SecondsOut breaks down the matchup and figures out who will win
By:Mike Sloan: It’s safe to say that Chad Dawson and Bernard Hopkins aren’t exactly chums who exchange friendship bracelets. Dawson has claimed throughout the years that Hopkins has ducked him; Hopkins countered that Dawson’s name wasn’t big enough to warrant taking a pay cut to fight him. When they finally got into the ring to settle the long-lasting quasi feud, the fight ended up with such an anticlimax that it left Al Capone’s hidden vault wondering what the fuss was all about.
What transpired inside the ring last October is common knowledge and Hopkins and Dawson have been boasting loudly that each would have won the fight regardless had Hopkins not suffered a shoulder injury. Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs) dumped Hopkins awkwardly onto his side and when the future Hall of Famer was injured, the fight was nixed. Dawson was awarded the TKO victory but it eventually was correctly switched to a “no contest.”
Dawson claims that Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOs) was faking the injury and that his actions were the safe way out of a fight he was going to lose. Hopkins countered, stating that his shoulder was jacked up and that he wanted to continue but wasn’t allowed. In either case, each man has his opinion and there isn’t a drop of love lost between them. Their ballyhooed rematch is tonight inside the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City and it’s a tossup as to which man will exit the ring as the winner.
SecondsOut.com knows what will happen and has been kind enough to break down the matchup in all the important categories and has figured out who will win. Read on:
Punching power: Neither man is regarded as some sort of murderous puncher but they can both crack. Hopkins has an awesome right hand when he throws it hard enough and Dawson has power in both fists. Still, neither is a knockout artist so this one is more a matchup of chins. Hopkins’ chin is made of granite and he’s rarely ever been hurt in his career. Interestingly enough, the same can be said of Dawson. Hopkins has roughly twice as many knockouts as Dawson, but Chad is the naturally larger man. Advantage: Push.
Speed: Hopkins may be old, but he’s still crafty and has retained most of his speed. However, in his first go-around with Dawson, he looked a bit sluggish. Granted, the fight didn’t last more than two rounds, but his speed looked a bit off. Dawson isn’t known as a bloke with blistering speed, but he’s younger with less tear on his engine. They both throw accurate punches, though Hopkins is the much better puncher in terms of angles and execution. Still, it’s hard to look past the sluggishness of “The Executioner” the last time he fought. Advantage: Dawson
Size: Dawson is a taller by several inches and has longer arms. He’s the naturally heavier of the two and seems more comfortable at light heavyweight than Hopkins, whose career was spent almost entirely at middleweight. Hopkins will have to get on the inside of Dawson’s long reach to be effective, but Dawson will likely just tie his nemesis up if he does. Size is nowhere near the major factor in a fight that most “experts” make it out to be, and it shouldn’t be a factor in this one. Still, there’s only one guy who has the edge on size. Advantage: Dawson
Age factor: In a few years, Hopkins will be 50. Yes, that’s correct: 50. The big five-zero. The world of boxing has been waiting for the Philadelphia legend to turn old for literally a decade and it hasn’t happened. Dawson was a little kid when Hopkins was fighting for his first championship but he’s been around boxing for most of his life. He’s been a pro about half as long as Hopkins but, considering Hopkins’ refusal to turn into a geezer before the boxing world’s eyes, it’s almost a wash. However, referencing the way Hopkins looked sluggish last October, maybe it’s time his age is finally going to be a factor? He’s not getting younger and Dawson is in his prime. Advantage: Dawson
Chin: Both Dawson and Hopkins can take a punch, there’s no way around that. They’ve both been in against top level competition and neither has really been hurt too many times in their careers. The one caveat to this is that if there’s going to be an angle favoring one over the other, it has to go to Hopkins for the fact that he’s taken on the very best of his generation and has battled some of the hardest punches of the past thirty years. Dawson can’t boast that. Also, Hopkins’ defensive posture is such that he hardly gets hit clean in any fight. If there is an edge to somebody, it’s got to be because the chin and the defense. Advantage: Hopkins
Experience: This one is an avalanche. As good as Dawson is and though he’s faced some elite level fighters, his resume pales in comparison to Hopkins’. Felix Trinidad, Roy Jones, Oscar de la Hoya, Joe Calzaghe, Jean Pascal, Kelly Pavlik, Jermaine Taylor, Robert Allen, Winky Wright, Antonio Tarver, Antwun Echols, Simon Brown, Glen Johnson and a host of others have all called Bernard Hopkins their opponent. Some on numerous occasions. Hopkins tore most of them up. Dawson will need to fight another ten years against the best of the best to have a history comparable to Hopkins. This one is almost unfair. Advantage: Hopkins
Intangibles: Dawson seems to dislike Hopkins more than Hopkins seems to dislike Dawson. Hopkins has as much to prove as Dawson because he loves proving people wrong and appears to loathe Father Time and his annoying aging process. However, Hopkins can afford to lose because his legacy is sealed in cement. Dawson can’t really afford a loss because he is unknown outside of the boxing world. If he can win, especially if he can dominate one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport, he’ll be able to parlay that into bigger fights, more fame and, most importantly, more money. If he loses to a man who is almost 50, that’ll look bad. With that said, if either man has more pressure on him, it’s Dawson. If that makes him a better fighter then Hopkins could be in for a long night against the younger, stronger lion. If that makes him fight too cautiously because he doesn’t want to make mistakes, he could lose. Also, if he tries to press the issue too much because he wants to take out Hopkins, he could get sloppy, which would play right into B-Hop’s hands. And Hopkins has done this dozens of times; Dawson hasn’t. Advantage: Hopkins
The bottom line: No matter what the promoters tell you, or what you hear from the “experts,” this fight will not be a war. It will not be action-packed. It will not be a fight of the year candidate. Don’t believe the hype of this being a grudge match between two guys who despise each other. Those fights never wind up being terrific brawls. Hopkins likes to play it safe and doesn’t care how many boos he hears; he’s there to stick to his gameplan and score the win. Dawson likes to brawl but he’s sloppy at times and he’s been known to get involved in grappling/mauling matches, just like Hopkins. This will be a tactical, slow-paced boxing match with a lot of clinching, mauling, shoving and jabbing. The times they go toe-to-toe will be short-lived because once one of the guys is tagged, he’ll grab. The referee will have his work cut out for him and he’ll earn every cent he makes. Hopkins will struggle early and it will seem like Dawson will dominate the entire fight, but the wise old owl will figure out Dawson’s antics and start to pick him apart. Hopkins will take over the fight late, but it won’t be overly noticeable because Dawson won’t be getting hurt in the process. By the time the championship rounds come around, the fight will be a toss-up in terms of scoring. Hopkins will take the eleventh or twelfth round off because he’ll think he has it in the bag, allowing Dawson to finally win his first round in convincing fashion since the first/second rounds.
In the end, Hopkins will have landed the more clever punches and will have landed the better shots throughout the fight. But because of his lack of constant pressure and low punch output, many of the rounds that he actually did win will go to Dawson. The official verdict will be a split decision in favor of Dawson, though Hopkins truly should have been given the nod. He’s been robbed in close fights before and it’ll happen again. He’ll protest like he should and Dawson will claim he clearly won. There will be a small outcry from the boxing world for a rematch and because Dawson’s not a big name at all and Hopkins’ options are dwindling, they’ll meet again in a carbon copy of this fight in the Fall. Bank on it.
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