Hopkins' willpower knows no bounds

March, 7, 2013
3/07/13
2:45
PM ET
Bernard Hopkins gave a sense Tuesday of how he truly feels about the short shrift he's gotten from the mainstream press considering he's 48 years old, a middle-aged man who is still fighting at a world-class level. And doing it while clean, not on PEDs, he asserted at a Gleason's Gym workout ahead of his Saturday main event clash with IBF 175-pound champ Tavoris Cloud.

Hopkins' promoter, Richard Schaefer, offered some insight on Wednesday into his fighter's self-discipline, which might seems obsessive in the eyes of many of us.

Schaefer talked about a dinner back in 2004, after Hopkins beat Oscar De La Hoya and then considered joining the Golden Boy Promotions stable. After Oscar, Schaefer and Hopkins sat down to eat, Hopkins considered the shrimp scampi and asked how it was prepared. The server told him it was flambeed, with a splash of booze. "No, no, no," Hopkins said. He didn't want to ingest even a teaspoon of alcohol, even if the booze was going to be burned off.

Another time, Schaefer lit up a cigar around the boxer. Hopkins bolted. "I can't be around smoke," he said, and walked off.

His self-discipline is maniacal, as he seemingly never deviates more than five pounds from his fighting weight. And the no-booze anecdote makes sense. Hopkins decided after leaving a penitentiary stint that he'd never be back, and thus, he'd need to have all his faculties about him, 24/7.

Anything that might dim his radar, Hopkins wants no part of. At times, he can appear to an unknowing onlooker as mildly paranoid, but then again, once you wrap your brain around how the boxing business often works, maybe what appears as paranoia should be seen as realistic.
Michael Woods, a member of the board of the Boxing Writers Association of America, has been covering boxing since 1991. He writes about boxing for ESPN The Magazine and is the news editor for TheSweetScience.com.

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