Dawson to Hopkins: I Know You’ll Keep Your Word; Arreola vs. Releford, Harris vs. Thompson on Friday

Former World Boxing Council (WBC) Light Heavyweight Champion “Bad” Chad Dawson wishes to congratulate Bernard Hopkins for his record-breaking victory last Saturday night against Jean Pascal. With his unanimous decision, Hopkins became the oldest fighter to ever win a world title.

Hopkins is now obligated to face Dawson in his first defense because it was Dawson who stepped aside to allow a rematch of the controversial Pascal-Hopkins draw first, in exchange for an appearance on the show’s undercard bout and the right to face the winner.

Dawson defeated fellow former champ Adrian Diaconu in the main supporting bout that night, keeping his end of the bargain he struck with the main event fighters’ camps.

Unfortunately, one of the first messages to come from new champion Hopkins’ camp came when promoter Richard Schaefer told ESPN he would “look for contract loopholes” that would allow Hopkins to fight someone other than Dawson.

“Bernard, I’m sure you would agree I allowed your fight to happen. You said at the press conference I was next. I know that besides being a great champion, you’re also a person of your word, so I look forward to facing you later this year,” said Dawson.

Dawson’s promoter, Gary Shaw of Gary Shaw Productions, echoes Dawson’s sentiments. “Bernard, congratulations on the wave of good will you are currently riding. You deserve it. I know you’ll do the right thing and keep your word against Chad. We are looking forward to a terrific fight.”

Former Heavyweight Challengers Co-Featured on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights; Light Heavyweight Champion Bernard Hopkins Joins Ryan Burr as Special Guest in Studio

ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra, will originate from Reno, Nev. May 27 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2 when Ring Magazines No. 10-ranked heavyweight Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola (31-2, 27 KOs, WBC #2, IBF #5, WBO #13, WBA #15) and former heavyweight world title challenger Tony “The Tiger” Thompson (35-2, 23 KO’s, IBF #7) are featured in co-main events. Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will be ringside at the Reno Events Center describing the action. Friday’s show will also feature Ring Magazine’s new light heavyweight champion and future hall of famer Bernard Hopkins in studio with host Ryan Burr. Hopkins, age 46, became the oldest fighter ever to win a significant title (besting George Foreman who beat Michael Moorer for the heavyweight title at age 45) with a unanimous decision over Jean Pascal this past Saturday. The card is presented by Goossen Tutor Promotions.

Reno has a long and illustrious boxing history dating back to July 4, 1910 with the Jeffries-Johnson World Championship bout and many great champions such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Hector Camacho, Alexis Arguello and James Toney have all displayed their talents in front of the knowledgeable Reno fight fans.

“We are happy to be back in Reno with the FNF series. It is a city that consistently draws energetic and enthusiastic fans,” said Doug Loughrey, Programming Director for ESPN.

This Friday California’s Arreola will meet Kendrick “The Apostle” Releford (22-14-2, 10 KOs). Arreola has won his last three fights, including a third-round knockout over Nagy Aguilera in his last fight earlier this month. After the Aguilera bout, ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael wrote, “Arreola took it to Aguilera from the outset. He showed good hand speed and forced Aguilera to the ropes in the first round and unloaded a variety of punches. Arreola did more of the same in the second round. Aguilera ate numerous punches and it was surprising that he made it through the second round. In the third round, Arreola trapped him along the ropes early and was painting him with lefts and rights, but Aguilera somehow managed to remain upright. Aguilera survived that onslaught, but not for long. After a brief lull, Arreola was back to battering him repeatedly with vicious head shots from both hands until the referee jumped in to call it off at 1 minute, 58 seconds of the third round.”

Washington D.C.’s Thompson will meet Newark, New Jersey’s Maurice “Sugar Mo” Harris (24-14-2, 10 KOs, IBF #6) in a 12-round IBF heavyweight title elimination bout. Thompson has won four fights in a row, since his unsuccessful world title challenge against Wladimir Klitschko, including a fourth-round TKO over Paul Marinaccio in his last fight.

