on, sweating, you know what I mean. Nuts in there face. That's not me. So to compare that to boxing is ludicris. To compare UFC and (MMA) to boxing based on the whole cosmetic of it... To me it's a porno. It's an entertainment porno. I'm not gonna wrestle a guys with my panties on with nuts in my face. And they call that a sport. I'm not going into that, dog. I mean, I'm suspect. Can you see me sitting ringside watching two men with panties on? I can't diss it. I'm not criticizing people for what they like and what kind of entertainment they like, you know what I mean. I think most of them people are probably in the closet. There's something out there for everybody. I could understand if it's 90% women that were shown on those things, but I can't see a grown man sitting there with a couple of guy friends watching two guys with panties on wrestling and sweating."
My, oh my. What a turn around.
Dana White says Yushin Okami is close to a title shot and Bernard Hopkins is now giving MMA some respect...all in the same week! Based on the dramatic difference in opinion shown in these two comments, not even one year apart, it has got me wondering if the new cool thing for boxers to promote a boxing match is to bash the UFC/MMA.
We've seen Floyd Mayweather Jr. do it before his fight with Oscar De La Hoya, and shortly after being challenged by Dana White for him to fight then Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk, Floyd retracted his statements. And again, prior to his comeback fight against Juan Manuel Marquez in 2009, Floyd preceded to again bash MMA while talking to CBS Sports:
"It takes true skills to be in the sport of boxing. Mixed martial arts is for beer drinkers. Boxing is for everybody. You can't take my shoes off, throw my shirt off and throw me in the cage. You do that with animals. You can't do that with humans. I don't know no fighter in MMA that has generated a total revenue, in two fights which only lasted one hour for two fights, generate a total revenue of $250,000,000. They're not even on my level. You must be running 8 and 9 miles for boxing. You must be able to box, not 5 rounds, 12. It used to be 15, so it was three fights. Now they got rounds, now they got judges, now they got cut man. So once again, MMA stole boxing old blueprint and tried to run with it. Once again, in boxing we know who's dominating; black fighters and Hispanic fighters. This is not a racial statement, but there's no white fighters in boxing that's dominating so they had to go to something else and start something new."
The Mayweather/Marquez pay-per-view fight coincided with UFC 103 where Rich Frankin took on the returning Vitor Belfort.
I guess anytime we approach a UFC vs. boxing pay-per-view weekend we can expect this kind of talk. That is until one of them is finally proven wrong. That person could be James Toney come August 28th. It would do wonders for shutting up these people that have no idea what they're talking about if James Toney gets put on his ass and pounded into MMA retirement.