"People ask me all the time if I'm done or not done. It might not be my decision to make. There are a lot of guys out there who are afraid of Bernard Hopkins, and they should be. I've upset too many plans. Jean Pascal hasn't fought in, like, a year-and-a-half. I ruined him. Kelly Pavlik hasn't been the same since he fought me. Other guys' managers and promoters know that.
"Look, I'm more than halfway through my life on this earth. I'm fast approaching 48 [his birthday is Jan. 15], and I'm loving it. So I got to ask myself, what is the rest of the time that I have going to be like? I won't be boxing forever. That's not going to happen. Who knows? Maybe at this time next year, I'll just go fishing."
What does lie on the other side of that proverbial road, representing the transformation of the Bernard Hopkins who was to the Bernard Hopkins who will be, is a journey of self-discovery that already is in progress. And, no, the blueprint doesn't call for him to do very much fishing, unless it's to reel in book publishers, movie producers and audiences eager to hear of his metamorphosis from street thug and ex-convict to world champion and would-be mogul.
Although he admits to now eating an occasional small dish of ice cream after dinner, the legendarily fit Hopkins still cuts a trim figure in a tailored business suit. He has been spending a bit less time in the gym and more time in the media capital of the world, New York, negotiating deals for a book on his life, and possibly a movie, as well as engagements as a motivational speaker and financial adviser.
"I've been in serious talks for the last 4 months with Simon & Schuster on a few things - a book, a fitness video, possibly a movie," Hopkins said. "I've probably been in New York more the last few months than I've been there in my whole boxing career.
"It's not just about boxing. Anybody can Google my name and find out about the records I've set, the championships I've won. That ain't no secret. But the people at Simon & Schuster came to realize that there's more to me than that. It will be a story about my life, all of it, from where I came from to what I wound up doing and being."
A cornerstone of that story is the discipline Hopkins knew he would have to impose upon himself if he was to keep his promise not to return to prison (he hasn't), to hold onto his hard-earned money (he has) and to deny himself many of the worldly pleasures that would shorten his boxing career and deplete his bank account.
"I've lived what I preached, and now it's all coming to fruition," Hopkins said. "There are things [that will be in the book and video] that some people can't do, but a lot will be able to do if they have discipline. Too many people allow themselves to get lazy or too comfortable. But you don't have to be an athlete to be all that you can be. The people that want to be that can relate to Bernard Hopkins' philosophy."
In addition to being an executive with Golden Boy Promotions - he is especially high on WBC/WBA light welterweight champion and Philadelphia native Danny Garcia, a Golden Boy fighter who defends his titles in a rematch with Erik Morales on Oct. 20 at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. - the always-loquacious Hopkins is carving new niches as a speaker.
"I stood in front of a lot of non-boxing crowds in the last 3 months," Hopkins said. "They tell me I'm a motivational speaker and I'm, like, 'I am?' I just thought I was talking about life and what got me through the tough times.
"And I wound up being interviewed on Bloomberg Financial News in New York! They invited me to talk about financial management, and I spoke about how tax-free municipal bonds can guarantee you a 3 or 4 percent return on your investment. You got intelligent guys, Harvard-educated guys, that will tell you it's worth it to take big risks to get a possible 8 or 9 percent return. So what did the country get? Five years of recession.
"I've learned to live within my means. I don't claim to be an expert. I'm a guy that has new money. I wasn't born rich like the Kennedys and the Rockefellers. That's old money. Paris Hilton never worked a day in her life, but she's living off old money.
"The trick is to figure out how to make new money into old money. I can live on my 3 or 4 percent interest without touching the principal, which means that there will be something then when my daughters and even my daughters' kids, whenever they have them, grow up."