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Forget that middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins spent time in a penitentiary. That's not the reason he's the champ.
Jail has never made anybody a tougher person. You're either tough before you go in or you're not. If anything, jail makes you paranoid, not tough.
Hopkins, 39, is definitely an uber-paranoid fighter, and the Philadelphia boxer may still show that when he fights East L.A.'s Oscar De La Hoya at the MGM Grand on Saturday. The fight will be shown on HBO pay-per-view.
Before his fight against Robert Allen last June, Hopkins refused to have Puerto Rican referee Joe Cortez in the ring. Fear of retaliation for stomping on the Puerto Rican flag before his fight with Felix Trinidad in 2001 caused that burst of paranoia.
Hopkins, for all of his bravado, is probably boxing's most paranoid representative.