There's no shame in losing to a talent young fighter like Chad Dawson, especially when you're one of the greatest boxers of all time and a first ballot hall of famer. Bernard Hopkins made several statements inside the ring through his storied career but last night the statement made in the ring at the Boardwalk Hall was made by the man in the opposite corner. Dawson had a lot more to prove than Hopkins and though many dismiss his performance against a 47 year old one must take into consideration Bernard's own words during the "Face off" feature last year in run up to his rematch with former champion Jean Pascal: "It's hard to look good against me". He's right, it's hard to look good against a guy who uses his ring savvy and old school defense as survival tactics. I'm not criticizing Bernard because those are the facts. Defensive fighters are very hard to look good against because they don't give away much in terms of opportunities. When you have two defensive boxers in the ring at the same time it makes for a rather dull and completely unimpressive affair. Saturday's rematch was every bit as predictably unpredictable as we've come to expect from a fight involving Bernard Hopkins.
He knows how to survive because he's been surviving his whole life. He's not the most naturally talented fighter but he's one of the most intelligent and I think despite losing on Saturday night there are some good albeit limited options left for the Executioner.
Nathan Cleverly WBO Light Heavyweight "champion?"
As Scott Christ wrote in his article Golden boy is still interested in making this fight between the legend Hopkins and the unproven and undeserving WBO belt holder, Frank Warren and Boxnation poster boy Nathan Cleverly. What would it prove for Hopkins to school a young fraudulent champion like Cleverly? This fight in itself would be fraudulent because Hopkins no longer has a title and one would assume Clev would fight the winner of the Dawson/Hopkins rematch in a unification bout; you know like the one he wanted so bad before he learned the result of last Saturday's fight in Atlantic City.
The Winner of Lucian Bute/Carl Froch
After he beat Jean Pascal in their rematch Hopkins expressed an interest in fighting IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute. At this stage in his career I think fighting the winner of Bute/Froch would be a pretty good "send off" bout for Bernard Hopkins. And personally I think it's the best option for him because either winner of Bute/Froch brings more credibility to the table than a fight with Nathan Cleverly or Tavoris Cloud. I said Carl Froch might have been the most overrated fighter of 2011 but I can't question his resume throughout. He's beaten some top names and was beaten by the best super middleweight in the world.
The Winner of Tavoris Cloud/Jean Pascal
The only way I see this happening is if Tavoris Cloud beats Jean Pascal. Even if he doesn't I think Pascal is the number two option for Chad Dawson provided the fight between Chad and Andre Ward can't be made. No one wants to see Hopkins/Pascal III even though Pascal wanted a third fight after their rematch in May of last year.
I think a fight with Tavoris Cloud, should he beat Pascal would be the most entertaining and I think could get really personal during the buildup. Both Cloud and Hopkins are brash, "tell it like I see it" trash talkers who would have no problem finding reasons not to like each other.
If Carl Froch beats Lucian Bute I think a fight between he and Hopkins would also make for some interesting and entertaining banter between the two. We know Froch is never at a loss for words and Hopkins could reuse his "I'm gonna kick his British a@$" quote. It's a tricky fight for Bernard because Froch, although not the most technically sound, he's very awkward and likes to keep a steady pace. If it happens in the UK then Hopkins might want to rethink his tendency to just bite round after round.
So what do you guys think? There are other names and champions out there:
Robert Stieglitz ( Hard to imagine Bernard fighting a minimal name fighter in his backyard where foreigner challengers have found themselves on the losing end of some bogus judge score cards)
Andre Dirrell (No belt, no reason)
Retirement (The most likely decision whether he fights one last time or not)
Andre Ward (Both Ward and Dan Goosen said Hopkins is on their radar, although Bernard said he would never fight Andre Ward.)