Originally written on Boxing Watchers  |  Last updated 9/19/14


Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins

Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Resides: Hockessin, Delaware
Age: 47
Height: 6' 1"
Reach: 75"
Current World Titles Held: WBC, The Ring Light Heavyweight (175 lbs.)
Former World Titles Held: WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, The Ring Middleweight (160 lbs.)
Professional Record: 52-5-2 (2 NC), 32 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 23-3-2 (2 NC), 13 KOs
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 16-4-2

Notable Wins: UD12 Kelly Pavlik, KO9 Oscar De La Hoya, TKO12 Felix Trinidad
Notable Losses: Joe Calzaghe SD12, Jermain Taylor II UD12, Roy Jones Jr. UD12


"Bad" Chad Dawson

Birthplace: Hartsville, South Carolina
Resides: New Haven, Connecticut
Age: 29
Height: 6' 1"
Reach: 76 1/2"
Current World Titles Held: None
Former World Titles Held: WBC, IBF Light Heavyweight
Professional Record: 30-1 (2 NC), 17 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 6-1 (1 NC), 2 KOs
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 7-0

Notable Wins: UD12 Antonio Tarver, UD12 Glen Johnson, UD12 Tomasz Adamek
Notable Loss: Jean Pascal TD11



It's not uncommon in boxing for there to be plenty of bad blood between two top fighters leading up to a rematch. What makes the second meeting between Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson a little different is that the feeling of enmity hanging over it was built on less than two rounds of action and very few punches thrown.

The first bout last October ended in sudden and ultimately confusing fashion. Already looking frustrated with Hopkins' ability to muddy the flow of the fight, Dawson essentially lifted Hopkins off his feet and slammed him to the canvas. Referee Pat Russell did not rule it a foul, but Hopkins injured his shoulder and could not continue.

Both men ended up disgusted with what happened next. Hopkins was furious when the fight was initially awarded to Dawson - who in turn was angered when the decision was overturned and a rematch ordered, feeling his older foe was somehow exaggerating his injury.

Now 47, Hopkins is nearing the end of his Hall of Fame career but still plenty motivated when it comes to the rematch. He has unquestionably slowed a step or two, yet he remains a master craftsman in the ring, still one of the world's finest practitioners of the subtler aspects of boxing.

In Dawson, he may have the perfect foil. That's because the one thing that has always haunted the man Floyd Mayweather once called the best boxer on the planet (presumably excluding himself) is a lack of fire. Still not yet 30, he has plenty of time to build a legacy in the sport, but he needs to clear the physical and mental hurdle that Hopkins presents.

Most importantly, Dawson will need to find some way to turn the 18-year age difference between the two fighters to his advantage. He's not known for his high work rate, but allowing the action to proceed at Hopkins' pace is almost always a recipe for disaster.

Assuming the fight gets past the early stages, it's tough to know what to expect down the stretch. It's been five years since either man has scored a knockout, and while Hopkins has no peers when it comes to experience in the championship rounds, Dawson has never lost a bout that has gone a full 12 rounds.

If he feels himself fading late, Hopkins may be able to draw strength from his crowd support. The fans should be mostly pro-Executioner at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall, which is close enough to Philadelphia to count as a hometown fight.


Hopkins' Winning Strategy: Think Victory Before Revenge

No one turns slights both real and imagined into motivational fuel like Hopkins. He's almost always the more emotionally charged boxer going into a fight, but he seems to be able to keep the analytical side of his brain in full control once the bell sounds.

With that in mind, there's little reason to expect that he won't be able to do that again. But in the build-up to this rematch, Hopkins appeared more agitated than usual, upset with both the way the first bout ended and Dawson's attitude over the ensuing months.

Perhaps as a concession to age, Hopkins has fought a slightly less cautious style over his last several fights. His technical advantages allowed him to get away with that against Jean Pascal, but he won't have the same luxury against Dawson - a cleaner, more accurate puncher.

The last thing Hopkins wants is for Dawson to gain any confidence. No matter how much he wants to prove a point, the Executioner is probably better off seeing if he can turn Dawson into the aggressor. That will allow his uncanny knowledge of defensive tricks and in-fighting tactics to work in his favor.

A knockout would be incredibly satisfying, but just a few years shy of 50, any win would be a big achievement for Hopkins. Getting his hand raised will be the sweetest revenge, and he needs to keep that in mind.


Dawson's Winning Strategy: Push the Pace, But Smartly

It would seem like a no-brainer for a younger, faster, supposedly stronger boxer to simply try to overwhelm the old veteran by going on the attack. That would be a mistake for Dawson, though, for two reasons.

The first is that Hopkins most likely wants to counter-punch, and wading in recklessly gives him too many openings to do just that. The second, more significant reason, lies within Dawson's head: he's simply not wired to go for broke.

His first fight following his loss to Pascal proved that. Facing Adrian Diaconu, a game but outclassed opponent, Dawson didn't step on the gas the way many observers expected he would. Even when his future as a top name in the sport was somewhat in the balance, he fought at a measured pace, doing things his way.

Fighting in spurts won't cut it against Hopkins, who would love it if he can do the same thing for 12 rounds. It's critical that Dawson make the older man feel all of his 47 years, and that's possible without expecting him to make an unlikely change to his own DNA.

It means Dawson will have to pressure Hopkins, continuing to move forward or cutting the ring off to the side even if he's not throwing continuous shots. It also means when he has his own chances to counter, he has to respond with combinations, not single punches.

Maybe most importantly, Dawson needs to try to work on the inside instead of getting flustered with the rough stuff he knows will be coming. If he can find another gear - even if it's only relative to his own cruising speed - while keeping his head about him, he'll give himself the best chance to get the biggest win of his career.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao close to deal for fight

TJ Lang: Suh wanted to fight me after stepping on Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Hernandez jurors allowed to watch Super Bowl

Tiger misses cut: ‘I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined’

Roger Goodell grilled on Deflategate during presser


Rex Ryan: Seahawks need to ‘take the air out of the football’

J.J. Watt buys cabin in the middle of nowhere to train

Six teams have done background work on Peterson

NBA set to earn $700M through streaming deal in China

Wade Phillips is the best coordinator hire this offseason

Bill Belichick gives understated scouting report of Tom Brady

WATCH: Jimmy Butler throws down half-court alley-oop

President Obama zings Patriots over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's Player Of The Year candidates

Super Bowl XLIX preview and predictions: Patriots-Seahawks

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Most unexpected MLB free agent signings of past 10 years

Five most villainous Super Bowls of all time

Super Bowl ad focuses on acceptance of gay athletes

Foster says UT boosters paid him $40-50K while in college

Ranking the repeat Super Bowl champions

Eric Decker to Sherman: Time your conception a little better

Could Katy Perry and Russell Wilson be dating?

Boxing News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Obama zings Pats over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's POY candidates

Super Bowl XLIX preview and predictions: Patriots vs. Seahawks

The 13 things we want to see in Super Bowl XLIX

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Tiger Woods, misses cut: ‘I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined’

Ranking the repeat SB champions

Roger Goodell grilled on Deflategate

Katy Perry, Russell Wilson dating?

Rex Ryan has advice for Seahawks

Super Bowl: Things you can't control

LeBron and the Cavs are ready to make a run

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.