Chad Dawson may not have gained any new fans with his win tonight over legendary light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins, but he also may have retired a Hall of Famer at age 47, as the 29-year-old Dawson captured the true championship of the world as well as the WBC title belt with a majority decision win on scores of 117-111, 117-111, and 114-114. Bad Left Hook scored it 117-112 for Dawson.
Dawson (31-1, 17 KO) was simply the better of two men who surely impressed nobody this evening. Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KO) just had nothing in the tank offensively, and his better moments were mostly headbutts. He managed to sneak in a few good shots over the fight, but for the most part this looked nothing like the real Bernard Hopkins, and every bit like a 47-year-old man who can still fight a little bit, but isn't able to keep up a watchable pace.
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The fight started in mind-numbingly dull fashion, but by the middle-to-later rounds had picked up enough "action" to go from terrible to bad. It was in no way a good fight, with very little by way of cleaned punching or sustained rhythm. Hopkins never established much of anything, in fact, and finding six rounds to give to him, as judge Luis Rivera did, seems near impossible to me.
After the bout, Hopkins complained about the decision, according to HBO's Jim Lampley, and left the ring with no post-fight interview. I'll say it plainly: Bernard Hopkins had no argument for winning this fight. Chad Dawson won this fight. There should be zero controversy.
Dawson did speak with HBO's Max Kellerman, and seemed almost relieved to be done fighting a guy he clearly hates being in the ring with. Late in the fight, Hopkins hit the canvas (earlier he had pulled an alarming stumble across the ring to the ropes) on a bit of a flop, and then followed that by tackling Dawson to the mat. This not being "the MMA," I felt referee Eddie Cotton really should have taken a point. But he didn't, and that was the end of the tussling.
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Dawson gave credit to Hopkins' legendary status, but couldn't stop himself from being honest about Hopkins using his head and other dirty tactics.
"I feel good. I took a lot of headbutts," said Dawson. "He's a great fighter, he's going down in the Hall of Fame. Now's my time to step my game up another notch. I give all credit to Bernard, he fought a hell of a fight. He's a dirty fighter, man, but if you get through that, you can get through anything."
He added that he felt Hopkins definitely headbutted on purpose, which left cuts near both of Dawson's eyes.
"I kept my composure. I didn't do anything back to retaliate. But it was obvious that he was headbutting on purpose."
The reality is that the world now has a light heavyweight champion who isn't exciting to watch, doesn't have much of a fanbase, and unlike Hopkins, can't pick up fan interest because of his incredible story. Dawson isn't a 47-year-old world champion continually outfoxing younger guys. He's just a 29-year-old fighter in his prime with obvious flaws, a somewhat tedious fighting style, and a lack of personality.
Dawson called out super middleweight champion Andre Ward after the fight. If Dawson hated fighting Hopkins, Ward could eat him alive. Ward has a lot of Hopkins' more annoying qualities, but is also quick of hand and is a better overall fighter than Bernard has been for the last three years or so.
We'll have more on Dawson and Hopkins tomorrow morning, including whether or not this could be it for Bernard Hopkins, and where Dawson may go from here. Thank you for joining us this evening.