LAS VEGAS – Leave it to Bernard Hopkins to sell until the final minute.
The light heavyweight champion stuck his hand in Winky Wright's face and shoved him, precipitating a brief melee only seconds after each man weighed in at 170 pounds on Friday at Mandalay Bay.
The men fight on Saturday in the Mandalay Bay Events Center in a bout that has been dogged by the perception that it is going to be a boring, tactical fight.
Hopkins did his best to change that assertion by walking up to Wright and jawing nose-to-nose with him before putting his right palm on Wright's face and shoving. Wright shoved back, which touched off a lot of pushing and shoving before order was restored.
"He's getting scared and he just reacted," Wright said. "(Saturday) night, he's going to pay for it."
Former middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler, who is working as an analyst for ESPN, agreed with Wright. Hagler said he felt the pressure of having to perform is showing on Hopkins.
Hagler, who picked Wright to win, said he didn't think the event was staged.
"It was real, but it (shows) a bunch of nerves that are in Bernard right now," Hagler said.
The fight is available on HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9 p.m. ET. The main event will begin at approximately 11:45 p.m. ET.
The stunt may cost Hopkins $300,000. Tony Alamo, the chairman of the Nevada Athletic Commission, was at the weigh-in and ordered that 10 percent of Hopkins' $3 million purse be held pending a formal disciplinary hearing.
For the time being, Wright is not facing discipline.
Keith Kizer, the executive director of the commission, said commission officials would examine the tape but said it appears Wright only reacted to being pushed. Wright's purse is $2 million.