On Saturday, 47-year-old marvel Bernard Hopkins will be defending the Light Heavyweight World Championship against 29-year-old "Bad" Chad Dawson, live at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
It's a rematch of last year's controversial bout in which Dawson threw Hopkins to the canvas in the second round, separating his shoulder and ending the bout in a No Contest.
Unfortunately, we can't really get a feel on how this weekend's fight will turn out based on their last meeting. It was largely a snooze-fest, with neither guy getting the upper hand. So, we'll have to go off their past performances when looking ahead to Saturday.
In Dawson, you have a boxer who uses his athletic gifts to fight at distance and control the pace of the fight. He has good height and reach, along with excellent speed and reflexes. If he were to use all of his skills to the maximum, he'd be unstoppable.
Unfortunately, he seems to not be able to reach his potential as of yet. But he's still young and has more time to develop as a fighter.
In Hopkins, you have a guy who is fighting way past when most fighters do. He still has his skills though, a credit to how hard he has worked to stay in shape over the years. He's been much more exciting in his fights recently, which has been good for the fans.
So, on Saturday, I expect Hopkins to pull the upset and beat the man 18 years his junior. I think that Dawson is looking to simply steamroll Hopkins, and that he doesn't view him seriously, especially since he is under the perception that Hopkins quit last year, something that is just untrue.
Dawson will need to take the initiative to win this fight, and will need to throw first and attack Hopkins, not lay back and wait as he did in his only career loss to Jean Pascal.
I think that Hopkins once again will turn back the clock and take Dawson to school. Hopkins is extra motivated after how Dawson berated him and called him names after their previous fight, and at this stage of his career, I think he knows this could be his final fight so he'll want to go out with a bang.
I expect Hopkins to attempt to make Dawson uncomfortable by forcing him to step back and fight off his back foot, and that he'll capitalize when Dawson makes mistakes. Hopkins will circle away from Dawson's left hand, as he did in the first fight, further negating Dawson's advantages.
I think that this fight may be better than the experts think. After the controversial and lackluster fight last fall, both guys will want to make a statement. Hopkins is about a three-to-one underdog, but that hasn't scared him before.
Look for Hopkins to take this one and pull the upset over Dawson. At the end of the day, Hopkins is just smarter and craftier, and I think that if he can control the pace of the fight, Dawson isn't smart enough to beat him, despite his age.
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