World ranked European cruiserweight title challenger Tommy McCarthy is so laid back it would be no surprise if the owners of Radox had been in touch to inquire of his secret. So, it comes as a surprise when he admits to a time when the ring stole that from him.
Tomorrow night in London's Wembley Arena, McCarthy, who turns 30 next Wednesday, finds himself at a pivotal point in his career. Victory over Bilal Laggoune will place him on a path to a world title shot, while defeat would be calamitous. The road back, he acknowledges, could be long and winding.
McCarthy has trodden such a path before, following the first defeat of his career in a British title eliminator in November 2016. Between then and November 2018, the Belfast man changed - and not for the better. As he sought to rebuild his career, McCarthy reveals that his natural, free-flowing clinical instinct had deserted him and he was caught in a mental tailspin from which there seemed no escape.
Having not fought in a year, McCarthy found himself at the Shorts Sports and Social Club on November 17 fighting Kent Kauppinen, whose record at that time was five defeats and no victories. It was a far cry from the international stage wearing an Irish vest or winning silver at the Commonwealth Games.
"When I went into the fight, I was buzzing to be back. I said to myself 'right stop this guy in a round and move on'. But it went the distance, six rounds, and during the fight I just couldn't go through the gears. Every round was the same and I was having this battle in my mind 'Why is he still in front of me? Why are you not getting this guy out of here?' I was cracking up, I was so disappointed with myself," said McCarthy, who was suffering boxing's equivalent of the yips.
"Afterwards I was making excuses that I had been out for so long and it was good to get the six rounds but that wasn't true. The same thing happened against another journeyman, Jiri Svacina, in the Ulster Hall three months later. I'm in the ring going 'hit him, just hit him'. But again, I couldn't go through the gears and then I lost to Richard Riakporhe for the WBA inter-continental title and I was having the same mental battle in that fight as well.
"I was stuck and realised why. Over the year I had been out of the ring, I had been sparring the best cruiserweights in the world - world champions - and it became a habit. There's a knack to sparring because if you do too well then you get sent home so you find a way to do just enough. I got stuck in that mindset and had to get out of it.
"After the defeat to Riakporhe, I never wanted that to happen again. By chance I was at a wedding and got speaking to a guy who turned out to be a businessman. He got speaking to Carl Frampton because he was putting a bar in Carl's house and, after speaking to Carl, Ciaran decided to sponsor me. It was Ciaran who suggested I see a mental coach, Kevin Young. Kevin was brilliant for me, he just made me realise that I had to stop thinking about things in the ring and let it happen - just focus solely on what was in front of me.
"When I think about it, it reminded me of the way my amateur coach, Patsy McAllister, used to work with me. Before all my fights, Patsy would say, 'go and paint me a picture'. Patsy knew my strengths and he just wanted me to go out and do my thing, to go out and express myself. I never had the usual amateur style, I always carried my hands low - that was my natural way.
"That was the thing about Patsy at the Oliver Plunkett gym - there was never a rigid Plunkett style. We would look at other clubs, the way they were coached and you knew where they trained but Patsy never forced us into a style. Tyrone McKenna and Anto Cacace and the other lads, we all had our own style."
McCarthy had to start painting pictures again with a mind free to show that he still had the ability to be a major player in the cruiserweight division and two visits to Italy, under the guidance of new coach Pete Taylor, proved to him that he was at that point.
Last October came the moment when it was clear to all that the demons had been cast away as he outpointed Italian Fabio Turchi to lift the WBC international title but it was so much more valuable than a belt.
"Promoter Eddie Hearn was there to see it and I knew I was back to where I needed to be. I remember after the Turchi fight, Pete said it was the most relaxed dressing room he had ever been in. There was no fear, no negative thoughts and the fight just seemed to fly through. Everything came together.
"When your mind is right, anything is possible - you're unbeatable."
Winning the EBU European title would be another fine picture for McCarthy to craft.