BERNARD HOPKINS, IBF and WBA light-heavyweight champion
“There are so many things I’ve done that the world of boxing has witnessed. It’s going to be difficult for the boxing people to pick one of my performances as the best.
“I’ve done so many unpredictable things and so profoundly. Even the people who want to go against me, are afraid to go against me. They’ve been wrong so many times. A lot of them are just being mum right now. They must feel I can still do things.
“This is a great position to be in. I don’t really believe there is any fighter, in any decade that can be in my position of luxury that I’ve been in for many years.
“Early on in my career I had the kind of anxious where you couldn’t sleep at night. That anxiousness is like a virus we all have in us. Some you can deal with but some will wipe you out.
“The Pavlik fight was the first time I heard the masses put the word knockout attached to my opponent. I’m real keen on what people say. Ninety percent of it might be garbage, but something in there might be the plan. That woke me up and I knew I wanted to destroy.
“The only thing I can do is be right about what I say. Because I know I’m being watched. I understand what I’m facing. All I can do is put the work behind it.
“I didn’t need to take any fight for the last 10 years. But I’ve always fought the best and I’ve always wanted to prove myself to the best.
“I always not only want push the envelope in my career but I also have an itch for going against the grain.
“Enjoy that you can see me now. I would love to see the great Michael Jordan and Julius Erving in their younger days, but they’re gone. Look at me at 50, I’m going to eat right and live right so I can take less punches and look normal.
“This fight isn’t about boxing, it’s something deeper than that.
“I was made to be where I’m at. I just had to go through some challenges, so that I can educate others later.”
SERGEY KOVALEV, WBO light-heavyweight champion
“Fifty is just a number. I think nothing of his age. If he was old he would be retired, but he’s still in there. He’s not an old man, he’s a young alien.
“I’m really excited for this fight. I will do my job and anything I need to do to win.
“Bernard likes to push everybody, inside the ring or outside. We’re ready to begin. We’re ready to fight. I feel like I’ve been fighting him for two months going to the gym every day.
“I don’t know what will happen November 8 because this is sports, this is boxing. But I will be ready. I will get a chance to be undisputed and I’m ready to do it. That is my goal.
“I need to do what I do and do it very well.
“I can think back and remember everything from early in my career, but I don’t want to do that. It was often very terrible and it was hard to get to this stage and this place.
“I was searching around for any promoter but no one would sign me. I fought for three years for free. In 2013, Kathy Duva signed me and my career has gotten much better. Being on a big fight on TV is what I’ve always wanted.
“Egis Klimas paid for everything when I was starting out, my opponents, my clothes and my food. He invested a lot into me.
“This fight is a great opportunity for me to create my history for me and my family. I will do that. When my son grows up he will be able to look at this and say, ‘that is my father.’ He can see that I did it for him.
“I can’t make any predictions. We will see everything on November 8. It’s boxing, it’s a fight. For me, any fight like this is a street fight, anything can happen.
“I’m going to go in to fight. I’m going to box, I’m going to show that I can fight with the best light heavyweight right now.
“From my side everything will be clean and fair. I don’t know what he will be doing.
“My life has already changed but this fight means everything.”
NAAZIM RICHARDSON, Hopkins’ Trainer
“Sergey Kovalev is an exceptional puncher. We haven’t seen him hurt guys of extreme quality yet, but we can’t take for granted what we’ve seen against the opposition he’s faced. He’s annihilated these dudes, that’s how he wins fights.
“Kovalev is a monster. He’s a beast. He punches harder than Hercules. But I don’t want people to defang him on Sunday. If Kovalev is all of these things that people say he is and Bernard beats him, you better start that car and drive him straight to Canastota and induct him into the Hall of Fame right now.
“We’re too late in the game to overhaul from training camp to training camp. We train Bernard Hopkins. The rest of the world adjusts to Bernard Hopkins. Each camp we strive to get the best Bernard Hopkins we can.
“We don’t even call it training camp. It’s a lifestyle for Bernard. They’re just dates we all get together.
“It’s genetics. It’s lifestyle. There are many variables that mesh together to make Bernard who he is. We just have to appreciate him while he’s here.
“With a win over Kovalev it separates so that now he should go to the Hall of Fame as ‘The Executioner’ and ‘The Alien.’ A win over Kovalev only adds to ‘The Executioner’ but it would also solidify a Hall of Fame career for the ‘The Alien.'”
JOHN DAVID JACKSON, Kovalev’s Trainer
“Sergey’s talent is still untapped. He could be a really special fighter. He needs to get past this fight here first and then the sky is the limit for him.
“His punching power is so unreal it makes him hard to deal with.
“I warned Bernard’s camp a few years ago, don’t fight this Kovalev kid. I don’t know what they told Bernard. But I told them please don’t fight this kid.
“This is business at the end of the day. Bernard can talk about me all night long but I don’t have to get in the ring with him.
“Sergey doesn’t understand English that well so it doesn’t matter what Bernard says. There’s mutual respect, but fight week is here so we’ll see what happens.
“Sergey is ready. Bernard is all he talks about. Beating Bernard is the next phase of the plan. If you beat a fighter of that magnitude it takes you to the next level.”
SADAM ALI, undefeated welterweight contender (who takes on Luis Carlos Abregu on undercard)
“Luis Carlos Abregu is not someone you should overlook or underestimate. He has power in both hands. He gives you a lot to worry about in the ring because of his tremendous power.
“There is no limit for me. I just want to keep going and going. This is the biggest fight of my career and I just have to be on my A-game.
“I worked on defense a little more than usual in training camp, I think anyone who fights Abregu should. I’ve been training hard and I’m mentally and physically prepared. No weight lifting, but a lot of calisthenics.
“It’s been a long journey to get here. It hasn’t been going as fast as I expected it to but there’s a plan for all of us. This is the biggest fight of my career, I hope there are bigger fights coming but so far it’s the biggest.
“I have a tough opponent and I think a lot of people are underestimating me. I’m the underdog now, which I’m not used to being. I’m putting in the time and the work in the gym and I’m ready.
“Everybody is entitled to their opinion and I honestly like being looked at as the underdog. I want to be underestimated, that way you’re going to be surprised by what I bring to you.
“I’ve put in the time at the gym so I’m not worried about getting tired at all. I have to be heads up in the ring.
“This fight is definitely a bigger step up than people thought I was going to take but after I win this I will prove a lot of people wrong.
“Everybody needs to take this kind of step if they want to be special and I want to be special. I know I am special. Training camp was great and I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a long time.