Philly's Hopkins, 46, fighting for place in boxing history

Bernard Hopkins says fans should watch his fight against Chad Dawson in case it's his last. "When is the train going to actually stop?" he asked.
Bernard Hopkins says fans should watch his fight against Chad Dawson in case it's his last. "When is the train going to actually stop?" he asked. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer)
Posted: October 15, 2011

There were no more questions for Bernard Hopkins last week at the Joe Hand Boxing Gym on North Third Street after Hopkins had colorfully filibustered through a news conference before Saturday's WBC light-heavyweight world title defense against Chad Dawson in Los Angeles.

Then Hopkins, who has a big stake in the pay-per-view promotion, realized one question hadn't been asked.

Why watch the fight?

Sure, the 46-year-old keeps making history after becoming the oldest fighter to win a major world title. But why watch this one? Hopkins motioned for the cameras to keep running.

"What can he do next?" Hopkins said, asking his own question. "When is the train going to actually stop? Oct. 15, there's going to be something that says, this is the night. Like the last fight, and the fight before that. I'm selling that. And if that's possible - which anything is possible - then I think that's a good reason to tune in. To see if Father Time shows up, and along with Chad Dawson, and actually gang [up on] Bernard Hopkins.

"If Father Time, which we're all fighting, and Chad Dawson show up - that's the flash mob. Then I'm in trouble. But so far, right now, Father Time, we're good friends. But he's a snake. He can turn up any time, like a thief in the night. And grab you by the back of your neck. So let's wait and see . . ."

As cagey as they come, Hopkins realizes his tactical style isn't an automatic draw, it's just a historically successful style, frustrating for opponents and often for casual fight fans looking for more action. So Hopkins puts out the premise that this could be it, that maybe the 29-year-old Dawson (30-1, 17 knockouts) will beat him to the point where Hopkins will say no more, he's finally done. The premise is that real fight fans, especially local fight fans, should want to tune in for the possible end of a historic career.

Of course, Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOs) was just making a theoretical case against himself. He always likes his chances.

"He's bigger, he's taller," Hopkins said of Dawson. "He's a bigger target for me and I love that. The smaller guys, you've usually got to punch over them and then get under their shots. Chad Dawson is a guy who stands there stationary right there for you. You're not going to have to find him. That's the style I love."

Dawson said he would be throwing far more punches, "1,000 punches" if the bout goes the scheduled 12 rounds.

"But I'm going to be connecting with a lot of punches," Hopkins said.

Legacy matters for Hopkins. He's the first to admit it. It's really what he's playing for now.

"I think that's very important for any athlete, to try to establish their legacy, if they can," Hopkins said. "To be the best, and let it last, so they can sit back after their career is over with and watch their name being mentioned 10, 15 years . . . That really would be gratifying for me to sit back in my 60s and hear commentators saying, 'Hey, you know this guy is four fights away from breaking Bernard Hopkins' record.'

"When you stop fighting, things die down for most athletes. Things slow down. They're not talking about you as much. If I can set a profound legacy, so they're talking about me like I was fighting then, how many athletes can do that?"

Asked about his southpaw opponent's being technically sound, Hopkins said, "You can't be too quick to say a guy is technically sound. I've fought every style you can name in boxing in my twenty-something years. I've seen it all, and that separates my IQ from his, in my opinion. It's just a different class.

"Does he bring something to the table? Yes, he brings a lot to the table. . . . youth, and in history, youth has always prevailed. But maybe every 20 years, you get one old dog who just says, 'Look, you're normally right, but uh, this one here, is where history is being made.' And I'm having fun doing it."

Dawson has a strong resumé, Hopkins said, a "Mercedes" resumé.

"You must say that my resumé is a Ferrari," Hopkins said.

Tale of the Tape

Hopkins Dawson


46 29

52-5-2, 30-1-0,

32 KO's 17 KO's

6-foot-1 6-foot-1

75 inches 761/2 inches


Contact Mike Jensen at 215-854-4489,, or @Jensenoffcampus on Twitter.


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