When and why you started boxing:
It was in my senior year at high school, when I was about 18. Some guy – he had to be about 24 – was out in the schoolyard playing basketball. He obviously wasn’t meant to be on the premises. He bumped into me on purpose, so I confronted him. He kicked me three times and it felt like my shin was going to fall off. I feinted with my right hand and then caught him clean on the jaw with a straight left. It knocked him out cold. Ever since then I’ve been in the gym.

Favourite all-time fighter:
Marvin Hagler because of his aggressive fighting style.

Best fight you’ve seen:
The first fight between Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns.

Personal career highlight:
My fight against David Diaz [in August 2011] because of what I had to overcome. During camp, I fell down some steps and broke my rib, but I still went ahead with the fight and knocked him out in the sixth round on his home turf.

Toughest opponent:
Patrick Lopez [w ud 10 – April 2011]. I remember him being huge! He knocked my tooth out and broke my jaw in the second round.

Best and worst attributes as a boxer:
My best attributes are my boxing ability, my intelligence and my hand speed. I’m always looking for ways to improve my craft, although I can be a little stubborn at times!

Training tip:
You can’t have one foot in the gym and one foot out of the gym.

Favourite meal/restaurant:
I like chicken parmesan, macaroni and cheese and fried chicken!

Best friends in boxing:
Gabriel Rosado, Jamel Herring and Shawn Porter.

Other sportsperson you would like to be:
I play running back in [American] football, so it’d be Barry Sanders.

Last film/TV show you saw:
I’m a big fan of [TV show] Snowfall.

Who would play you in a film of your life:
Someone versatile like Larenz Tate.

Have you ever been starstruck:
Back when I was a kid, I went to a fight show in Atlantic City. Lennox Lewis was there commentating. I was a bit nervous, but I asked him for his autograph. He turned me down, which kind of made me dislike him a bit. But it is what it is!

Best advice received:
When I tore my ACL and meniscus, I put on some weight because I wasn’t able to work out. Bernard Hopkins pulled me to one side and gave me a pep talk. After that, I went straight to the gym and got back to being in A1 condition.

Worst rumour about yourself:
One time I accepted a late-notice fight but my body just locked up and I couldn’t shift the weight in such a short space of time, so the fight didn’t happen. People tried to label me as the bad guy for that.

Something not many people know about you:
I play semi-pro [American] football.