Bernard Hopkins is content with his ugly revenge over Roy Jones Jr. on Saturday night -- "a win is a win is a win," he says -- but the aftermath of the fight has him questioning the loyalty of his own promoter, Golden Boy, and contemplating a walk to another promoter if that's what it takes for him to keep fighting at age 45.
Hopkins believes pretty much the entire boxing industry is seizing upon the lackluster Jones rematch as a lever to drive him and his nonconformist attitude out of the sport, "to wrap me up in Roy Jones' grave and throw me in, and kill two birds with one stone," he told ESPN.com on Thursday from his house in Delaware. "I'm not going to let them do that to me."
Many in the media have urged both Jones, 41, and Hopkins to hang up the gloves before someone really gets hurt.
Those doubters aren't new to The Executioner, but he seems especially hurt by comments that Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer made to the media. Schaeffer nudged Hopkins toward retirement, saying it "could be something which, as a friend, I might advise him to consider. I think it's time for his friends and family to have a serious talk with him."
Denying Hopkins a chance to earn a living in the ring doesn't sit well with the fighter.
"Maybe the money's not being made off me like it's being made off somebody else," Hopkins said. "If that's the problem, then fine. I've got a lot of other promoters calling me as of today ... It's gonna look strange to y'all when I'm moving in with [Bob] Arum or [Don] King. I don't blame anybody for being a businessman. Just tell me, so I can do what's right for my family, so you can't blame me for going across the street. That's all I'm saying.
"It needs to come out now, because at the end of the day, Bernard Hopkins [has] always been his own man, and if the industry thought that I was gonna be a controlled puppet because I'm in with a big company, they're in for a rude awakening. Because Bernard Hopkins is not going to become part of the industry. Maybe I won't survive as a Golden Boy promoter. "
One thing Hopkins is sure of is he's not saying goodbye to the ring just yet.
"The thing is coming to a head based on my next move. Because my next move isn't retirement. I have no reason to retire," he said.
Hopkins has spent nearly a year telling people he'd like to challenge for David Haye's heavyweight title. Now he suggests even his own company (Hopkins has a small equity stake in Golden Boy), which also promotes Haye, is walking away from the idea.
"Don't tell me that he's bigger, he's stronger," Hopkins said, seemingly aiming his comments at his own business partners. "They told [Evander] Holyfield that. You're telling me that [he can't fight Haye] because of the Roy Jones fight? So, let's play Devil's Advocate, Richard ... Now you try to use the illegal hit on the back of the head to say that you won't be a part of that [a Haye fight]?"
Even Haye said he'd rather fight Wladimir Klitschko than give Hopkins a shot, and that scenario seems increasingly unlikely.
So what's next? Hopkins says he's "in talks now." Only time will tell.