Thompson said of Friday’s Fight, “I’ve been training for this fight for about eight weeks. Mainly, I just want to keep a lot of pressure on Harris. You know, he’s been knocked out a few times. He had some head problems or something – that’s why he took time off. I want to give him reasons to remember that.”

Maurice Harris riding high going into Friday night’s rematch against Tony Thompson

NEW YORK (May 24, 2011) – The long, strange trip Maurice “Sugar Moe” Harris has taken during his often tumultuous 18-year pro career is close to reaching its ultimate zenith as the USBA heavyweight champion makes final preparations for this week’s rematch against former world title challenger Tony “The Tiger” Thompson,” live on ESPN Friday Night Fights from Reno Events Center in Nevada.

The IBF No. 6 Harris (24-14-2, 10 KOs) versus No. 7 Thompson (35-2, 23 KOs) battle is a scheduled 12-round, International Boxing Federation (“IBF”) Box-Off with the winner moving up to No. 2 in the IBF ratings, and earning an IBF Title Eliminator match against the other IBF Box-Off winner, top rated “Fast” Eddie Chambers (36-2, 18 KOs), who defeated Derric Rossey this past February by way of a 12-round unanimous decision. The winner of the fight between Chambers and Harris/Thompson will determine the IBF mandatory challenger for world champion Wladimir Klitschko (or David Haye if he wins their July 2nd unification fight).

“I try not to think too far ahead and to stay focused on the task at hand,” Harris spoke about not letting possible fights in the future being a distraction from his mission. “I hear that I’m only two fights away, but I’m not focused on fighting Eddie Chambers because I’m fighting Tony Thompson. I take it one fight at a time. If I don’t focus on Tony Thompson there won’t be an Eddie Chambers fight for me.

“I’ve always had it inside of me. I’ve worked too hard to get here and I’m not turning back now. I have done everything possible to get ready for this fight. Usually, when I do that, good things happen. This is my job. I don’t have a social life. Once in a while I may go to the movies with my wife or to Chuck E. Cheese with my kids, but boxing is all I really do. I’m going with my promoter’s logo: Boxing 360 and that’s all I do.”

A decade ago, Harris defeated Thompson by decision in the final of the “Thunderbox Heavyweight Tournament. “Things change,” Maurice commented. “I didn’t know Thompson then and I don’t know him now. I’m not going back nine years to that fight. This fight is now and that’s what counts. I know I’m a better fighter because with age comes wisdom. He’s gotten experience and fought in some big fights. I’ve been on my journey and he’s been on his. I’m ready. It’s going to be an interesting night.”

The 35-year-old Harris has beaten some of the best heavyweights, including former world champion Sergei Liakhovich and world title challenger Jeremy Williams, but he’s also lost to journeymen and no-name opponents. The reborn-Harris, however, has won four fights in a row since signing a promotional contract with Boxing 360.

“In the past I was just going along for the ride,” Harris added. “I wasn’t focused like I am now. I never thought it would come to this (two fights away from a world title shot). It all came unexpectedly but I always knew that I could beat the major players. Hey, I won’t be satisfied with a win Friday night because it isn’t my ultimate goal.”

Other members of Boxing 360’s stable include WBC #3 super bantamweight Leon “Hurry Up” Moore, former IBF super middleweight champion Alejandro “Naco” Berrio, NY State champions, middleweight Lennox “2 Sharpe” Allen and welterweight Danny Sostre, KO king Tyrone Brunson, Nick “Hands of Gold” Casal, Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano, middleweight prospect DonYil Livingston, Joshua “The Juice” Harris, Emad Ali, Mike Mollo, “King” David Estrada and Angel “Toro” Hernandez.

Go to www.Boxing360.com for more information about Harris, Boxing 360 or any of its other fighters.

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Boxing News Dawson to Hopkins: I Know You’ll Keep Your Word; Arreola vs. Releford, Harris vs. Thompson on Friday