By Rick Reeno
Former two division world champion Bernard Hopkins spoke to BoxingScene.com about tonight's super middleweight collision between WBC/WBA champion Andre Ward (25-0, 13KOs) and light heavyweight king Chad Dawson (31-1, 17KOs). The HBO televised fight takes place at the Oracle in Oakland.
A few months ago, Hopkins selected Ward as the best American fighter. The 47-year-old veteran fought Dawson twice, with the first bout ending in a two round no-contest, and Dawson winning their April rematch with a twelve round majority decision.
BoxingScene.com: What are your thoughts about this match?
Hopkins: They are fighting at 168, and to me its a fight where both styles are sort of like my style, but a younger version of my style. What I mean by that is, I think Andre Ward is a young guy with an old school mentality. The way he developed himself over the years. He’s a guy who watches old and new fighters and he listens very well. It could be a technical fight, but it’s a fight that will heat up very, very quickly.
BoxingScene.com: Who do you see coming out on top?
Hopkins: To me Chad Dawson is a guy who needs to learn how to fight inside. Andre Ward knows how to fight inside and he knows how to fight outside. I think in the end both guys will be giving and taking the best way that they can give and the best way that they can take. But I think at the end of the day, the experience of being at that level from the Olympics and being in front of that stage and being able to come out and show what Andre Ward is about - and what I mean by that - breaking into superstardom, breaking into being on HBO for the first time. This is a thing that I know that excites that guy.
This is what I said then and I'll say it now. They might think it's biased towards me and Chad Dawson because of the two fights - it ain't about that. What I believe is it's a fight that both of those guys can win and both of those guys can lose. But the all-around style, it's going to be one of the fights where Andre Ward has the tools and has the IQ to be able to not surprise people on who should win or lose.
BoxingScene.com: Do you believe Dawson made a mistake by coming down to 168?
Hopkins: I don't really think he made a mistake. I think he believes that Andre Ward is not really a 168-pounder. I believe both guys can easily fight at 175 or 168, but they chose to fight at 168.