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im, Gorman said.The self-confessed • Absender: riluowanying123, 13.11.2018 13:36

As the great Bernard Hopkins gets ready to end his legendary career with a farewell fight against Joe Smith Jr. on Saturday night at The Forum in Inglewood, California, it got me thinking about how long I have known him.When Hopkins, a month shy of his 52nd birthday, fights Smith in a 12-round light heavyweight bout, it will mark the 23rd Hopkins fight I will have covered from ringside. In all, I will have written about the final 27 of his 67 fights -- from Syd Vanderpool to Smith -- since I first began covering boxing for USA Today in 2000. I have written tens of thousands of words about his life and career.Through the years, I have gotten to know Hopkins as well as I know any fighter. I have dined with him and his family. He has met my wife and son, and even my parents and sister. Oftentimes when we talked in recent years, boxing has been only a small part of the conversation. We discuss our families, politics (that can be as rough as any of his fights), race relations, his time in prison and many other topics.I havent always agreed with the way Hopkins has gone about things (more on that later) but I have deep respect for what he has overcome and what he has accomplished. As far as I am concerned, he is one of the greatest fighters in history and, other than maybe Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and Roy Jones Jr., the best fighter I have ever covered.While I have many, many memories of covering his fights, we all know about them. It is the personal moments that forged our relationship and have given me insight into Bernard Hopkins the person.Instead of looking back at his biggest and best fights, here are a few of my favorite personal stories from the 17 years I have known Hopkins:Cup of teaIn September, I traveled to London to cover the Gennady Golovkin-Kell Brook middleweight world title fight. Hopkins was also there in his role as an HBO analyst. On the morning of the fight, Hopkins and I had breakfast at our hotel and, as it turned out, I had a role in making the fight with Smith.While Hopkins sipped on a cup of tea as we overlooked the River Thames, we discussed his desire for a farewell fight before the end of this year since he turns 52 in January. He wanted my opinion on whom he should fight. We discussed this for probably 90 minutes. He gave me the parameters: no walkover opponent, somebody with a good record who was credible and would not make Hopkins chase him around the ring. And he wanted a realistic opponent and a fight that could get made.I put my thinking cap on and came up with two guys: Seanie Monaghan and Smith.Hopkins asked for my view of both fighters, which I gave him, and then he punched their names into his phone to do a little research. He said he would also take the names to Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya and president Eric Gomez to see what they thought. I said to Hopkins, Wouldnt it be funny if you wound up fighting one of those guys and we could joke about it for years to come that the fight was hatched over a cup of tea in London at a restaurant overlooking the River Thames.Hopkins laughed and agreed. A month later the fight was made.The dark yearsAfter Hopkins beat Antwun Echols for the second time (which was the first Hopkins fight I covered in person in December 2000), I vividly recall attending the postfight news conference and listening to him implore the media not to let promoter Don King get away with allowing Felix Trinidad to move up to middleweight and cherry-pick a title and call himself middleweight champion without having gone though Hopkins to get it.Many of us picked up Hopkins cause. I wrote my share advocating ?Hopkins be part of any plan to unify the titles. Eventually, King signed Hopkins through a deal with Hopkins then-adviser Lou DiBella, and Hopkins knocked out Trinidad in the final of the four-man middleweight tournament in 2001 to become undisputed champ. It was Hopkins finest hour, and he reveled in the positive coverage and attention.But then Hopkins ego exploded and he lost his mind a little bit. He unjustly threw DiBella overboard and fired his longtime trainer, the late Bouie Fisher. He had forgotten where he came from and who helped get him to the top of the mountain. I thought he treated them very unfairly. As much as I had advocated Hopkins getting his chance against Trinidad, and praised him for winning the tournament, I also took some hard shots at him in the newspaper when he dumped DiBella and Fisher.Hopkins read it. Hopkins didnt like it. That was in early 2002. Hopkins and I didnt speak again until late 2004.He would go on conference calls before his fights and rip me, knowing I was listening. He would purposely look past me in the scrum with reporters at his events. I still covered his fights, just had no one-on-one interviews, which was fine with me because I was just as ticked off at him as he was at me.But as his megafight with Oscar De La Hoya approached, I was writing a cover story for USA Today. I needed to interview him for this piece. There was no getting around it. His longtime publicist, Kelly Swanson, is also a friend of mine, and she was annoyed at both of us for not speaking to each other, so she arranged a three-way peace call. She mediated. We cleared the air, we did the interview and we have not had a bad moment since.Retirement? Not quiteBefore Hopkins upset Antonio Tarver to win the lineal light heavyweight title in 2006, he said he would retire after the fight. Few believed him, but he indeed walked away. The week of a big Golden Boy fight in Las Vegas maybe a month or two later, the company threw him a retirement party that I attended. There were maybe 50 or 60 people there at the MGM Grand. People gave speeches. It was a good time.Maybe a month later, on a slow week, I was looking for something to write about. I thought, why not give B-Hop a call and see how retirement is going? Maybe Ill get a decent column out of it. I gave him a call, and he began to tell me the things he had been doing: driving his daughter around, mowing the lawn, cleaning out the garage. He spent 10 minutes telling me about how he had gone through all his career memorabilia and the scrapbooks that his wife had kept of clippings from his career.The man was bored to death. I could tell. We talked for maybe a half-hour, and when I hung up, I told myself there was no way that man had retired. He was definitely coming back. Id have bet my life on it. A few months later, he announced he was returning.Shoulder-gateHopkins defended his light heavyweight title against Chad Dawson in the first of