By Keith Idec
ATLANTIC CITY — Bernard Hopkins mentioned Lucian Bute early Sunday morning as a potential opponent who might motivate him enough to continue his Hall-of-Fame career.
Golden Boy Promotions chief executive officer Richard Schaefer thinks another undefeated champion from Europe makes sense for the 47-year-old legend to fight, too.
“It’s going to be totally up to him,” Schaefer told BoxingScene.com after Hopkins dropped a 12-round majority decision to Chad Dawson in their light heavyweight championship rematch at Boardwalk Hall on Saturday night. “I could see him, for example, challenging for the WBO world title against Nathan Cleverly.”
Cleverly (24-0, 11 KOs) is becoming an attraction in his native Wales and a fight against Hopkins probably would do big business there. The 25-year-old Cleverly isn’t nearly as talented as the Romanian-born Bute (30-0, 24 KOs), either, so traveling to Wales to challenge him might be more appealing to Hopkins than returning to Bute’s adopted hometown of Montreal if that opportunity presented itself later this year.
“There are many possibilities there for [Hopkins],” Schaefer said. “But really, at the end of the day it’s his decision and he’s going to have to decide what he wants to do.
“But the fact is he still is the biggest name in the light heavyweight division and some of those people who felt he was going to embarrass himself, I think that they were not right because Bernard Hopkins did not embarrass himself [Saturday night]. He fought a good fight.”
Schaefer also thought the Dawson-Hopkins fight was closer than judges Richard Flaherty and Steve Weisfeld scored it (117-111).
“I thought the [117-111 score] was a bit too wide,” Schaefer said. “It wasn’t that wide of a decision. I’m not saying Hopkins won. I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that was a bit too wide.”
Nevertheless, Schaefer believes Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KOs, 2 NC) silenced some of the critics who thought that his rematch against the faster, stronger, younger Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs, 2 NC) wouldn’t be remotely competitive.
“I think it was a terrific performance,” Schaefer said. “You have to remember, Chad Dawson could be his son. I think Bernard turned in a great performance. He certainly still is one of the top light heavyweights, no question about it. And I think he can give everybody a tough night.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.