On Saturday night the oldest man to ever win a championship, Bernard Hopkins(52-6-2, 32KOs) took on one of his toughest tests to date as he faced off against "Bad" Chad Dawson (31-1, 17KOs).
In their brief first meeting last October, Dawson was originally awarded a TKO victory after throwing Hopkins down to the canvas in the second round. Hopkins claimed he was severely injured and after a doctor ruled that he had indeed been injured, the CSAC turned the fight into no contest.
Fast forward to Atlantic City seven months later. The opening bell sounded with little to no action from both men. Hopkins was darting in with his head tucked low as Dawson fired away with his jab. The next two rounds saw many feints and posing but not many punches thrown. Hopkins was on the attack but was nullified by the bigger, longer Dawson. In the fourth round, Hopkins busted a cut open above Dawson's left eye with a headbutt. As the blood poured down from Dawson's face referee Ed Cotton ruled it accidental. Hopkins landed a swift combination that pushed Dawson back. Dawson came back strong at the end of the round behind a few spurts of offense as he held Hopkins against the ropes.
During the fifth and sixth rounds, Dawson came out with a new intensity as he came forward behind his jab followed by numerous body shots as Hopkins was once again against the ropes. In round eight Dawson continued to press Hopkins against the ropes, unleashing combinations that didn't look to have any real effect on the champion. Hopkins did have one bright spot when he landed a stinging left jab that opened a fresh cut on Dawson that was parallel to the last one.
In the tenth, Dawson kept the pressure on in his own safe way and landed a hard uppercut that hurt Hopkins but as usual, Dawson didn't move in for the kill.
In what was a lackluster fight for viewing fans, Dawson was awarded the light heavyweight championship with the scores of 117-111 twice and a baffling score of 114-114.
"I got to give him credit. He's a future Hall of Famer" Dawson said during the post fight interview. "He's a hell of a fighter. He's a dirty fighter but if you can get through 12 rounds with him, you can get through anything" Dawson continued.
Hopkins left the ring before an interview could be conducted but spoke at the post fight presser. "What did he do to win that fight?" Hopkins questioned."The only way I knew I would win is if I knocked him out. Let the public judge for themselves." Hopkins also added that the "political odds" were against him.
Mumblings of this possibly being Hopkins' last fight were heard throughout the build-up to this event. If this is truly it for the old man, here's a toast to you Bernard Hopkins. It's been a wild ride and I've enjoyed every second of it.
Photo Credit: AP