This weekend, at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, Bernard Hopkins puts his WBC Light Heavyweight title on the line against Chad Dawson. It is a rematch, and since the first meeting between the two ended in some controversy, a heated return match is expected. Though a rematch, it is really the first time the two men meet, because after an uneventful first round the first time out, the fight ended in the second round. Dawson slipped a Hopkins punch, and wound up with Hopkins hanging over him. Dawson picked up Hopkins and slammed him to the canvas, where Hopkins hurt his shoulder. The rematch was ordered by the WBC when the results were changed from a win for Dawson to a No Contest.
So what is going to happen this time around? Chad Dawson is coming in as much as a 4-1 favorite, which means that there may be some value in Hopkins as an underdog.
Hopkins, at 47 years old, is a Hall of Fame lock and one of the top fighters of the last two decades. He has a draw and a win over Jean Pascal, the only man to beat Dawson, and despite the fact that he is fighting a man close to 20 years younger than him, you can look for Hopkins to make a fight out of it.
Against Pascal, Hopkins fought two close fights, but he used his ring experience and saavy to pull the win out the second time around to become the oldest World Champion (supplanting George Foreman). Few can forget the taunting and the accusation of steroid use that Pascal mounted before the 2nd fight. Hopkins just used it as motivation.
Same thing could happen here – the slam and the indignity surrounding the ugly finish the first time out can certainly be used as a motivation by the savvy Hopkins. Look for Hopkins to dip into his well of experience and to box with Dawson, looking to extend the fight and frustrate the younger fighter.
Not sure I would pick Hopkins straight up, but with that type of comeback (up to +380 in some places) you have to take a look at the old dog.