The ageless Bernard Hopkins went down in defeat this past week to Chad Dawson in a celebrated rematch. The 47-year-old Hopkins had already set a world record for oldest belt-holder last year, but it was clear to most onlookers on Saturday night that he was hardly a threat to Dawson and lost a 12 round majority decision. As a result of the victory, Dawson won the WBC light heavyweight title.
The 29-year-old Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs) took the rematch at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey without the controversy and professional wrestling feel of their first bout six months ago. Dawson had his TKO victory over Hopkins overturned and the decision was ruled a no-contest and the belt returned to the Muslim fighter from Philadelphia. Dawson lifted Hopkins and tossed him to the canvas in that one.
Hopkins (52-6-2) may have fought his last fight, though it seems impossible to count him out for one more bout as he pushes 50. â€œI believe thereâ€™s a lot of people out there that wonâ€™t fight me,â€ Hopkins said. â€œIt all depends on the motivation.â€ This time, Dawson was the victim of at least one accidental head-butt that busted open a cut near his left eye. No fighter has ever knocked out Hopkins and Dawson never came close.
â€œMy head is hurting from all the head-butts,â€ Dawson said. â€œIâ€™ve got to give him a lot of credit. Heâ€™s a future Hall of Famer, heâ€™s a hell of a fighter. But heâ€™s a dirty fighter. But if you can get through 12 rounds with him, you can get through anything.â€
Hopkins will likely return to Philadelphia and consider his options. Hopkins held his own against the younger, more talented fighter, but was never a serious threat to retain. Hopkins said he will decide his future on his own terms after talking with friends and promoters. â€œI could be a mentor in the game if I choose to go out that way,â€ he said. Hopkins looked like he wanted to keep going after the 12th round. While Dawsonâ€™s face was battered and bloodied, Hopkinsâ€™ mug wasnâ€™t much more than swollen. He stood on the ring apron after the bout and barked at the crowd, â€œLook at my face!â€ Dawson could have told him to look at the scorecard. Two judges scored it 117-111 and a third scored it 114-114. â€œI did what I came to do,â€ Chad said. â€œI got my belt back.â€
Hopkins was visibly angry when the decision was announced and quickly headed toward the locker room. â€œWhat did he do to win that fight?â€ Hopkins said. â€œThe only way I knew I would win is if I knocked him out. Let the public judge for themselves.â€ â€œI didnâ€™t see him get tired not once the whole fight,â€ Dawson said. â€œHe looked alive the whole fight.â€ But he ultimately came to grips with the defeat. Dawson held the WBC and IBF versions of the light heavyweight title before. â€œLet the man enjoy his championship,â€ Hopkins said of Dawson. â€œHopefully he can defend it for a long time the way I defended mine.â€ Something tells me this wonâ€™t be the last we will hear from brother Bernard.