By Chris Murray
For the Sunday Sun and the Chris Murray Report
ABOVE PHOTO: Bernard Hopkins battles for his belt against younger challenger “Bad” Chad Dawson. But he lost that battle to a majority decision last weekend in favor of Dawson.
ATLANTIC CITY—Coming into his fight last Saturday against Chad Dawson, 47-year-old Bernard Hopkins boldly declared that he was better than the fighters of this current generation.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t better than the 29-year-old Dawson last weekend. It wasn’t even close, prompting many reporters sitting at ringside to say it’s time for Hopkins to retire from the ring.
On the scorecards, Dawson won a majority decision to win the World Boxing Council light heavyweight title.. Two of the three judges—Richard Flaherty and Steven Weisfeld had the fight 117-111. Judge Luis Rivera actually scored the fight even, which led many ring observers to wondering what fight he was watching. The Chris Murray Report scored the fight 118-110.
The much younger Dawson consistently beat Hopkins to the punch. It was a night when Hopkins truly looked like a 40-something fighter whose reflexes simply couldn’t keep up with a younger faster fighter. He didn’t consistently put his punches together and was always on the defensive. There were moments where he threw some decent punches, but for the most part, all Hopkins did in this fight was wrestle and grab.
“He can’t mount an offensive attack, he can’t put three and four punches together because he loses balance,” said legendary trainer and HBO boxing analyst Emmanuel Steward. “He gets one shot and his balance is gone.”
CompuBox numbers also suggested the fight was one-sided in Dawson favor as well. The Connecticut native connected on 151 punches to Hopkins 106. Dawson also had a higher connect percentage at 35 percent while Hopkins hitting on 26 percent of his blows.
After this fight, most veteran ring observers said Hopkins dismal perforrmance in this fight means that it might be time for the North Philly native to finally hang up the gloves for good.
“In Bernard’s case, it shouldn’t be hard because he’s got the money and he’s had a lot of hurrahs, but a lot of it’s ego,” Steward said. “I think Bernard should quit and this was not an embarrassing loss. This is the last one after that it’s going to be down. I can’t see him beating all of those guys out there. It’s amazing he’s never been cut up, never been beaten up. It’s amazing what he’s accomplished, but he should quit.”
At the post-fight press conference, Hopkins said that he was going to examine his options. On one hand, he said there are good fights out there for him and there are some good young up and coming fighters he would like to mentor to young and upcoming fighters through his work with Golden Boy Promotions.
“I don’t feel like I embarrassed myself, I don’t feel like, ‘wow that guy really looked old last night. Y’all seen a 47-year-old fight his a– off with a young strong worthy champion and so we’ll see what it is,” Hopkins said. “But right now, I feel good. Do I feel like I’ve been in a fight? Yes, I’m 47 my other shoulder is aching and I’m going to rest up and take care of myself.
“At the end of the day, it has to be something that’s going to be motivational or moving to me. Right now I can’t tell your either or. I’m proud of everything I’ve done.”
Hopkins gave Dawson credit for his victory in the ring over him and made it clear that he was not going to change his mind later or claim that the judges made a bad decision.
“At the end of the day, you have opinions of scorecards and if it goes the distance you have a panel, you threw this many punches and I’m voting this way or that way,” Hopkins said. “I’m not here to say that I got robbed, I’m not here to say I should have won …You won’t hear me say in any newspaper or magazine anything different than I said at this press conference…I’m going to let [Dawson] and his family enjoy this championship.”
Even with folks calling for Hopkins retirement, Dawson said it was one of the toughest fights of his career. He said Hopkins had the energy of a younger fighter and actually helped to raise his game to another level.
“It was difficult, it was definitely difficult keeping my composure,” Dawson said. “He’s a very, very intelligent fighter in the ring. I think he can beat any other young fighter because he’s intelligent, he knows the ring, he knows when to punch. He doesn’t waste any energy in the ring.”