It was a typical Bernard Hopkins fight at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Apr. 28. This meant there were few punches thrown, even fewer that landed, and Hopkins cried to the press after losing another decision. This time it was Chad Dawson who got shafted by the judging as a deserved unanimous decision was somehow scored a majority decision. But at least the judges gave it to the right man this time around.
The 29-year-old Dawson beat the 47-year-old Hopkins handily and was awarded the WBC Light Heavyweight Championship by scores of 114-114, 117-111, and 117-111. Dawson was simply bigger and faster than Dawson, but it was still one of the worst performances of his career. The bout was a rematch of last October’s first meeting between the two which ended in a controversial no-decision.
In that bout, Dawson flipped Hopkins to the canvas in the second round and the champion said he couldn’t continue because he separated his shoulder in the fall. The referee ruled that no foul had been committed and awarded Dawson a TKO victory. However, after constant whining by Hopkins the ruling was changed to a no-decision and a rematch was ordered.
The second fight saw a lack of action and drama as neither man let their hands go enough and on the odd occasion in which they did, no telling blows were landed. As usual, there was some controversy in the bout though, as Hopkins opened a deep cut over Dawson’s left eye with a head butt that was ruled unintentional by referee Eddie Cotton.
Dawson didn’t do much to regain the title, but he definitely did more than Hopkins. Typically, Hopkins, whose record fell to 52-6-2, with 32 KOs, didn’t agree with the decision. He refused to be interviewed on television in the ring after the loss, but spoke to reporters later at the post-fight press conference. He said Dawson didn’t do anything to win the fight and knew the only way he could win was to knock the challenger out. He then said let the public judge who won the fight.
For a boxer who said he knew he had to win by a knockout, Hopkins attempted nothing of the sort. Dawson landed more punche in nine of the 12 rounds and the other three were even. Hopkins did manage to land a few good right hands to Dawson’s head and opened a cut over his right eye with one of them.
However, Dawson’s corner man Rafael Garcia did an excellent job on both cuts and the challenger grew in confidence as the fight went on and started to land some solid left hands to the head of Hopkins. The rest of the bout was filled with clinching and mauling and boos could be heard ringing around the arena. The final stats showed that Dawson threw a total of 431 punches and 151 of them while Hopkins landed just 106 of the 400 that he threw.
Dawson, the former WBC and IBF Light Heavyweight Champion, said his objective was to win the title back and wasn’t concerned how he did it. He said he didn’t appreciate the head butts by Hopkins, but kept his composure and was the aggressor throughout. Inexplicably Hopkins leaned over the ropes after the bout and shouted to the media to check out Dawson’s bloody face compared to his own.
With the win, Dawson’s record rose to 31-1, with 17 KOs. He said he’d like to fight super middleweight Andre Ward next at either Ward’s 168-lb. limit, the 175 lb. light heavyweight limit or at a catch weight. As for Hopkins, he deserves credit for his long and storied career and is a certain hall of famer. However, it’s uncertain if he’ll fight again. He holds the record for being the oldest world champion in the history of boxing, but it was his tactics and lack of action that ultimately did him in against Dawson, not his age.