their two utterly forgettable fights in October 2011. I traveled to Los Angeles to cover it, and it stunk out loud. Thankfully, it lasted only two rounds. That is because Hopkins suffered a dislocated shoulder when Dawson lifted him up and shoved him down to the canvas. It was originally ruled a knockout win for Dawson but later overturned to a no decision, as it should have been.There were many who believed, however, that Hopkins, knowing he was in for a tough night and having all kinds of problems with Dawson through the first round and a half, faked the shoulder injury hoping to get a no contest and get out of Dodge with the title. I have to admit the thought crossed my mind. But a few hours after the fight, I realized that was not the case when I went to Hopkins suite -- we were staying at the same L.A. hotel -- and found Hopkins and members of his team sitting around a table talking about the fight.Hopkins was back from a visit to the hospital and in a bad mood. His shoulder was packed in ice, and when I looked at it up close it did not look right. Part of the bone was sticking up. It was nasty. Im no doctor, but I didnt need to be to know something was wrong. Then Hopkins handed me his medical paperwork from his hospital visit that outlined the diagnosis. I even snapped a photo of it for proof. He was not faking.CheesecakeIn May 2011, I traveled to Montreal to cover Hopkins rematch (of a previous draw) with then-light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal. Hopkins, who was 46 at the time, won the fight by decision. Thats the bout in which he famously did pushups between rounds to show what great condition he was in against an opponent much younger.The victory was historic, as Hopkins broke George Foremans record as the oldest fighter to win a world title. It was the first of several age-related records Hopkins would set.There was no elaborate party to celebrate winning the title and his historic accomplishment, but Hopkins was hungry. After the fight, in the wee hours -- it had to be about 2 a.m. -- Hopkins invited me to join him and his team for a postfight bite to eat. I rode with him and others in the car around Montreal until we found a place that was open. It was virtually empty other than our group of around a dozen people, including several from Hopkins promoter Golden Boy.I remember the restaurant had several big TVs on, and we saw fight highlights seemingly on a loop. Hopkins was definitely enjoying himself. But while everyone ordered bar food, Hopkins, who is fanatical about his conditioning, ordered pasta with garlic and broccoli. We all busted his chops: Come on Bernard, you just freaking won the light heavyweight world title at age 46! Broke a major record! Training camp is over. Youre allowed to have pizza or chicken wings or fries! Nope. The kitchen made him his special meal, which was not on the menu.But when we were done, Hopkins could not resist. His one cheat food is cheesecake. He adores it. He could devour an entire one with ease. The restaurant had it on the menu and he went for it. To truly celebrate his historic victory, he had one giant piece of caramel cheesecake. He was sitting across the table from me, and when he hoisted a chunk of it with his fork I caught the moment with my cellphone camera. The caramel was literally dripping from the fork and Hopkins had a smile as wide as could be. He crushed that slice of cheesecake like he had crushed so many opponents. I posted the photo on social media and it drew more than 12,000 views.You want to get on B-Hops good side? Offer him a slice of cheesecake. Cheap NBA Jerseys 2020 . With the first unit struggling of late and Amir Johnson - one of the teams iron men - hobbling on an injured right ankle, Patterson knew he could get the nod in a challenging matchup against one of the leagues up and coming players at his position. Jerseys Basketball China . 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The opponent, Croatia and all its football might and will. As opposites do attract we are set for a corker of an opener. Cronulla boss Lyall Gorman says the Sharks must regroup from the shock loss of star fullback Ben Barba before pondering any possible reinforcements.Barba may have played his last NRL game after being released - at his request - by the Sharks to seek rehabilitation in Thailand following his second positive test to cocaine in less than two years.The premiers are well served for fullbacks, with 21-year-old rep stars Jack Bird and Valentine Holmes both natural custodians and itching for another crack at the role.Despite the former Dally M Medallists scintillating form this season, the loss of Barba might even prove a blessing for the Sharks, who now have an unexpected $800,000 a year to spend on retaining their grand final roster beyond 2017.In any case, Gorman says Barbas welfare and that of his wife and four young daughters - and not the sides title defence or recruitment program - remain the clubs immediate concern.Our goal is not about football at the moment. Our goal is about helping the young man to come back into the community the way he wants to come back, Gorman said.We havent crossed that bridge at all, in terms of Benny not being with us, another player coming into the role, picking up another player. Theyre all options that remain on the table.But the first thing is to help Benny get back to where he needs to be and wants to be.The Sharks will await coach Shane Flanagans return from a fact-findng tour of England and the US before weighing up their options.ddddddddddddell address that matter over time. It hasnt entered our heads just now. First of all weve got to come to grips with where were at with Ben and where were heading as a club in regards to supporting him, Gorman said.The self-confessed distressed chief executive said the Sharks 2017 premiership defence hadnt been spoken of in recent weeks.There was a period of celebration. The boys are on annual leave, he said.Well regroup. Fourteen of our NRL players came back last Friday, the rest come back on staggered time.Weve got boys overseas with both New Zealand and the Australian teams.Well sit down as a playing group as we have done over the years. Were a resilient club, a strong club and a proud club and these things, while theyre short-term setbacks, wont put us back.Apart from uncertainty surrounding Barbas future, Cronullas other grand final try-scorer Andrew Fifita has also threatened to walk away from the NRL since the Sharks drought-breaking triumph.Gorman, though, insists the tearaway front-rower has assured the club he will be with the Sharks in 2017 and is not considering any other playing options. 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