A man who could give Randy Couture some pointers about giving Father Time the finger, the legendary Bernard Hopkins, looked to continue his improbable reign as king of the light heavyweight division last night, taking on the highly-ranked "Bad" Chad Dawson.
The first time the two collided, a shoulder thrust from a frustrated Dawson left Bernard on the canvas with an injured shoulder, putting an end to the contest prematurely. Dawson had an opportunity to prove he could take Hopkins out the old-fashioned way, while Bernard had the chance to teach yet another young gun why he's considered one of the greatest fighters in history.
Sadly, life sometimes just doesn't care which ending would make for the better story.
While Hopkins put forth as good an effort as he could against a man 18 years his junior with a significant strength advantage, the hand speed and outside sharpshooting of Dawson proved too much for the cagey veteran. And while "The Executioner" managed to open up a couple nice cuts via both punches and headbutts, he dropped a majority decision by scores of 117-111 (x2) and 114-114. MMAmania.com scored it 115-114 for Dawson, but in retrospect, the former two scores were probably more accurate.
Hopkins, 47, is still in as good a shape as someone his age can be and still possesses one of the highest ring IQs in the game, but I'm not sure what his future holds. He may not be able to physically handle some of the current light-heavyweights, and his stopping power is nonexistent at this point. He'll always be one of the best to ever practice the Sweet Science and his legacy is unquestionable, but this may be the end of the line for his run as a top-tier boxer.
If it is, then at least he had one hell of a run.
The opening attraction of the HBO broadcast was a heavyweight clash between Chazz Witherspoon and the up-and-coming Seth "Mayhem" Mitchell in a bout that, while a solid matchup, was not expected to be all that competitive.
Witherspoon didn't get the memo.
The veteran spent the first round beating the stuffing out of Mitchell, connecting several times over with cringe-worthy right hands and putting him on wobbly legs several times over. Right when he seemed on the verge of pulling off the upset, however, Mitchell roared back in the second with a focused body attack that took the wind completely out of his sails. The third round opened with a huge left hook from Mitchell dropping Witherspoon on his rear, and after two minutes of hunting Witherspoon down, Mitchell put his foe away with two enormous right hands, keeping his record unblemished.
A fine fight, a great comeback, and definitely a fighter to keep an eye on.
For play-by-play and full results of the evening's affairs click here.