Listening to Bernard Hopkins talk, you have to be in awe of his discipline and passion for the sport he has dominated for so many years. He told me about the fights he had in the streets of North Philly. The battles he had in Graterford State Penitentiary. The knowledge he has gained from years and years of boxing against some of the best fighters in the world, among them Roy Jones, Jr., Felix Trinidad and Oscar de la Hoya. The 46-year-old champion will need every trick he has garnered throughout the years as he faces 29-year-old former champion Chad Dawson — a fighter hoping to retire Hopkins for good — at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Oct. 15.
Hopkins, aka The Executioner, made history this past May, becoming the oldest fighter to ever win a world championship. "Bad" Chad Dawson (30-1, 17 KO) hopes that will be a short-lived reign for Hopkins. "I want to be the first boxer to dethrone the oldest fighter ever," Dawson says. "No way, no how he beats me, you can take that to the bank."
Cashing that check won’t be so easy against an old-school fighter such as Hopkins. He has routinely beaten up on boxers much younger than he is. Jean Pascal was 28 when Hopkins took his title from him. The champion said he stays youthful by living a "clean life.” He doesn't smoke, drink or inject anything he deems unhealthy and trains like a man on a mission.
Still, defeating the young, strong Dawson will not be an easy task. Dawson says he has a plan to defeat Hopkins. "It won’t be a slugfest, because Bernard can't slug with me,” says Dawson. “The key to the fight is my jab. I respect him as a fighter, him being in boxing is great. I’m happy for the opportunity to beat him. I’m looking to finish him off."
Hopkins’s trainer, Danny Davis, says that once the champ starts "roughing him up," Dawson will be in trouble. "This guy ain't never seen nothing like that," Davis says. However, Dawson doesn't believe he will be able to be bullied by Hopkins. "I grew up poor. Boxing was my way out. I lived around criminals. I’m not scared.”
Follow me on twitter @TonyAndersonTV
Watch the video of Tony Anderson’s One on One with Bernard Hopkins.
(Photo: REUTERS/Christinne Muschi)