I asked Bernard Hopkins a pretty pointed question at Gleason's, during his open workout for media. If and when you do jump the shark, will you turn "old" overnight, in the ring ... or would deterioration be a more gradual thing?
"I don't answer that," said the 48-year-old, who tries to take the IBF 175-pound title from Tavoris Cloud on Saturday night at Barclays Center.
Hopkins' trainer, Naazim Richardson, picked up the topic, saying, "You don't need to get in the ring (to see if a guy has lost it to age). You'd know in the gym."
So, what has Richardson seen in this camp? "I've seen everything I've needed to see," he answered. The implication was clear: Richardson, who says he loves Hopkins and will tell him if he sees dropoff, feels his guy hasn't slipped.
Wednesday, at the Barclays Center presser to hype the Golden Boy card, I asked Cloud's trainer, Abel Sanchez, if he'd seen Hopkins deteriorate over his last few fights. No, he said, he hadn't -- because he really doesn't bother watching tape of his fighter's foe. Sanchez said he wants his fighter to play to his strengths and dictate what happens in the ring, so what the other guy typically does is basically immaterial.