Shrinking Hopper sees big Cloud win

I almost looked past him, looked for a larger figure and missed him. Don King's PR man, Alan Hopper, still has that XL buoyancy, but bodily, he's a mere "large."

"Seventy pounds, the Atkins Diet," he crowed at Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn on Tuesday, while we watched King's light heavyweight charge, Tavoris Cloud, work out ahead of his Saturday title defense against Bernard Hopkins at Barclays Center. "It works every time! No carbs, no sugar though!" he said.

Hopper told me he's seen a positive change in Cloud, mostly stemming from a switch in trainers, from Al Bonanni to Abel Sanchez. "He's like a different guy mentally," Hopper said. "If you listened to him, boxing had become a lot of work."

Hopper said Cloud reports that his body feels better, as Sanchez isn't burning him out. The trainer doesn't employ a strength and conditioning coach, instead choosing to go old school, and take care of that on his own.

Another plus for Cloud, who is a favorite with the oddsmakers, is that Hopkins can't easily get into his head. "He's not Chad Dawson," Hopper said of the Floridian. "I'd like to see Hopkins take Cloud out of his game."

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