On BoxingScene.com's Boxing Lab radio show, new light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson tore into 46-year-old Bernard Hopkins for the way their fight ended last Saturday, claiming that Hopkins wanted no part of an aggressive Dawson and that he was looking for a way out:
"That was a totally different Chad Dawson you saw that night. Hopkins was running. How long were that old man's legs going to hold up? That dude is so little. He is a little baby. He is fragile. He would've got hurt and he knows it. I would've went in and finished. I chased him for three years. He knows he didn't want to fight me. That was a bitch move on his part."
Frankly I don't think there was enough time to tell much of anything about Hopkins' mental state, and I buy the injury completely, even given Bernard's past theatrics against (as mentioned by Dawson and others) Roy Jones Jr and Joe Calzaghe in recent fights.
But more interestingly, I think Dawson is kind of right about Hopkins physically. The two of them next to each other were quite a contrast, and "Bad" Chad did make Bernard look like a very small light heavyweight, not just a small light heavyweight, which he is. Again, the fight didn't go long enough for me to figure out where it was going, and neither of them did enough for me to suspect Dawson would have overwhelmed Hopkins over time, but I do think it's possible. No matter what Hopkins does at his age, boxing is and will always be a younger man's game, at least men younger than 46. A bigger, physically stronger, talented, and younger light heavyweight should, in theory, have the advantage over Hopkins.
But we won't know unless they rematch. Not for sure, anyway. Bernard has looked iffy starting fights before and come back to put on clinics, as he did in the December 2010 fight with Jean Pascal.
I don't know if Dawson's in-ring style has changed much, but he sure is talking a lot more, and expressing a lot of rage. Really, that's not a bad thing. He was so vanilla before that it contributed greatly to his inability to attract fans. Maybe barking will help. It can't hurt.