Bernard Hopkins

Boxer Bernard Hopkins, the IBF light heavyweight champion, speaks with the media during news conference at Grand Central Terminal, Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in New York. Hopkins is scheduled to defend his title against Karo Murat at the Barclays Center on Saturday, July 13, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Nat Castaneda)

Light-heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins picked a strange time to throw a jab at Boardwalk Hall.

Less than a week after announcing his title fight against Karo Murat will be held in the stately arena on Oct. 19, the Philadelphia native then announced that he has aligned with the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., to become that venue's "Goodwill Ambassador" for boxing.

Hopkins, who has fought 17 bouts in Atlantic City compared to one - a victory over then-champ Tavoris Cloud last March 9 - in Brooklyn, is scheduled to appear at various Barclays Center events related to boxing, including news conferences and meet-and-greets with business executives.

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"Brooklyn is fast becoming the place for major boxing on the East Coast," Hopkins said in a statement. "The events at Barclays Center have been outstanding and I'm excited to be part of its flourishing boxing program."

Never mind that some of Hopkins' biggest victories took place at Boardwalk Hall, which has routinely staged two or three major events per year for the last 15 years, mostly under Caesars Entertainment consultant Ken Condon.

Or that the arena has been the site for some of the sport's most historic events such as Mike Tyson-Michael Spinks, Evander Holyfield-George Foreman, Arturo Gatti-Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Gatti-Micky Ward III, Kelly Pavlik-Jermaine Taylor I, since the early 1980s.

On June 10, 2006, Hopkins handily defeated former champion Antonio Tarver via decision in a bout sponsored by Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa before briefly retiring. Upon returning to the ring, Hopkins handed Pavlik his first career loss with a decision on Oct. 18, 2008 in a fight sponsored by Caesars Atlantic City.

Hopkins' fight against Murat was supposed to be held at the Barclays Center in May, but was postponed because Murat had visa problems. The fight was switched to Boardwalk Hall because the Barclays Center is unavailable on Oct. 19.

"I'm happy to have the chance to go back to Atlantic City," Hopkins told last Friday. "I've always done good selling tickets in Atlantic City. I've had some of my biggest moments there."

He could have trouble selling tickets this time around, considering he's now made it clear he'd rather be fighting elsewhere.


Member of The Press sports staff since 1986, starting my 25th season as The Press Eagles' beat writer. Also cover boxing, MMA, golf, high school sports and everything else.

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