"Left-Hook Lounge": Vivek Wallace's Mailbag feat. Hopkins/Dawson, Pascal, Linares/DeMarco, and more!
Jarrod L. (Brooklyn, NYC): How did you feel about the way things were going and the way Hopkins/Dawson ended?
Article posted on 17.10.2011
Vivek W. (ESB): I think the Dawson/Hopkins fight ended the same way it began....with a number of questions. Both men came into this fight with questions surrounding the outcome of the pending battle, and at the end of the night, not one was answered. Could the talented southpaw Chad Dawson handle a crafty veteran like Bernard Hopkins over the course of 12 grueling rounds? Could the old man Bernard Hopkins find a way to turn back the clock yet again against a talented young fighter? Both of these questions remain unanswered, and based on the way things ended, may never be answered.
At its best, Chad Dawson is still a fighter with exceptional talent that has yet to truly sell the public on him as an actual commodity in the sport; and Hopkins is still that legendary figure in the sport whose greatest accomplishments may never measure beyond the various low points created in the mind of some fight fans over the years based on odd events with his name linked to them, just like this. Dawson showed a lot of emotion after the fight, and I knew his pure dislike for Hopkins would bring that out of him, but what's unclear about Dawson is whether or not he can take that intensity with him in the future. This is key, because part of Dawson's major challenge has been his inability to take it to his opponent and raise the intensity level. That passive aggressive stuff only goes so far on the top level of the sport.
With regards to Hopkins, this is a very bittersweet moment for him because at 46, facing the proverbial westside (sunset) of his career, how long does it take him to recover from this injury, and how does the body of a man his age stay fresh during the recovery period? After Mayweather, Hopkins is that man most around the sport loves to hate, and his enigmatic ways don't make it any easier for the average fence-straddling fight fan to fall into his corner. Some decided to point the finger at him last Saturday night, but it should be duly noted that without doubt, this is a decision that will be overturned in the end.
The basis of my analysis is based on the fact that by the rules of the sport and practically all governing bodies and commissions, a TKO must be initiated by a landed punch, not anything accidental (i.e. headbutt, etc). The fight did not end from a landed shot, it ended from an action that none of the rules of the sport supports. That makes it accidental. As we learned in the Campbell/Bradley fight, accidental before the 4th round means automatic No Contest, typically. Some might find it accidental, but the irony here is that a fellow fight fan was saying to me only moments prior to the end of the fight that Dawson "appeared frustrated" by the fact that he couldn't land flush shots on Hopkins.
Right on cue, within seconds, Dawson could be seen grasping Hopkins by the thigh with great force, pushing him away. Hopkins turns every fight into mental warfare and only the strong survives. Dawson survived, but it was technically from an action that showed weakness. Why would he react with such vigor? Why would he respond with such intensity, had Hopkins not gotten into his head? Apparently he did, and this action showed it. For Dawson, I support him and always have, but for a fighter with his reputation of showing limited heart, this isn't the way I'd wanna win a strap. When it's finally returned back to Hopkins (which I can guarantee you it will), I'd be curious to see what Dawson does next. Stay tuned.
Marcos I. (San Antonio, TX): I felt that Linares and DeMarco's battle was one of the best of the year so far. What were your thoughts on the way the fight went down?
Vivek W. (ESB): The fight ended the way I thought it would, just in a far more dramatic fashion. I liked DeMarco from the start. I've felt for quite some time that his ability is far greater than many give him credit for, and this effort proved it. Linares, on the other hand, seems to get the vote of many around the sport as some pure boxer or super talent, but I'm just not so sure I've always seen it and the way he loss this fight proved that. He looked great and far superior from the start, but as we're often reminded in the sport, it's a marathon, not a sprint, and it isn't how you start a fight, it's how you finish it! DeMarco comes to fight and he brings it for the duration. Linares was hit far too much and simply didn't hold up over the course of 12.
I like both talents and look forward to seeing what the future holds for them, but I really think Linares needs to make a few key adjustments. Some have pointed to the fact that he's a Freddie Roach trained fighter, and this has often meant "limited defense", but I don't know that It's safe to place blame on Roach solely. I think Linares does have a very decent defense, he simply hasn't always shown the durability and a few other attributes necessary to compete on the highest level. We'll have to see how he evolves, but after losing the way he did, clearly, his evolution isn't complete if he plans to compete. Again.....stay tuned.
Barry H. (Denver, CO): Where do you think Chad Dawson goes from here? Do you think we'll see a rematch with Pascal if he and Hopkins doesn't fight again?
Vivek W. (ESB): I'd like to see Dawson face Pascal again, since it's clear that neither he nor Hopkins care to do a rematch. The irony here is that Dawson says Hopkins doesn't deserve a rematch and he won't be giving one, but I wonder how much that will change when the sport hands Hopkins the strap back? Dawson's options with the title at least provides a little leverage for him. Without it, unfortunately, he's simply another face in the crowd. Hopkins is the only true money fight, although Pascal in Canada would do good gates numbers and pad his pocket pretty well. Aside from that, Cloud is a decent fight, but it's not much money on the table there. Cleverly is an outside option as well, but there's really slim pickings, unless he wants to consider a catchweight fight against some of the names in the Super Middleweight division.
There just really isn't much to do in the light heavyweight division for Chad, and I don't see him facing the cruiserweight guys any time soon. Hopefully he can do what's necessary to strengthen his resume, because right now, it's a little light, and that's a heavy weight to carry for a fighter trying to build his image and reputation in a sport that has never been too forgiving.
(Vivek "Vito" Wallace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, Youtube (Vivek1251), Twitter (VivekWallace747), Skype (Vito-Boxing), and Facebook).
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