“Tavoris Cloud is an aggressive young fighter. I heard him at the press conference in New York City. He described himself as the Mike Tyson of this era.
“I have been on a path that I keep my body on the right track and duck more punches than I take. I can fight until I am 50 years old. The less you get hit, the more you can speak and count your money.
“I am going to be glad and excited to be at Barclays Center. It is the new Mecca of Boxing in New York. It used to be the hood. Now it is known as ‘Hello Brooklyn.’
“I get a chance to leave my legacy in Brooklyn. Not only am I honored, but I have earned that.
“I am past the stage of breaking records. It is my legacy that I want to protect. It is important to me that in my last couple of fights I didn’t put myself on the line by doing one third of the work that I have put in all of these years. I refuse to surrender to that kind of mentality.
“Anyone that can beat me, any one that can embarrass me, will become an instant star.
“I believe that Cloud’s aggressiveness will make this an action packed fight because he is thinking of himself as number one because he has the belt. He needs to come in and make adjustments to my style. If he can’t make adjustments, you will see a repeat of the Kelly Pavlik fight.
“I am different. I have set records and broken records. I have to concentrate not only on what I did yesterday, but what I am going to do tomorrow.
“People ask me, ‘What does it feel like to be 48?’ I say that I don’t know because if you ask most people in their late forties or even late thirties how they feel, they might say they are ready to die because they aren’t healthy and don’t have the longevity like me. You can’t put me in the same category as a regular guy.
“I don’t expect Cloud to dance like Ali. I don’t expect him to do anything to buy time. I expect him to come forward. That is what I would do if I was 30 fighting someone who is almost 50.
“I have to stay busy and I will win every round. The cat is out of the bag because I am not coming to get beaten up.
“There is no one saying that I am going to get blown out on March 9, when I step into that ring. There is no one saying that I am going to lose the fight. They are saying that Tavoris Cloud’s style is my forte. Cloud comes forward and throws bombs and anyone I have fought that comes forward, I have beaten. The only thing they are saying is that ‘He is 48.’
“Maybe I will go down a pound or two before I leave this sport, or maybe I will help my partners at Golden Boy and help them find new talent as a promoter or maybe I will find a little fat stomach that makes me look like I am retired.
“There is a lot working against me, but there is also a lot working for me. I have the conditioning to adjust to the times. The game didn’t change, but I am ready to face someone that is young enough to be my son and in some cases, my grandson.
“I am leading the 40-and-up club. There are a lot of 40-year-olds rooting for me because they have interns looking over their shoulders trying to take their jobs.
“I am living out what we talked about 10 or 15 years ago. I knew I was going to be here. We talked about this moment. I knew I could do this. I know I can still win or compete on this level.
“I love this game and sometimes love can hurt. I am so competitive; I know I have the body and skills to still do this.”