By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing: The first fight between light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins and challenger Chad Dawson reminded this writer of a bad sexual encounter.
build-up was pretty good, but the act and the aftermath left many
unsatisfied. Dawson was declared the winner after Hopkins was either
tossed or fell on the canvas in the second round. The 46-year-old
champion could not continue. The fight seemed to be trending in Dawson's
direction when the stoppage occurred.
On April 28 in Atlantic
City, Hopkins and Dawson will do it again. The bad blood and accusations
have been bubbling for months. Did Hopkins fake his way out of the
first fight? Is Dawson more a MMA fighter then a professional boxer?
recently chatted with Dawson's trainer, former contender John "Iceman"
Scully. As always the "Ice" brought his best stuff to the table.
John Raspanti: How badly does Chad Dawson want to retire Bernard Hopkins?
John "ICEMAN" Scully: I
don't know about necessarily wanting to retire Hopkins but I can assure
you he truly, one-thousand percent, wants to win this fight in
impressive fashion. It's obviously kind of taken on a personal tone
after the way the first fight ended and some of the things that were
said. I mean, he wants to beat everyone he faces but this particular guy
brings about extra incentive, sure.
JR: Is Chad more confident going into the rematch then he was the first fight?
appears so, yes, for several different reasons. First is that he was in
with him, albeit for a short time, and he didn't feel or see anything
out of the ordinary or anything he didn't expect. Also, and for me this
is the greatest thing, Chad and I started working for this fight further
out than when we did for the first fight and he showed up on day one
already in much better shape than he did the last time so we didn't have
to go through that initial period of just trying to get the fighter in
some kind of shape before the real work started. We have been able to
just train as we'd like to and get things done. Weight isn't an issue
with him, either, so it's really a great situation right now. The best
term I can use is "Ahead of schedule."
JR: As an ex-fighter you know how emotions can sometimes cause a fighter to make mistakes.
How do you keep Chad level and focused?
ICE: We talk about all aspects of the fight. Physical, mental and emotional.
We are going to come in hard but controlled, focused but controlled,
determined but controlled.
JR: Would you say Chad is in his prime now?
reaching it. His strength and his maturity are going to compliment his
physical gifts and advantages from now on. He's not just doing things in
the ring that are impressive but he knows why he is doing them now and
how to turn them into something more by design.
Bernard Hopkins is a shoo in for the Boxing Hall of Fame. But, at
47-years-old, is there anything new he can bring to the rematch?
ICE: New? I would doubt it, no offense to him of course. I doubt he has a
bunch of tools in the box he's been saving to use at age 47. By the same
token, the stuff he's been using has been working out well enough for
him overall so he doesn't need new things necessarily. He just needs
better things than we have and I just don't think he has them.
JR: Do you think Hopkins is a dirty fighter?
ICE: I don't want to out and out say that, I really don't. But I can say
that he clearly pushes the boundaries of the rules and that sometimes
he's crossed the line and paid for it. Before and even after the last
fight his team kind of tried to play the role of victim by implying that
he has gotten a bad rap as a dirty fighter but the clear and simple
fact is that no fighter that I can recall has been involved in more
questionable and similar circumstances than Hopkins has. He's not only
the single common denominator in each instance but before the last fight
it actually came up in camp on what we should all do if something like
that happens from him. I can only say that I've never in my entire
careers as an amateur and pro boxer and as an amateur and professional
trainer ever felt the need to warn someone on what to do if the opponent
ends up rolling around on the ground either complaining about something
or appearing to try to draw a disqualification victory. I mean, it's
not like we're making these things up, you know? You can literally point
to more than a few fights of his and single specific instances where
something completely out of the norm has gone down. And, again, he's the
JR: Dawson was having a very good
second round when the "the incident" happened. Do you think he was on
his way to winning the fight?
ICE: Way too early to actually say that with certainty but I felt good about what I was seeing up to the time it ended, Yes.
JR: How much do you work on strategy during training?
work quite a bit on all aspects of the game. Strategy against a
particular opponent, focusing on the best choices and also focusing on
Chad just being himself in there. I think you need to watch the fighter
constantly and keep focusing on all the little things that make him who
he is. One little crack, one little drop of the hands here and there can
lead to bigger problems if not caught on the spot and brought to
JR: As Dawson's trainer, are you going to do anything different this time?
are literally picking up from where we left off last time. The fight
was much too short to really see the need to implement a new strategy
because the one from the first fight didn't have a chance to really
reveal itself anyway. We are riding the momentum from the last fight
right into this rematch like a wave.
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