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Hopkins vs Cloud: 'Executioner' giving Cloud respect ahead of Saturday's fight

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48-year-old Bernard Hopkins says he sees a bit of himself in Tavoris Cloud, his opponent this Saturday night on HBO.

Al Bello

Bernard Hopkins isn't talking trash and isn't disrespecting his opponent this Saturday night, giving IBF light heavyweight titlist Tavoris Cloud plenty of respect as he nears fight night in a quest to break his own record as the oldest man in boxing history to win a world title:

"I got footage on Cloud when he was an amateur, really aggressive, really a fighter that you can say that could have survived in old-school boxing. And that’s great, because that’s what I was dubbed and that’s what I was named. He sort of reminds me of a young Bernard Hopkins coming up, to be honest with you. And I don’t mind giving people respect and giving people their props, because the hunger and the younger style and the way he has, you know, you see that, and I know me and I know how important this fight is to me."

Hopkins, who turned 48 in January, set the record at age 46 when he beat Jean Pascal in 2011. This time, he won't be on the road, as he should have something of a home field advantage in terms of fan support when he faces Cloud at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on HBO.

Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KO) may, of course, just be playing one of his legendary mind games -- maybe he feels that flattery will be more to his benefit than getting the 31-year-old Cloud (24-0, 19 KO) fired up and ready to tear his head off. He also says he's not worrying about Cloud's controversial last fight, when he was given a gift decision win over Gabriel Campillo in Texas.