Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 4/27/12
There's a growing and earnest constituency that believes the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Saturday night will provide the backdrop to the final swansong of evergreen boxer-cum-Peter Pan figure Bernard Hopkins. The 47-year-old Hopkins has, of course, graced his sport professionally for nearly 24 years, and for many of those he's turned in performances of astonishing virtuosity and skill. A veteran of some 28 world title fights across three divisions, he is, at his age, nothing short of a phenomenon. It's easy then to be blinded to the reality of his last outing, when he was originally ruled to have been stopped in two rounds at the Staples Center in Los Angeles by challenger Chad Dawson, but got that verdict revised to a no-contest after a loud and long-winded post-fight protest. In that fight, Hopkins was either lifted or pushed, depending on your point of view, by 28-year-old Dawson, causing the older man to fall awkwardly under the bottom rope, where he lay in apparent pain from a shoulder injury until the officials called off the fight. Dawson, predictably, claimed that Hopkins had feigned injury to remove himself from a skirmish he knew he couldn't win. Dawson (30-1, 1 NC, 17 KOs), gets his chance to prove the point Saturday night in Atlantic City, and he has no doubts as to the outcome. Hopkins, he suggests, has been a less vocal presence in the build-up to the rematch, and at times has appeared less than invested in the prospect of facing his younger adversary again. "I know why he's [Hopkins] not talking," Dawson said this week. "I know why he didn't do the face-down at the press tour in New York City. It's hard to stand in front of a guy who knows what really happened. I don't want to just beat Bernard, I want to make him look stupid and make him look old." Hopkins will point to the fact that 59 previous opponents have yet to make him look anything other than the class act he undoubtedly is. That said, there were clear signs in the five-something minutes he spent in front of Dawson last time out that this younger, bigger, stronger former world champion might finally have exposed the limitations Hopkins's extraordinary body must some day succumb to, and some on-lookers had a touch of sympathy for Dawson's view of events. Hopkins, of course, sees things differently, and continues to refuse to make any concessions to his age. "What happens when I match his energy and match his speed and he isn't breathing?" Hopkins asked. In truth, Hopkins has a long and hard night to look forward to against Dawson. He hasn't stopped an opponent inside distance since 2004, and that won't change Saturday night, so he'll need to subject his ancient limbs to a new kind of examination presented by a world-class opponent who won't afford him the kind of respect some of his recent opponents have. This time, Hopkins' game may, finally, be over.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Boise State WRs do synchronized spin before touchdown pass

Conor McGregor wants 'a real fight' says MMA is next up for him

Joe Mixon out for second week in a row with concussion

Six teams on upset alert in NFL Week 15

Reggie Bush admits his NFL career is likely over

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Doug Pederson: Jay Ajayi will continue to see more touches

49ers' Reuben Foster about to be drowning in cereal

Steelers, Patriots dominate AFC Pro Bowl vote

Joel Embiid takes a shot at Russell Westbrook’s shooting efficiency

Panthers owner Jerry Richardson being investigated for workplace misconduct

WATCH: Gronkowski refuses to discuss suspension, walks out of presser

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mr. Jones goes to Washington

The 'It's the most wonderful bowl of the year' quiz

NHL Weekender: Bolts keep striking, Preds on the hunt

Chargers are the AFC team no one wants to play in January

Donald Trump's quotes vs. the sports world in 2017

Five MLB teams that should trade for Manny Machado

The 'It's always chilly in Indiana' quiz

NFL puts safety entirely on players, again

Eight NFL teams who simply need to start over

Most important player on every team in each bowl matchup

NFL Week 15 Predictions

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Boogie, Z-Bo reach out and punch someone

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 Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mr. Jones goes to Washington

NHL Weekender: Bolts keep striking, Preds on the hunt

The 'It's the most wonderful bowl of the year' quiz

Donald Trump's quotes vs. the sports world in 2017

Chargers are the AFC team no one wants to play in January

The 'It's always chilly in Indiana' quiz

NFL puts safety entirely on players, again

Most important player on every team in each bowl matchup

NFL Week 15 Predictions

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Boogie, Z-Bo reach out and punch someone

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker