Bernard Hopkins insists he is not ducking Chad Dawson. But the 44-year-old veteran said if he's going to continue fighting at his advanced age, his bank account better receive a substantial boost.
"I'm not in the charity business," said Hopkins, who was in town for Saturday's junior welterweight showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton at the MGM Grand Garden. "If you want to get me, give me the money."
Dawson, the IBF light heavyweight champion who is in Las Vegas preparing for next Saturday's rematch with Antonio Tarver at the Hard Rock Hotel, said he wants Hopkins in the ring.
"He's the best out there, and I want to fight the best," Dawson said.
If that's the case, Hopkins said, show him the money.
"I ain't a fool," Hopkins said. "You've got to get my ear. Someone says you can fight someone for $2 million, $3 million, I don't hear. My ear shuts down.
"Unless someone has two armored cars full of thousand-dollar bills, don't talk to me."
Since his spectacular performance in Atlantic City on Oct. 18 when he outclassed Kelly Pavlik to win a 12-round unanimous decision in their catch-weight fight of 170 pounds, Hopkins has been the subject of rumors. Everyone from Dawson and fellow light heavyweight Tomasz Adamek to another go-round with Felix Trinidad, who Hopkins defeated in 2001 as a middleweight, has been mentioned.
"I never ducked anybody," Hopkins said. "Bernard Hopkins may be a hard negotiator, but I never ducked anybody. But how embarrassing would it be for me to keep beating up 27-year-old guys?
"Nobody knows Dawson. He's never been on pay per view. I fight him, I've got to do all the work. I'm in a lose-lose-lose situation."
• MILLION BUYS? -- Mark Taffet, HBO's senior vice president of sports operation and pay-per-view programming, might talk a lot, but one thing he never does is predict how a fight will do in consumer buys.
However, Taffet believes the slumping economy might have helped drive PPV sales for Saturday's Pacquiao-Hatton fight.
"In tough economic times, the big fights usually thrive," Taffet said. "People want to see the big fights, and they will find a way to watch."
The fight, which was priced at $49.95 and had a $20 rebate through Tecate beer, figured to do well in the United States, even though neither fighter is an American.
"These two guys have an incredible fan following," Taffet said of Pacquiao and Hatton. "They have delivered big numbers in the past."
Pacquiao's fight with Oscar De La Hoya in December did 1.25 million buys, while Hatton's 2007 fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. did 915,000 buys. Taffet said anything more than 500,000 buys is considered very good.
But when asked if he thought Pacquiao-Hatton would do 1 million buys, Taffet paused.
"There have only been a select few fights that have done those kinds of numbers," he said. "However, the potential is there with this fight to reach that level."
The PPV numbers from the fight should be known this week.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913.