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Bernard Hopkins Loses Light-heavyweight Ti...

Glax0r's Photo Glax0r 29 Apr 2012

Bernard Hopkins loses light-heavyweight title to Chad Dawson by decision

By Bernard Fernandez

ATLANTIC CITY - Maybe Bernard Hopkins didn't get old all at once. Maybe his boxing mortality crept up on him, on little cat's feet, the gradual erosion of his marvelous skills taking place over years, sliver by sliver, tiny piece by tiny piece.

But, at 47, all those missing pebbles tend to add up. And Saturday night, against a talented and committed opponent 18 years his junior, the aging master finally found out what it was like to peer into the future and see . . . well, maybe the retirement that should have awaited him years ago.

Dawson wrested the WBC and The Ring magazine light-heavyweight championships from Hopkins here Saturday night in Boardwalk Hall, by scores of 117-111 (judges Steve Weisfeld and Kevin Flaherty) and 114-114 (Luis Rivera).

"What did he do to win that fight?" Hopkins said. "I knew the only way I could win was to knock him out."

It wasn't as if "Bad" Chad Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs) totally dominated Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KO's). Hopkins had his moments. He always does. It's just that those moments seemed further between than we have become accustomed to seeing, and less spectacular than what he was able to fashion in flummoxing such younger opponents as Kelly Pavlik and Jean Pascal.

For more than a decade now, fight fans had come to believe that the seemingly ageless Hopkins was immune to the natural laws of diminishing returns, that the swimming pool at his Hockessing, Del., mansion somehow was being fed by the Fountain of Youth.

Dawson - who believed he was on his way to just such a victory on Oct. 15 in Los Angeles, when Hopkins was unable to continue after sustaining a shoulder injury in the second round after being tossed to the canvas - was the aggressor throughout, landing more punches, and the more telling ones.

A headbutt from Hopkins, ruled accidental by referee Eddie Cotton, opened a cut over Dawson's left eye in the third round. Dawson apparently didn't believe the clash of skulls was by chance, and he glared at Hopkins.

In the 11th round, both fighters tumbled to the canvas when Hopkins made a better tackle than Asante Samuel ever made while a member of the Eagles.

"I was prepared for his dirty tactics," Dawson said of Hopkins' particular form of ring generalship.

The question for Hopkins now is whether he wants to, or even should, continue to ply his trade after 24 years. He is a certain first-ballot Hall of Famer, and maybe that should be enough to satisfy him going forward.

In the cofeatured bout, former Michigan State linebacker Seth Mitchell (25-0-1, 19 KOs) weathered a shaky first round to stop Chazz "The Gentleman" Witherspoon (30-3, 22 KOs) in three rounds.

Witherspoon, the St. Joseph's University graduate from Paulsboro, N.J., dominated the first round, but Mitchell kept his composure and began to turn the tide in the second round with a two-handed body attack. The onetime NFL hopeful floored Witherspoon with a left hook in Round 3, and he was scoring heavily along the ropes when referee Randy Neumann stepped in and waved the bout off after an elapsed time of 2 minutes, 31 seconds.

Mitchell earned the minor NABO title with the victory, but more importantly he established himself as an American heavyweight on the rise in a division that hasn't seen a United States fighter challenge the long-established dominance of Ukraine's Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali, for a very long time.
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Ten oz's Photo Ten oz 29 Apr 2012

This is a tough fight to reflect on. I have two strong and somewhat conflicting opinions;
The first is that Hopkins used dirty tactics. Hopkins lead with his head all night and the ref never did anything about it. As is headbutts are common vs south paws but add in the head first charges and they become almost unavoidable. I feel the ref should have warned Hopkins early and points should have come off as the fight went on. Had that happened I believe Dawson could have considered more counters on the inside rather than just duck and cover from Hopkins head.
my second thought is that Hopkins look amazing. At 47yrs old he looked better than he has in some time. His timing was sharp, hands and feet fast, and his stamina was solid all 12 rounds. Last nights version of Hopkins would've beat Calzaghe!! He needs to write a fitness and training book after he retires because what ever he is doing works.
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Spike's Photo Spike 29 Apr 2012

View PostTen oz, on 29 April 2012 - 11:35 AM, said:

This is a tough fight to reflect on. I have two strong and somewhat conflicting opinions;
The first is that Hopkins used dirty tactics. Hopkins lead with his head all night and the ref never did anything about it. As is headbutts are common vs south paws but add in the head first charges and they become almost unavoidable. I feel the ref should have warned Hopkins early and points should have come off as the fight went on. Had that happened I believe Dawson could have considered more counters on the inside rather than just duck and cover from Hopkins head.
my second thought is that Hopkins look amazing. At 47yrs old he looked better than he has in some time. His timing was sharp, hands and feet fast, and his stamina was solid all 12 rounds. Last nights version of Hopkins would've beat Calzaghe!! He needs to write a fitness and training book after he retires because what ever he is doing works.
I think you are getting a little carried away. first of all the calzaghe fight was a lot closer than last nights fight. second of all there is no way I am going to agree with you that last nights hopkins was a better fighter than a 4 year younger version. you really need to take opponents into the equation. maybe hops looked good last night because of who he was in against, not trying to diss chad he did a great job, but i think it will be awhile until we know just how good he is or not, if he rematches pasquall and loses or stinks the joint up then that kind of puts a blemish on this fight. calzaghe proved himself over a very long career, dawsons career at this level is just starting, he is the man now lets see how he handles that.
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Ten oz's Photo Ten oz 29 Apr 2012

View PostSpike, on 29 April 2012 - 04:27 PM, said:

I think you are getting a little carried away. first of all the calzaghe fight was a lot closer than last nights fight. second of all there is no way I am going to agree with you that last nights hopkins was a better fighter than a 4 year younger version. you really need to take opponents into the equation. maybe hops looked good last night because of who he was in against, not trying to diss chad he did a great job, but i think it will be awhile until we know just how good he is or not, if he rematches pasquall and loses or stinks the joint up then that kind of puts a blemish on this fight. calzaghe proved himself over a very long career, dawsons career at this level is just starting, he is the man now lets see how he handles that.
Most agree that he look bad vs Calzaghe. He claimed a medical condition. Regardless who a fighter is fighting or how old they are body language says a lot. Hopkins physically had more energy imo. All of his small movements look more crisp compared to the Calzaghe fight where he wondered into the wrong corner and his own training said he needed to retire. Even though he lost night doesn't mean he looked old.
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Smelodies's Photo Smelodies 29 Apr 2012

I thought Hopkins would have looked a lot better had he made chad dance the two-step or taste canvas a time or two.
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