A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
The Talk Ends This Saturday
HBO will televise along with an intriguing co-featured attraction between American heavyweights Seth Mitchell and Chazz Witherspoon.
The first fight ended in controversy when Chad Dawson inadvertently hoisted Hopkins off his feet and sent him sprawling onto the canvas.
Hopkins landed on his left shoulder and couldn’t continue. The result was officially announced as a TKO, but later changed to a no-contest.
Just when it appeared as though Hopkins and Dawson would go along their own separate ways, the WBC mandated an immediate rematch.
So here we are folks. It’s fight week. The barricade of words between Hopkins and Golden Boy Promotions Richard Shafer, Dawson and Gary Shaw will soon end. Shaw made reference to the end of Bernard Hopkins.
Dawson believes he will be crowned as the best light-heavyweight in the world after Saturday. Shafer and Shaw both have disagreed on the events of the first fight and why the rematch is even happening.
Bernard is fed up with all the talking. After years of being questioned about his age, his endurance, how long, and how much longer he plans on fighting. It gets to be a bit much after a while.
“I know what I know and I start getting kind of old in boxing because to be honest with you, I don’t really have too much to say any more,” Hopkins said during a recent conference call. “The last two or three years even though I try to push myself to give people something because it’s part of the game in boxing. You do a lot of talking. Then you do a lot of backing up. Some do and some don’t, but I think I am getting kind of old in my age where right now I get agitated even doing these interviews because it seems to be the same questions and nobody else has anything different to ask me.”
Dawson, the much younger man at age 29, was recently compared to other young fighters Hopkins, 47, fought earlier in his career.
Dawson believes he’s much too different than anyone Hopkins has ever been in the ring with.
“I don’t know because I can’t compare myself to other young guys,” Dawson stated. “I think I’m fully different from all the other young guys he’s beaten. I have more will. I’m definitely smarter. I know Bernard’s been around the game for a long time. I know he knows all the tricks and all of the tactics and everything, but I’m not worried about that.”
Look at Hopkins’ losses. Minus losing his professional debut, Hopkins’ four losses against Roy Jones, Jr., Jermain Taylor, and Joe Calzaghe occurred against fighters with greater hand and foot speed. Calzaghe, like Dawson was a southpaw before retiring as an undefeated fighter having bested both Jones and Hopkins in 2008.
However, Dawson differs from Calzaghe.
“I mean Joe Calzaghe was a great fighter,” Dawson said, “but me and Joe Calzaghe are two different fighters. We’re both southpaws, but Calzaghe uses his hand speed. I use my hand speed too, but my punches mean something. My punches count. My punches hurt. Joe Calzaghe was more of slapper with his punches. There wasn’t that much power on his punches but he threw a lot of punches.”
That could be the difference between a widespread decision victory, or a marginal defeat. If Dawson can keep his hands busy, use his speed, and outwork Hopkins, he has a good chance to win.
Dawson cannot allow Hopkins to bully him.
Hopkins has made a career out of pulling a rabbit out a hat. Let’s not forget his performances against Jean Pascal and Kelly Pavlik in recent fights.
Also, when Hopkins lost to Calzaghe, it was a split-decision.
Hopkins also knocked Calzaghe down early in the fight. Beating Dawson, however, is an uphill task.
Dawson fights tall at 6′ 3,” he’ll have the youth on his side as well.
“I mean I have every advantage” Dawson said. “I got the fire in my eyes and people saw that at the last fight. I really wanted to go out and I really wanted to beat Bernard Hopkins. Bernard had other plans. I’m going to keep saying this; Bernard did not want to be in the ring with me that night. Maybe he under trained and he didn’t expect to see what he saw that night. Maybe he needed more time to get in better shape. I don’t know, but I’m here and I’m for real and I’m coming to fight.”
Although the first fight lasted only two rounds, the fight was according to plan.
Hopkins did the same thing Dawson anticipated during his preparations for the first encounter.
“I think he did everything we thought he was going to,” Dawson said. “He started head butting early. He started all of his dirty tactics. He kept jumping on my back. Everything he did that night we expected. Even when he hit the canvas we knew he wasn’t getting back up. We knew he was going to fake it until he made it, and that’s what happened.”
Hopkins isn’t buying into Dawson’s claim. In fact, Hopkins simply isn’t buying anything no one says.
Hopkins is focused on the physical aspect of what awaits on Saturday.
“Listen, I like this,” Hopkins said. “This is all a game. It’s all a game. It’s a game of chess not checkers. It’s a game in the ring. There’s a game out of the ring. I hear the whispers. I hear the whispers. It’s all a game. And you know what? Right now I’m winning the game. I’m winning the game and April 28th that the physical part of the game, but the other game is vicious because you don’t see the part that’s coming.”
You can feel the excitement in the air. Can Chad Dawson end the legacy of Bernard Hopkins? Can he do what so many fighters have tried and repeatedly failed to do through the years?
The world light-heavyweight champion is closer to 50 than 40 folks. Bernard can’t fight forever. It has to end eventually, but will it end on Saturday? Does Dawson have the tools to shock Bernard?
Dawson, although he owns a pair of wins against both Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson, in addition to Tomasz Adamek, who foufght for a heavyweight title last September, hasn’t looked spectacular since he beat Tarver the first time. After three-four-five punch combinations thrown, Tarver didn’t even belong in the ring with Dawson that night. The rematch was all Dawson.
Will Saturday’s rematch with Hopkins be all Dawson’s again?