RING and WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson has fired back at IBF titleholder Bernard Hopkins, calling the 49-year-old "Grandpa" in response to recent comments in which Hopkins claims he has been able to get into Stevenson's head.
"I just saw that as kind of funny," said Stevenson, a 36-year-old southpaw, during a telephone interview with RingTV.com on Friday.
"The fact that he would say something like that, that he could get into my head like that, being from Port-au-Prince Haiti, where you have to learn to survive in a tough place, I'm a lot stronger than that, mentally."
Hopkins made his assertions during a Tuesday press conference at The W Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C., touting his April 19, 175-pound unification bout against WBA counterpart Beibut Shumenov.
Speaking to a cluster of reporters, Hopkins described how moments earlier, he had both directed and positioned Shumenov as they posed for photos on the dais. Hopkins also segued into a story about Stevenson.
"We were in Los Angeles, and we were on a podium and Stevenson had come out to one of Golden Boy [Promotions]'s fights. What happened is I said, 'Let's have some fun with the media. Come on up on the stage,' and he came up. I said, 'Let's do a stare down to get everybody ready, for s–ts and giggles.' So he had his sunglasses on and I said, 'Take your sunglasses off,' and he took them off," recalled Hopkins.
"[Stevenson] took them off like I was his parent. Where I come from, that gives you a blueprint on how far I can go. You're waiting for him to say, 'That's too far,' but he didn't. That gave me a starting point that I should never have gotten. If that was me, you're supposed to kill that at the door…You have to stop it right there because, otherwise, it can turn into something that is a habit. You become the bully in the neighborhood…You've got them doing what you want them to do already."
Stevenson posted a response on his Facebook account on Thursday which read, in part, "There is nobody who is scared of you grandpa."
"I took off my sunglasses for the picture but it's not about him playing with my mind or something like that," said Stevenson to RingTV.com.
"I was really surprised that he would put it that way, that he was in my head like that. Where I'm from compared to where Bernard is from, that's a luxury compared to where I'm from, you know? I'm not intimidated by anybody. Nobody is scared of Hopkins."
Stevenson (23-1, 20 knockouts) said he is ready to face Chicago-based contender Andrzej Fonfara (25-2, 15 KOs) on May 24. Stevenson scored four stoppage victories over the course of 2013 and is coming off November's sixth-round knockout of Tony Bellew.
The 26-year-old Fonfara, meanwhile, has won 15 straight, 12 of those victories coming by way of stoppage.