Negotiations for a rematch between Chad Dawson and RING light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins should begin soon, according to Dawson’s promoter, Gary Shaw, who successfully argued for the return bout with Hopkins at last month’s WBC’s convention in Las Vegas.
Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 knockouts), who will turn 47 on Jan. 15, told RingTV.com that he expects to return to full-time training this month with the goal of getting back into the ring in March as he approaches the final stages of recovery from a left shoulder separation that happened during October’s controversial bout with Dawson.
The result of the fight was initially ruled to be a second-round TKO victory for Dawson(30-1, 17 KOs) after Hopkins was shoved to the canvas and considered to be unfit to continue by referee Pat Russell.
But last month, the California State Athletic Commission officially ruled Hopkins-Dawson a no-contest, with that scenario coming in the wake of the WBC’s having restored Hopkins as beltholder following a majority vote of board members who disagreed with Russell’s call. The board ruled the fight a “technical draw.”
“I will be calling [Golden Boy Promotions CEO] Richard Schaefer this week to start a negotiation,” said Shaw, referring to Hopkins’ promoter. “Chad Dawson is ready, willing and able to fulfill his obligation to challenge Bernard Hopkins for the WBC world title.”
In an interview with RingTV.com, Hopkins also listed what he feels would be more lucrative bouts than Dawson, naming RING No. 1-rated super middleweight Lucian Bute (30-0, 24 KOs) and light heavyweights Nathan Cleverly of the United Kingdom, and Beibut Shumenov of Las Vegas.
The 24-year-old Cleverly (23-0, 11 KOs) is the holder of the WBO belt. The 28-year-old Shumenov (12-1, 8 KOs), a native of Kazakhstan who lives in Las Vegas, has the WBA title.
Hopkins said that he will pursue the fights with Bute, Cleverly or Shumenov if the money isn’t right for the Hopkins-Dawson II.
“I respect Bernard Hopkins, and the fact that he’s willing to fulfill his obligation as mandated by the WBC. I read his comments. My only feeling is that fighters should be fighting because they’re fighters, and the money comes with the fight,” said Shaw.
“Not that they’re just fighting for the money. They’re fighting for the glory of boxing and for either defending the world title or trying to retain the world title.”
In December of last year, Hopkins got up from two knockdowns during his draw with RING No. 1-rated light heavyweight Jean Pascal in the Pascal’s native Canada. Hopkins returned to Canada to dethrone Pascal as WBC beltholder by unanimous decision in May.
In victory over Pascal, Hopkins, then 46, became the oldest man to win a major title in boxing. Before facing Hopkins, Pascal had beaten Dawson in defense of his WBC belt by 11th-round technical decision in August of last year.
Shaw said that in the event that a deal can’t be reached to fight Hopkins, Dawson would consider a rematch with Pascal or a shot at unbeaten RING No. 2-rated light heavyweight Tavoris Cloud, owner of the IBF belt.
“Right now, the only fight that is in my mind is our rematch against Bernard Hopkins,” said Shaw. “But Chad Dawson has never ducked anyone, and would always fight a Tavoris Cloud, or a Jean Pascal, or anyone else.”
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org