Dan Rafael of ESPN.com reports that Richard Schaefer and Gary Shaw have been at work on a fall fight between Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson since Wednesday, and that the deal is "basically done," with the promoters hoping to have a firm date and venue soon.
Here's what Shaw said:
"We said we would both get on the phone with HBO on Monday and try to lock in a date. We basically have our deal done. We agreed to a split (of the revenue) and we agreed to a deal in concept."
And Schaefer added possible locations, of which (according to him) there are plenty:
"I got a call from Las Vegas and they are interested. I had lunch with the people from the Staples Center and they are interested as well," Schaefer said. "I have talked to (Pascal promoter) Yvon Michel about going back to Canada. Atlantic City is interested as well. There is a tremendous buzz about Bernard Hopkins after he did what he did. The big rating HBO did means millions of people saw Bernard in one of his best performances. People want to see Bernard back."
How long this "tremendous buzz" about Bernard Hopkins lasts is anyone's guess, but frankly speaking, it's probably not going to be that great for a Hopkins vs Dawson fight. I mentioned after his win that I often forget about how great Hopkins is between fights; I think that is kind of what winds up happening here. This fight will struggle to sell a house just about anywhere in the U.S., and as much as it might hurt pride, Montreal is probably where the bout belongs. They turn out for fighters with whom they are familiar, whether they're Canadian (or based in Canada) or not. It's a great fight crowd. And with the Pascal win, Hopkins is now a legitimate star there.
Add in the fact that you could put a Jean Pascal comeback in the co-feature, and you've got a big crowd with HBO backing, instead of just HBO backing plus a Vegas site fee. Recent trips to Vegas for both Hopkins and Dawson have not been kind to say the least. Hopkins' fight with Roy Jones Jr last year drew very little, a reported 6,792. Even more alarming, Dawson's two fights with Antonio Tarver in 2008 and 2009 were tremendous duds -- the first fight sold all of 991 tickets, while the rematch did just 1,426 paid.
But for all the notes against the fight, it just feels like the right fight to make. Hopkins would be facing a southpaw fighter who has real talent; the only question about Dawson is whether or not he can mentally handle someone like Hopkins. And with Pascal, they're the two best fighters in the division. It might not be a "big fight," but it's as big as Hopkins is going to do next, and like he and Schaefer have said, Dawson is owed the fight. He and Shaw stepped aside to allow Hopkins his rematch with Pascal, which they didn't really have to do.