Hopkins became the oldest world champion in boxing history when he defeated Jean Pascal this past May (Photo courtesy of Golden Boy Boxing).
Light Heavyweight Champion to Meet Chad Dawson on Saturday Night
WBC and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight Champion Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2, 34 KOs) will look to add to one of the most prolific boxing resumes ever this Saturday when the Philadelphia native takes on Chad Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Hopkins enters this title defense as the oldest world champion in the history of the sport, and the 46-year-old fighter says he has the proper game plan to add to his legacy this weekend.
"I'm coming in there with an aggressive game, but a smart game,” he stated. “If people think that the last two fights of my career were the old Bernard Hopkins from the Blue Horizon to Atlantic City days in the early 90's, then I'm saying that they should watch this fight.”
The last two bouts for Hopkins were a pair against former champion Jean Pascal, arguably both wins but officially logged onto his record as a draw and one victory. However, the win came in the second fight, which ended in his leaving Montreal with the belt around his waist. This Saturday, Hopkins anticipates the same result.
“I'm looking for Chad to be on his best, and I'm looking for him to him to try to prove that he has a personality inside the ring,” Hopkins said of his opposition. “That he can fight all rounds with energy and spirit, and that makes a good fight because I'm a good dancer. But if I got a bad partner, we're going to be stepping on each other's feet, and that isn't going to look good.”
When asked of how he plans to slow the ageless Hopkins, Dawson stated that he planned to throw a heavy amount of punches, something the champion says he is fully prepared to counter.
"Well, Chad Dawson said something that made sense,” Hopkins commented. “He's going to be throwing a lot of punches, but I'm going to be connecting a lot of punches. He's going to throw all the punches he wants, but I'm going to be connecting more than he is throwing.”
Hopkins, who once defended a world title in the middleweight division for a record 20 times, was also the first fighter to successfully defend all four world titles from the four major sanctioning bodies in boxing. His run as middleweight champion ended after suffering the only two back-to-back defeats of his career in 2005 to Jermain Taylor, and the then 41-year-old Hopkins decided to move up to the light heavyweight division rather than retire from the sport. In his first bout in the new weight class, he scored a wide unanimous decision over Antonio Tarver to capture the Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight Championship. He successfully defended the belt by defeating Winky Wright in his next outing but lost it after a controversial split decision defeat to Joe Calzaghe. Hopkins has since gone unbeaten in his previous five bouts, securing the WBC and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight Titles when he handed Pascal his first professional blemish last May.
On the opposite side of the ring this Saturday stands Dawson, who feels he has been underestimated by many who have voiced their opinions on this fight.
“I'm here to prove everybody wrong,” he remarked. “The critics have been doubting me for years. They've been throwing me off saying I'm not worthy of this, or I'm not worthy of that. But on October 15th, I will prove to everybody that I'm the best light heavyweight in the world still. And Bernard can't touch me. He won't touch me, and I'm going to prove that.
The Hopkins-Dawson title bout will be accompanied by a loaded undercard on Saturday, with many other stars of the sport being on display. Antonio DeMarco will face Jorge Linares for the vacant WBC Lightweight Championship, while Kendall Holt and Danny Garcia will battle for the NABO Junior Welterweight Title. Paulie Malignaggi will also return to the ring on the card when he takes on Orlando Lora in welterweight action, while 52-year-old Dewey Bozella will make his professional debut after overcoming a 26-year false imprisonment for a crime he did not commit.