Bernard Hopkins, prepping for title fight, still uses Don King for motivation

Bernard Hopkins will challenge Tavoris Cloud, a Don King fighter, for Cloud's light-heavy title. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff
Bernard Hopkins will challenge Tavoris Cloud, a Don King fighter, for Cloud's light-heavy title. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff
Posted: March 01, 2013

Bernard Hopkins says that pictures of promoter Don King posted around his gym still motivate the 48-year-old fighter as he prepares to face IBF light-heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud.

A former world champion at two weight classes, Hopkins said 80 percent of his title defenses were against fighters promoted by King, Hopkins' longtime foil.

And Cloud, Hopkins said, is King's last horse in the stable.

"Whoever thought that Bernard Hopkins, out of anybody, would be the one that would shut [King] down?" Hopkins said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters to promote his 12-round bout with Cloud on March 9 at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.

For decades, King was one of the sport's most prominent figures. But the 81-year-old promoter has taken a hit. His two top fighters signed with Golden Boy Promotions in the fall and left King with Cloud (24-0, 19 knockouts) and few other prospects.

King said he was looking for Cloud to send Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KOs) into retirement.

"When Cloud wins, it will be the crowning glory to the excellent career of Bernard Hopkins," said King, who once promoted Hopkins.

Cloud, 31, said he has to play his cards right.

"Bernard Hopkins is the most dangerous fighter in the world, but he could be ripe for the picking," Cloud said over King's laughter. "We'll know once he takes a few punches."

Hopkins said that when he watches Cloud he is reminded of a younger version of himself.

Instead of watching footage of Cloud's last fight (a nondescript split decision over Gabriel Campillo), Hopkins watches footage of Cloud's amateur days. He said he sees a "real aggressive fighter that could have survived in old-school boxing."

"What other horse does King have to ride on?" Hopkins said. He added: "He does have a thoroughbred [in Cloud]. But let's see what happens when the cowboy rides the bull."


Watch Bernard Hopkins talk about his March 9 fight vs. IBF champion Tavoris Cloud at philly.com/hopkins


Contact Matt Breen at mbreen@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @matt_breen.

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