Chad Dawson and promoter Gary Shaw plan to hold newly crowned WBC light-heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins to his contractual obligation to face Dawson in his first title defense.
Hopkins won the belt last Saturday (May 21) in an impressive unanimous decision over Jean Pascal. The bout was a WBC-mandated rematch to their controversially-ruled draw last December. Dawson, who is the #1 contender for the belt after losing the title to Jean Pascal last August, agreed to step aside to allow the Pasal-Hopkins rematch to happen with the understanding he would face the winner.
That was confirmed by Dawson’s opening billing on last week’s card, where he scored a decision win over Adrian Diaconu. However, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer advised media that due to Dawson’s less than stellar performance and lack of box office appeal, he would explore “contract loopholes” that would allow Hopkins to face another opponent.
Ignoring Schaefer’s public slight, Gary Shaw remains confident and diplomatic that Hopkins will honor his contractual promise to face Dawson. In recent years, Hopkins had turned down HBO’s attempts to make the fight, referring to Dawson derisively in interviews as a “failed stock.”
“Bernard, congratulations on the wave of good will you are currently riding,” Shaw said. “You deserve it. I know you’ll do the right thing and keep your word against Chad. We are looking forward to a terrific fight.”
At last week’s post-fight press conference, Hopkins was quoted as stating Dawson and super-middleweight titlist Lucian Bute were the ideal choices for his next fight. It’s those words that Dawson referenced in a statement released today regarding his desire to face the Executioner by the end of 2011.
“Bernard, I’m sure you would agree I allowed your fight to happen. You said at the press conference I was next,” Dawson recalled. “I know that besides being a great champion, you’re also a person of your word, so I look forward to facing you later this year.”
Bernard Hopkins disclosed on Twitter last night (May 24) that he will make a big announcement on his future via ESPN’s Friday Night Fights (May 27).