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April 18, 2012

By John McCormick

In boxing, a rematch is a symbol of unanswered questions. More often than not, if two fighters sign up for seconds of a fistic confrontation it usually confirms that their first encounter was a product of bad officiating, poor judging, a champion or undefeated fighter losing, or of course a premature ending. In the case of Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson, both men will be entering the ring for a second time against each other due to the latter. The two light heavyweights first met in October last year and left boxing fans in disgust due to its hefty pay-per-view price tag and premature ending.

In the second round, Hopkins was shoved to the floor by Dawson. As a result of the fall, Hopkins injured his shoulder and was unable to continue. Luckily for us, the rematch will not be on pay-per-view, but will be broadcasted live on HBO. Heading into the rematch, all of the questions and mystique that surrounded the first fight are still present. Is this the fight that Hopkins’ age will finally catch up with him? Or Will Hopkins continue his Dorian Gray, age defying ways and defeat another, much-younger fighter.

While their first fight was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA the rematch will be held at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ; a venue that Hopkins is currently 6-1 at. His only loss being his first professional fight back in 1989. “I took this fight because I'm a legend. Right now I want to beat Chad Dawson in one of the greatest places I've fought, It isn’t up to me where I go when I win” said Hopkins during a media conference call held Tuesday.

On the other hand, it seems as if every one of Hopkins’ opponents as of late are met with the burdensome expectation of scoring a knockout against a man who has not only never been stopped, but has seldom been hurt. Chad Dawson is no different. When asked if the best possible scenario for him would be to knock Hopkins out and end his career Dawson responded by saying "Knocking out Bernard Hopkins would be quite a statement, I can't say I'm going to look for it, but it would be great." Dawson also went on to say “I was the aggressor I was trying to get Bernard Hopkins to fight, I plan to use my speed and my youth to win. I admire everything Hopkins has done in the sport over the years and you can't take that away from him. I want to dethrone him.”

For his part, Hopkins still views himself as a big threat not only to Chad Dawson, but to all light heavyweights. “He's another person who will wind up on a list of so many young fighters I've beat, no one else is ruling boxing the way I do. Not Floyd Mayweather, not Manny Pacquiao, not Amir Khan, its Bernard Hopkins. The rules are different for Bernard Hopkins. I made them that way. Winning doesn't mean you might see me fight again. I know what I'm dealing with, so let’s play the game and let's see who plays it the best”

A foreshadowing of their upcoming rematch would be hard to come up with based on their first fight alone. Hopkins-Dawson I left a bad taste in many fans mouths on many different levels. However, now that the monthly HBO subscription fee is sufficient to gain access to the bout next Saturday, many more eyes will be on both Hopkins and Dawson as they meet for the second time. Will a drawn out version, minus the premature ending of their first fight be in store for us again? Will Hopkins put on a masterful clinic and add to his immense legacy? Or will Dawson finally live up to the potential that he always has had and put on the best performance of his career? The answers to those questions and many more shall be answered a week from this Saturday.

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