By Joseph Santoliquito
New York City (CBS) — It was one of those rare occasions. Something you have to blink twice to assure your eyes that what you indeed saw was true. Bernard Hopkins prides himself on being unconventional. For a brief moment there on Tuesday, the future Hall of Famer and WBC light heavyweight world champion was unconventional even to Bernard Hopkins.
The Philadelphia great actually walked away from a podium in New York City to announce the April 28th rematch with Chad Dawson at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Hopkins made a brief comment, “Everything that has to be said, has been said,” then wearing his brown jeff cap tugged tight over his glaring eyes and walked away from the microphone.
How often has that happened?
How about never.
Last October, the first Hopkins-Dawson fight ended in a controversial no-contest when Dawson picked up Hopkins in the second round and dropped him to the canvas. Hopkins got up claiming his shoulder was injured and he couldn’t continue. Some questioned Hopkins’ veracity, some didn’t.
One thing was for sure, Hopkins wasn’t about to rehash it.
“Boxing is 99-percent mental, and Chad Dawson is not mentally tough,” Hopkins said. “It doesn’t mean he doesn’t have talent, and he doesn’t mean he doesn’t have heart, but how do you have confidence if you don’t think you can handle the last seven or eight rounds of a fight. He missed me the first round-and-a-half, and his misses made him frustrated. It made him dangerous, dangerous to you, and dangerous to himself. It showed the frustration in his in character.
“If you have the ability to exploit that, I have displayed that ability to do something he can’t fix. Right now, Chad Dawson is a reckless guy mentally and I have to exploit that. He’s an easy guy to bring that out of him. His anger will want him to take more chances, and an angry man doesn’t think, and they’re emotional. When you’re emotional you don’t think. This is the fight that counts, not past fights. Bernard Hopkins continues to display things people don’t understand. If it’s implied I get into his head, and what I have to do to is show that I don’t have to talk to win a fight; you win fights by fighting. Why waste time with the BS of what happened in the previous fight.”
Dawson, from New Haven, Connecticut, is a little tired of the 47-year-old legend running his mouth—and to some extent, Dawson feels, running away from him.
“Wait and see, he’ll come up with some excuse not to fight April 28, wait and see,” Dawson said. “When Bernard Hopkins pulled the stunt he pulled the last time we fought, people run around and say this guy is a legend, but legends don’t go around acting the way this guy does, and say things the way this guy says. All I want is a fight, and that’s all I’m going to say. I would have dethroned Hopkins that night. I should have been the champion.
“There’s no acting in boxing. He acted last time. He wasn’t hurt. Someone from Hopkins’ team came up to me after the fight and said we have to make this fight again, come on’ we have to make some money, because this could be Bernard’s last fight. They want to act and use scripts and everything. I don’t do that. After I beat him,
I’ll shake his hand and tell him he had a nice run. Before our first fight, I did look up to him, I don’t now. After we fought, he cried like a little baby and legends don’t do that. Would Archie Moore fake an injury like that? Hopkins didn’t even get up and try to fight.”
So the question will hover until April 28: can Hopkins quell another young contender who grew up watching him fight?