World champion boxer Bernard Hopkins, who will fight the undefeated Briton Joe Calzaghe in April, believes black Democratic contender Barak Obama would be assassinated "within months" if he became US president in November.
Hopkins, the world light-heavyweight boxing champion, told The Independent on Sunday: "I don't think America is ready for an African-American in the White House. If he gets the nomination they won't let him become president, but if they do, it will be for a short time, maybe less than a month or two. His life would be in jeopardy.
"People may say it is time for change but when it comes down to it, I don't think America is ready for that type of heat."
Hopkins, 43, arguably the most politically controversial figure in US sport since Muhammad Ali, has been accused of being racially motivated for saying he would "never lose to a white boy". He refused to retract the comment when he came face to face this week with Calzaghe, the undefeated world super-middleweight champion, in London.
In a week that saw British sport angered by the racist abuse in Spain of Lewis Hamilton, Hopkins said: "I make no apology. People who know me know why I said it. I don't know what kind of world you live in here, but over there, across the Atlantic, I know racism exists and you can't convince me otherwise."
However, the Philadelphia-born Hopkins, known in the ring as "The Executioner", insists he is not racist, and says he hopes Hillary Clinton is the next president. "I want Hillary to win. As I said, I do not think Obama would survive for too long if he won and Hillary seems the best person for the job, even though I call myself a Republicrat.
"For me, she has the experience – she has already been a president for eight years. Bill had the title but there was a lot of pillow-talk at night so when she gets into the White House, hopefully, we'll be getting two for one. I don't really care what happens as long as they get Bush out of there. They talk about terrorism, but we've got a terrorist in the White House who picks the troops up by saying 'We're going to war – rumble young man, rumble."
As an 18-year-old ghetto kid, Hopkins served a jail term for "beating up pimps and prostitutes" but reconstructed his life through boxing, setting up a foundation which builds playgrounds in Philadelphia for underprivileged children.
For rolling comment on the US elections visit: independent.co.uk/campaign08