Bernard Hopkins vs. Chad Dawson: Will Father Time Finally Catch Up with Hopkins?

Martin SaltCorrespondent IMarch 24, 2012

The Distinguished Boxing Gentleman...
The Distinguished Boxing Gentleman...Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson will share the ring once more on April 28, 2012 in a sanctioned rematch for the WBC and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight World Titles in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

But the question on everyone's mind is if the 47-year-old Hopkins has one more classic and exciting fight left in him.

Hopkins has shown that age and attrition have not dulled his fighting instincts and superb level of fitness. In fact, it is arguable that Hopkins has gotten better with time and, without being disrespectful, has matured like a fine wine.

His incredible career has seen him fighting top-level fighters for the past 20 years, culminating in him becoming the first boxer to unify the world titles of all four major sanctioning bodies of a weight division, including the Ring Magazine title. With this achievement, Hopkins is arguably one of the greatest middleweights of all time.

Following two defeats to Jermain Taylor in 2005, Hopkins bounced back and defied the critics with wins over Antonio Tarver and Ronald Wright before a close split decision loss to Joe Calzaghe.

Hopkins again defied the odds to beat previously undefeated Kelly Pavlik. After a draw with WBC and Ring Magazine Light-Heavyweight World Champion Jean Pascal, Hopkins became the oldest boxer ever to win a world title in the following rematch.

Dawson has followed, and the first fight was a controversial dull squib.

'Bad Chad' Dawson is hitting his prime and is an aggressive and exciting fighter to watch, the perfect test for Hopkins.

Is it possible that had Hopkins been victorious in the first fight, he would have announced his retirement immediately afterwards?

No fighter would want to retire from the sport in the way the first fight with Dawson ended unless they had no other choice. Hopkins pushed for the rematch in order to put the record straight.

But in all cases, Father Time does eventually catch up with you. Hopkins is wary of falling into the trap of former top-level fighters who have gone on too long, like Roy Jones Jr., Oliver McCall and possibly Shane Mosley.

Avoiding this trap would see Hopkins end his long career and head to the Boxing Hall of Fame without any serious blemishes on his record.

Does Hopkins have one last great fight in him to defeat Dawson? Or will Dawson finally bring the curtain down on the career of 'B-Hop'?

In any case, write Bernard Hopkins off at your peril.