By Keith Idec
Chad Dawson and Bernard Hopkins won’t occupy the same room again until a weigh-in Friday afternoon at Caesars in Atlantic City that’s open to the public.
There won’t be an official press conference this week, though customary for fights at this level, because, according to Dawson and his handlers, Hopkins doesn’t want one. Nevertheless, Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs, 2 NC) has offered a couple messages for the oldest champion in boxing history.
The former WBC light heavyweight champion implored Hopkins to help him give fans at Boardwalk Hall their money’s worth this time, unlike their farcical fight Oct. 15 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“A lot of fans were disappointed after the last fight,” Dawson said. “But I just want to make one thing clear. On that night, I came to fight. I wanted to fight Bernard Hopkins and I was looking forward to dethroning him that night. But when he pulled the stunt he pulled, which was a stunt, it messed up all of my plans.”
The southpaw from New Haven, Conn., respects what Hopkins has accomplished, but not what the 47-year-old Philadelphia native did during their two-round debacle six months ago. He called Hopkins “an actor” and has repeatedly said since their first fight that Hopkins didn’t really suffer the separated left shoulder Hopkins has said prohibited him from continuing after Dawson hurled Hopkins off his back and onto the canvas.
“Legends don’t act the way this guy acts,” Dawson said. “They don’t do the things he does. I would’ve fought Bernard Hopkins with one finger that night — one finger, and I still would’ve won. But I’m not going to go and cry about that stuff.
“For this fight, I just want a fair fight. I want Bernard to come out to fight. I don’t want no low blows, no head-butts. Let’s just be two men, like the men we are, and just fight.”
If that happens, Dawson doesn’t believe Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOs, 2 NC), a notoriously masterful rule-bender, has any chance to win their 12-round rematch for Hopkins’ WBC light heavyweight title (HBO; 10:15 p.m. EDT). Despite that he is the champion and within the last year has decisively defeated the only fighter who has beaten Dawson [Jean Pascal], Hopkins is about a 3-1 underdog.
“Everybody in boxing has a puncher’s chance, but he don’t have that chance at all,” said Dawson, who’s 17½ years younger than Hopkins. “He don’t have a chance at all. All you guys are sitting around, looking like, ‘Yo, this guy’s crazy. This young guy’s crazy. Bernard’s a legend. He beat this guy. He beat that guy.’
“But look at me right now. I’m telling you, this guy will lose. He will lose. I’m telling you. He’s going to lose. He’s going to lose bad. … He knows the difference between a Pascal and a Chad Dawson. He knows the difference.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.