Bernard Hopkins, the very definition of Philadelphia grit, is going Hollywood. Fresh off his ninth-round knockout of Oscar De La Hoya, the middleweight champion last night appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."
"Does this make me a star?" said the usually unassuming Hopkins. "Well, I certainly hope so."
An ex-con and outspoken critic of the game that made him more than $10 million for less than an hour's worth of work Saturday night, Hopkins fielded softballs from Leno with aplomb.
"He asked me about the fight, about beating Oscar, it was nothing," said the man who has now successfully defended his title an unprecedented 19 straight times. "Now, though, that I've made Leno, this is about crossover, about reaching the 60- and 70-year-old ladies back in their living rooms at home. This is good for boxing."
Hopkins shared Jay's couch with Comedy Central's Jon Stewart, anchor of "The Daily Show," the satirical half-hour that has been all the buzz this election season. Did the two talk politics in the green room?
"Naw," said Hopkins, "we talked about Costco. We're both members. I showed him my card. I need to get a new one, though, because my picture is starting to fade it's been swiped so many times. Stewart was great. He was really funny."
The drawback to Hopkins finally making the big time? The same night he got his spot on Leno, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry was on the competition, making a much-anticipated appearance on "The Late Show with David Letterman."
Sometimes a guy can't win for trying.
-- Micah Pollack