THE END?

By By Francis Walker BASN Boxing writer
Updated: April 30, 2012

Its time to hang up the gloves...time to be just a dad...

Its time to hang up the gloves...time to be just a dad...

NEW YORK, NY (BASN)-–Bernard Hopkins (52-6-1, 32 KOs, 2 NC), the legend, one of the greatest champions in boxing, simply couldn’t pull a rabbit out of the hat during his highly anticipated rematch with Chad Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs, 1 NC) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City last Saturday.

Hopkins’ inability to topple the much younger Dawson cost him the WBC light-heavyweight championship.

Hopkins lost a somewhat widespread, majority decision. One judge scored the bout 114-114 even, while the other scorecards read 117-111 (twice).

Naturally, the burning question is whether it is time for Bernard to retire.

“At the end of the day, I think I’d be a really, really good teacher and mentor in the game,” Hopkins said. “To make a decision…I don’t feel like I embarrassed myself. At the end of the day, it’s got to be a motivation for me. If there’s something that moves me to prove, I will try my best and work hard and prove it. But, I can’t say either or.”

If there was a time for Hopkins to step down from what was an illustrious Hall of Fame career, highlighted by a middleweight record of 20 consecutive title defenses and a light-heavyweight championship, now is the time to do it.

Hopkins’ resume has an endless list of names that are equivocally worthy of Hall of Fame status: Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad, Roy Jones, Jr. and Joe Calzaghe.

In performances against Jermain Taylor, Antonio Tarver, Winky Wright, Kelly Pavlik, Jean Pascal, Joe Calzaghe, and Roy Jones in recent years, Hopkins has given us a reason to want to continue to watch him fight. Continue to keep push forward, make history, and simply give us something to talk about.

The story of how a 45, 46, 47, and one day 50 year-old man simply busted up guys much younger than himself during a Cinderella, rags-to-riches storybook career is a rare occurrence. However, it is clear that at age 47, Hopkins’ time in the ring is nearing its closure. I think it’s time.

I always said blatantly that it doesn’t look good for boxing if a 45 year-old man is beating up guys that are groomed to be the bloodline of boxing’s future.

Hopkins’ take-all and give nothing mentality has bought him a ticket into the International Boxing Hall of Fame straight from a mean streets of Philadelphia, PA.

Hopkins, at this point, has defied the odds so many times that there is no way he can get better as a fighter. Unless Hopkins has a unique lifetime opportunity to participate in a mega fight, do not expect to see Hopkins in the ring anytime soon.

Hopkins should take the opportunity to hang up his gloves on top. The legacy that he has worked so hard to build on all cylinders since 1988 is perfectly intact.

Don’t ruin it!

Saturday’s fight between Hopkins and Dawson was perhaps the changing of the guard between a great, great champion and the future of the light-heavyweight class.

“This guy’s younger than what people think he is,” Dawson said after the fight. “He’s 47 but he fights like he’s 35. He picks his punches very good. He doesn’t waste any energy. I knew if I made one mistake, he was going to pick it up. I got to give him credit. He’s a future hall of famer.”

That’s right. It’s been a long time coming, but Chad Dawson was once recognized as the future of the 175-poud class. With the addition of Bernard Hopkins in the win column on his resume, Dawson has defeated Antonio Tarver (twice), Glen Johnson (twice), and former two-division champion Tomasz Adamek before he moved up to heavyweight.

Dawson‘s only professional loss occurred in August 2010 against Jean Pascal.

Dawson had a lackluster showing and dropped a technical decision after an accidental head-butt in the eleventh round.

The loss to Pascal set-up two consecutive fights with Hopkins: A controversial draw and a historic decision that enabled Hopkins to become the oldest champion in boxing history.

By righting Pascal’s wrong, Dawson has positioned himself as marquee threat in the light-heavyweight class. It’s Dawson, not Pascal or Tavoris Cloud.

Dawson’s stature has reclaimed its value, even though his career-best performance was his first fight with Antonio Tarver.

The difference between Dawson and Hopkins on Saturday was the fact that Dawson applied himself more in terms of keeping his hands busy.

Dawson tried to push and pressure Hopkins with combinations, but often found himself either clinched, tried-up, head-butted, or tangled-up. At one point in the fight, both men went sprawling over the canvas to the displeasure of the crowd.

An interesting not of observation watching the wrestling between both fighters, it appeared as though Hopkins had better footwork than Dawson.

Hopkins impressed everyone with his ability to move well on his toes and simply box.

Hopkins missed a lot of straight-rights and looping shots.

Dawson missed a lot too, but he did press the action to initiate the fight.

Overall, Dawson landed the cleaner punches. His aggressiveness alone was more than enough to overshawdow Hopkins’s holding and grabbing. I think Dawson was credited by the judges for initiating the fight and trying to keep it a boxing match with clean punches.

Once again, Hopkins as well as he moved and landed some clean punches. It was one punch at a time. Hopkins simply wasn’t busy enough to outwork Dawson.

The rematch was a contrast to their original no-contest last October. In the second round, Hopkins, while fighting in the clinch, leaned on top of Dawson’s neck and Chad simply elevated Hopkins and threw him onto the canvas.

Hopkins injured his left shoulder and was unable to continue. The fight was ruled a TKO defeated for Hopkins, but the decision was later appealed and changed to a no-contest.

“He came to fight tonight,” Dawson stated.

‘Mayhem’ Mitchell downs Witherspoon in three

Another fight of interest was a 12-round clash between rising undefeated heavyweight Seth ‘Mayhem; Mitchell (25-0-1, 19 KOs) stopped Chazz Witherspoon (30-3, 22 KOs) at 2:31 seconds of the third round. The 6′ 2,” 245-pound Mitchell is making headlines as America’s next top contender in the heavyweight division.

During a press conference in Europe last week, unified IBF/WBA and WBO/IBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko mentioned Mitchell as a future ‘opponent.’ Klitschko has a mandatory rematch against Tony Thompson on July 7, in Switzerland. Should he beat Thompson as expected, Klitschko is eager to return to the United States to fight for the first time in more than four years.

To be honest with you, I’m not even thinking about a Klitschko-Mitchell slaughter. Yes, Mitchell bested a more experienced and better polished Chazz Witherspoon inside three rounds on Saturday. Mitchell showed a lot of pose by clinching when he was hurt. He also slowed Witherspoon with a relentless body attack and threw his punches in combinations. Mitchell proved he has knockout power in both fists and he is persistent. However, he made a lot of mistakes. The biggest observation of record is the fact that Mitchell’s stamina is seriously terrible. Even worse, Mitchell got tired quickly fighting against a guy who appeared to have bad stamina.

What would happen if Mitchell fought a well-conditioned heavyweight with great experience that could box and punch? Mitchell can be a problem, but he needs more rounds under his belt and has to work even harder at boxing basics.

“I’ve said numerous time you never hear ‘ America’s Hope; come out of my mouth,” Mitchell said. “I just continue to work hard and try to do the best that I can. I believe in myself. I believe I have the tools to become heavyweight champion of the world.”