ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – Bernard Hopkins was competitive, but couldn’t deliver yet another upset victory over a much younger opponent as Chad Dawson out pointed him to win the WBC light-heavyweight title Saturday night (April 28) at Boardwalk Hall.
The early rounds were expectedly tactical with Hopkins finding sporadic success with lead right hands in rounds two and three. However, Dawson’s was able to keep Hopkins on the end of his jab in the first and pushed Hopkins back in the second and third stanzas with fast, hard hooks inside.
Hopkins continued his habit of rushing in head-first and opened a deep cut above Dawson’s left eye during the fourth. The injury made Dawson irate and he began stalking Hopkins around the ring. The Executioner taunted and baited his foe into a thudding straight right, creating one of the biggest shots of the night.
Dawson regained immediate control in the sixth. The challenger began the round with hard straight left. He followed up with a right hook. Hopkins landed a glancing 1-2 but looked overmatched as the stronger Dawson drove him into the ropes with sweeping left uppercuts.
The speed and length of Dawson’s southpaw straight left would become his main weapon in the remaining rounds. By the eighth, the punch was landing regularly through Hopkins’ defense. Hopkins resorted to prolonged clinching in the ninth and sneaky rights inside. A butt would produce another Dawson cut located above the right eye. Still, Dawson was the fighter consistent on offense with hard hooks inside.
Dawson stayed in control during the championship rounds. In the 10th he picked off Hopkins’ rushes with right hooks and straight lefts. While Hopkins did have a good 11th that saw him land three consecutive lead rights, Dawson would end the round strong with a succession of hooks that forced Hopkins to tackle him to the floor. Outside of a crafty Hopkins lead right in the 12th, Dawson did the majority of the punching in the 12th and closed with a solid left uppercut.
The tactical affair was awarded to Dawson via scores of 114-114 and 117-111 twice. Dawson lauded Hopkins exceptional conditioning, but also delivered criticism over the repeated headbutts.
“He’s a dirty fighter but if you can get through that you can get through anything,” said Dawson in his post-fight interview. “He’s a lot younger than people think. I’ll give him that… he’s a hell of a fighter.”
Dawson expressed interest in his next opponent being Super Six winner Andre Ward. Hopkins refused a post-fight interview but told assembled media that he felt he was again “robbed” of another signature victory.