One of the greatest boxers of his generation, Bernard Hopkins has become infamous in MMA circles for being one of the sports most outspoken critics.
In a 2009 interview Hopkins went on a rant about mixed martial arts, likening it to a pornography movie.
“Everybody is different. I don’t want to watch two grown men wrestling with panties on. I’m from the hood, we don’t play that. To me, I’m not buying a ticket to watch two grown men with panties on, sweating, [with] nuts in their face. That’s not me. To compare that to boxing is ludicrous. It’s a porno. It’s an entertainment porno.”
Needless to say that didn’t win him to many fans within the sport, but the good news is that two years later Hopkins has finally seen the light and in a new interview with MMAFighting.com has held his hands up and admitted he got it wrong.
“…After having had a chance to see these guys train personally, I gotta say, I was wrong. These guys are legit and they are very, very serious. And I’m a man to say what I said before, and I’m a man to say what I’m saying now.
“This is the real deal, so anybody that was like me that thinks that the UFC and MMA is just some great acting…trust me, these guys are really putting themselves out there in their own way and in their own sport.”
Hopkins now believes that the two sports can coincide peacefully together.
“Boxing is a whole new different breed than what they do, and they are good at what they do and how they train and how they execute, and we are good at what we do, and I think that both sports should be respected as their own style and their own way.”
Not only is Hopkins now talking up MMA as “the real deal” he’s also showing that actions speak louder than words by revealing that he’ll be cage-side at this weekend’s UFC 133 event in Philadelphia.
“I’ll be there Saturday with you watching the great matches, including the main event that I’m excited about.”
It’s refreshing to see a high profile figure like Hopkins show both a willingness to admit that he was wrong and really throw his weight behind the sport rather than continue to go down the easy route of criticizing it without giving it a chance.
Check out more of Hopkins interview with Helwani below.