Tavoris Cloud had the proverbial game face on, but he allowed himself a few pockets of levity during a workout for press Tuesday at Gleason's in Brooklyn, N.Y., ahead of his Saturday title defense against Bernard Hopkins at Barclays Center.
Asked about the NYC cold, the Floridian said, "It feels good. It's fighting weather."
Cloud talked a little trash about the 48-year-old Hopkins, declaring that he's no fan favorite, and that Hopkins shows disrespect for the fans, who like to see a spirited dustup, instead of multiple clinches and smothering.
And will he stop Hopkins? "I don't predict knockouts, I predict ass-whippings," he said, with a small chuckle. He labeled Hopkins' bouts "snoozefests" and said he disregards his fans with his manner of fighting. "I am an all-action fighter," he said. "For the game, for the people, it's always action-packed. I'm selling violence and pure determination."
Cloud said stopping the legend, in a bout promoted by Golden Boy to be shown on HBO, would be just another feather in his cap, but then reconsidered, and admitted it would be special. Does he think Hopkins should retire? "No, he can do whatever he wants. I know I am tired of looking at him."
Camp at elevation in Big Bear, Calif., took some getting used to, but after 10 days or two weeks, he got the hang of it, he said.
Cloud said he's going to win for all the have-nots, the poor kids, the people battling cancer. "It's bigger than me," he said. "I came from absolutely nothing. My mom, Emma Smith, was a single parent, there were five of us. She hung in there. And her son became a world champ." His mom fainted after his most recent fight, a controversial win over Gabriel Campillo almost a year ago. "She was overcome with emotion. She was happy to see her son win."
He said if that occurs again, someone had better catch her.
Cloud is supposedly reborn, with a new trainer and newfound focus. Will the younger man prevail? Or can Hopkins look unlike a normal 48-year-old, and win another crown?
Follow Woods on Twitter.