Hopkins-Dawson: Does Bernard finish on his feet this time?

By Rob Smith: The only question I have about the April 28th rematch between WBC light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOís) and Chad Dawson (30-1, 17 KOís) is whether Hopkins will finish on his feet or go out on the canvas clutching an injured limp. Iím hoping Hopkins finishes the fight on his feet like a warrior, but I have a sinking suspicion that there will be some kind of physical breakdown for the 47-year-old Hopkins. I donít expect Hopkins to win this fight.

Dawson has too much speed and youth for the old Hopkins to beat time. Bernard did a great job of neutralizing four-round fighter Jean Pascal last year, but in facing Dawson, Hopkins has met his match. Things are going to go really badly for Hopkins in his HBO televised rematch with Dawson later this month on April 28th. Hopkins didnít look good against Dawson last October in a fight where Hopkins was being pursued all over the ring and taking hits. He did a lot of clinching in the fight and then in the 2nd, Hopkins missed a punch and ended up on Dawsonís back.

Dawson threw Hopkins off, and thatís where Hopkins injured his shoulder during the fall to the canvas. It looked like a pretty simple fall, but Hopkins must have landed wrong because he immediately sat up clutching his left shoulder, grimacing in pain. The injured ruined the fight and the result was later ruled a no contest after it was initially called a 2nd round knockout.

Hopkins will have to come up with a better plan for the rematch than he had last time, because it wasnít working whatever he was trying to do. Hopkins only has so many things he can do against a fighter like Dawson. He canít out-slug him because Hopkins hasnít knocked anyone out since 2004. He canít out-box Dawson, because he doesnít have the reach or the hand speed to compete with Dawson in a boxing match. Hopkins canít run from Dawson, because heís too good at cutting off the ring.

The only thing I can see Hopkins doing is using his clinching and wrestling to try and muddy up the fight to where Dawson isnít able to throw more than 10 punches per round. The judges could do the rest, giving it to the more popular Hopkins. It wouldnít matter that Hopkins was holding and smothering Dawson; I can still see Hopkins getting the decision by the judges. For Dawson to prevent this kind of tactic from working, he has to keep moving to keep Hopkins from grabbing him.

Article posted on 08.04.2012

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