Tavoris Cloud has seen the movie.
He recognizes the part where the brash young stud -- a role most recently played by guys named Pavlik and Pascal -- loudly proclaims to be the new bully on the block, and promises he'll be the one to finally humble the neighborhood's tough guy emeritus, Bernard Hopkins.
And Cloud, who was all of 6 years old when Hopkins first stepped into a professional boxing ring, is just as familiar with the rest of the story; especially the part where the old man takes the kid's best shot and slaps him around with the precision of a worldly teacher schooling a green pupil.
It's the last scene that Cloud, the IBF's reigning light heavyweight kingpin, is determined to rewrite when he gets his shot at Hopkins -- now two months past his 48th birthday -- while making a fifth title defense Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
For Hopkins, it's the 31st time he'll emerge from a dressing room with a belt on the line since 1993.
For Cloud, it's just the 25th overall fight in a career that didn't begin until nearly 11 years later.
Hence, a very real challenge -- even as a consensus betting favorite -- to avoid the missteps of youth.
"I'm going to avoid being the next Pascal or Pavlik because I'm not them," he said. "Tavoris Cloud comes to fight. I'm not letting Hopkins in my head. I'm coming in there to have him fight my fight, so I don't end up like the other guys."
We caught up with Cloud at the tail end of preparations to discuss his mental approach, his perception of Hopkins as an opponent and where he sees himself in comparison with his 175-pound colleagues.
Fitzbitz: We're in the final few days before a fight. I assume the conditioning level is where it needs to be, but talk to me about where your head is at when you get to this stage. Are you thinking of the fight 24/7? Do you try to think of anything else but the fight? What works best mentally for you?
Cloud: Well, I try to relax and not think about the fight 24/7. I try to be calm and conserve my energy for the fight. What's going through my mind right now is that this is going to be one hell of a fight. I just try to hone in on focusing my mind and skills and making sure that I'm sharp with nothing cluttering my mind.
Fitzbitz: In terms of physically preparing, are you a guy who watches a lot of video of your opponent, or are you a guy who ignores film and plans to make the other guy adjust to you?
Cloud: I make the other guy adjust to me. I never watch a lot of film of my opponents. If we have to adjust to the opponent, we're not doing something right on our end. My new trainer, Abel Sanchez, stresses that, and my previous trainer felt that way, too.
Fitzbitz: Everyone has seen Hopkins fight a bunch of times. As an opponent, what's the first thing you notice about him in terms of his strengths? Is there one particular thing that he does well, compared to the other guys at 175 and elsewhere?
Cloud: Hopkins is more sneaky. He tries to be clever but, really, sometimes it's just dirty. I don't look at him as being physically formidable. He's all skills, mind games and trickery. You can't play into that. He's not what you look for in a fighter, not what you think a fighter should be. That's why I'm trying to keep my mind smart because he's a thinking man's fighter.
Fitzbitz: He's made a lot of his money taking on guys younger than him, and he's usually done well. In your view, how has he been able, in his 40s, to beat guys in their 20s and 30s? How much is mental? How much is physical? And how do you avoid being the next Pascal or Pavlik?