Bernard Hopkins was in rare form on Wednesday in NYC, at a press conference to hype his April 28 rematch against Chad Dawson.
To be specific, Hopkins, normally a rhetorical wizard, was quieter, and surlier, than we’re used to seeing. It leaves one wondering just where his head is at a couple months before his re-do against the young gun Dawson. They scrapped, you’ll recall, in October in Cali. The match ended two minutes into round two, when the combatants locked up, and Dawson dumped Hopkins (52-5-2; turned 47 on Jan. 15) on his back. The 47 year-old light heavyweight titlist’s left shoulder got tweaked, and he grimaced in pain. Ref Pat Russell asked him if he could go, he said no, and Russell halted the bout, giving the W to Dawson. That win was reversed when Golden Boy protested on Hopkins’ behalf, so the loss became a No Contest, and Hopkins’ belt was returned.
At Planet Hollywood in NY, I expected Hopkins to go off, and blast Dawson (30-1; age 29) and his team, including trainer John Scully and promoter Gary Shaw for alleging that Hopkins’ shoulder wasn’t that injured, and that he was looking for a way out.
Instead, Bernard chose silence. He blew off his turn at the mike, and it looked like he was contemplating bolting the event. He whispered with GB’s Richard Schaefer, eff bombs apparent to a lip reader. He did spend time doing cluster TV and print interviews, but vet fightwriters noted that he was in a contentious mode, and sparred with them verbally.
Hopkins didn’t seem to like the insinuations that his shoulder wasn’t truly hurt, and that he didn’t want a rematch. So rather than litigate the issues, he changed the topics, and put the questioners on the defensive. He is a master, still of psychological operations. Is he still a master in the ring? We shall see in Atlantic City, a kind jurisdiction to the Philly sage, April…