If Chad Dawson is going to dethrone RING and WBC light heavyweight champ Bernard Hopkins, the southpaw will have to put on a Joe Calzaghe-like performance when they meet on Oct. 15 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The now retired Calzaghe (46-0, 32 knockouts) is the only left-handed fighter who can claim victory over Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOs), who fell short in a disputed split-decision against the fighter from Wales, in April of 2008.
Since then, however, the 46-year-old Hopkins is 4-0-1, with his most recent triumph being May's unanimous decision over Canada's Jean Pascal to become the oldest fighter in the history of the sport to win a significant title belt.
"I love fighting southpaws," Hopkins told RingTV.com. "I would rather fight southpaws than anybody. My record is excellent against southpaws. The only reason I lost to Calzaghe is that they gave it to him by split-decision."
Hopkins' record against left handers is, in fact, 10-1, with a no decision. Among the best that he's beaten are current and past beltholders Antonio Tarver, Winky Wright, Keith Holmes and John David Jackson.
"My style is so unorthodox, and I do so much and I can make so many adjustments in style that (stance) really doesn't matter," said Hopkins. "If you look at my record against southpaws, I'm something like 12-1 against southpaws. So my record speaks for itself. So I'm ready, man."
Hopkins-Pascal II was a rematch of December's disputed, majority draw during which Hopkins rose from knockdowns in the first and third rounds and appeared to successfully out-box Pascal for the win.
Since losing his title bid to Pascal (26-1-1, 16 KOs) by 11th-round technical decision a year ago in August, the 29-year-old Dawson (30-1, 17) has bounced back with May's one-sided unanimous decision over Adrian Diaconu.
"Chad Dawson is an excellent young fighter, but he's going to have to stay in the game a long time to see what I've seen," said Hopkins. "This is something that Chad Dawson has to stay round long enough to achieve. I don't play around with my legacy."