By Keith Idec
Gary Shaw knows one wish Bernard Hopkins won’t make when he blows out the candles during his 47th birthday celebration Sunday.
“I don’t think Hopkins wanted to fight Chad then,” Shaw said, referring to their Oct. 15 fight, “and I don’t believe Hopkins wants to fight him now. I always thought Chad was superior and that was the one guy Hopkins didn’t want to face.”
The inconclusive nature of their farcical first fight three months ago begs for a rematch between the elite light heavyweights. Shaw, who promotes Dawson, just doesn’t see it happening, especially now that the California State Athletic Commission changed the official result on Hopkins’ record from a second-round technical knockout defeat to a no-contest.
“I think he’s going to try to fight [Lucian] Bute, and he’ll have to give up his [WBC] belt,” Shaw said. “That’s what I think. Then the WBC will strip him. Then we would go fight [Jean] Pascal or Tavoris Cloud.”
Shaw would favor Pascal (26-2-1, 16 KOs) over Cloud (23-0, 19 KOs) as Dawson’s opponent for a spring bout because of the history between Dawson, of New Haven, Conn., and Pascal, of Laval, Quebec.
Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOs, 2 NC) clearly defeated Pascal in their rematch May 21 in Montreal, but Pascal upset Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs, 2 NC) in their August 2010 fight in Montreal, which led to the first infamous fight between Hopkins and Pascal nearly 13 months ago in Quebec City. The Hopkins-Pascal rematch, necessitated by a maligned majority draw, was allowed under the condition that the winner fight Dawson in his next bout.
Hopkins’ win set up a light heavyweight title fight many boxing observers believe Hopkins had avoided in previous years. It ended dubiously because Hopkins said he couldn’t continue due to a shoulder injury he sustained when Dawson hurled Hopkins off his back and onto the canvas at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Referee Pat Russell initially ruled that Dawson won by TKO, but the CSAC correctly changed the result to a no-contest at its December meeting. The WBC previously declared that Hopkins remained its 175-pound champion, even before the ruling officially was changed.
“I think Hopkins faked it,” Shaw said. “He’s a master at it. I have a lot of respect for him. He’s had a storied career, but he didn’t want to be in that ring.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.