Hopkins-Dawson II will take place at Boardwalk Hall, where the Philadelphia native has scored two of his biggest career victories.
“I believe that I’ve earned the right to close it out where I want to close it out, and that is Atlantic City,” said Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 knockouts) during a Jan. 2 interview with RingTV.com.
“It’s a stone’s throw away from New York, it’s a stone’s throw away from Washington, D.C., it’s a stone’s throw away from Philadelphia and all of the local cities.”
Hopkins was the perceived underdog before scoring unanimous decisions over former titleholder Antonio Tarver in his light heavyweight debut in 2006 and previously unbeaten then-undisputed middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik as 170-pounders in 2008.
“I’ve lived in Delaware since 1998, so I’ve got to assume that I’ve got fans in Delaware as well. I still have a condo right down in Philadelphia,” said Hopkins.
“I’ve made history there with Antonio Tarver and against Kelly Pavlik, two fights where the experts had me losing at least by 5-to-1. When I fought Kelly Pavlik, it was a sellout. When I fought Antonio Tarver, it was a sellout. So I do well in Atlantic City.”
Hopkins, who turned 47 on Jan. 15, returned to full-time training earlier this month following recovery from a left shoulder separation suffered during his controversial clash with Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs) last Oct. 15 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Hopkins-Dawson was initially ruled to be a second-round TKO victory for Dawson after Hopkins was shoved to the canvas and deemed unfit to continue by referee Pat Russell.
Last month, however, the California State Athletic Commission officially ruled Hopkins-Dawson a no-contest, a move that came in the wake of the WBC’s already having restored Hopkins as titleholder following a majority vote of board members who disagreed with Russell’s call and ruled the fight a “technical draw.”
Dawson’s promoter, Gary Shaw, successfully argued for the return bout at the WBC’s convention in Las Vegas in December.
“I’m very happy that Bernard is doing the right thing by defending his belt vs Chad after most people thought he would give up the belt. I believe as I did in the first fight that Chad will stop Bernard,” said Shaw.
“I want to thank Richard Schaeffer for making this all possible, and I’m happy to be back in Atlantic City, where I spent so much time when I was on the New Jersey Commission.”
Dawson could be reached.
“Obviously, Gary and I were able to work out a deal and we didn’t need to go to the purse bid. Gary and me work verty well together. We respect each other,” said Schaefer.
“We know that we have the responsibility to our respective fighters to maximize the revenue as much as we can. That’s the committment we have. We’re working with HBO to try to finalize the deal with HBO. We’re almost done.”
In December of last year, Hopkins rose from two knockdowns during his draw with RING No. 1-rated light heavyweight Jean Pascal in the latter’s native Canada before returning to Canada to dethrone Pascal as WBC beltholder by unanimous decision in May.
In victory over Pascal, Hopkins, became the oldest man to win a major title in boxing. Before facing Hopkins, Pascal had vanquished Dawson in defense of his WBC belt by 11th-round technical decision in August of last year.
“This one is going to be at the Boardwalk Hall at the big venue in Atlantic City. Hopkins has had some of his biggest successess there in Atlantic City. He beat Kelly Pavlik and he beat Antonio Tarver,” said Schaefer.
“In both of those fights, he went in as an underdog. I think tha he surprised a lot of people on both of those nights, and I think that he’s going to surprise a lot of people again on April 28 when he takes on Chad Dawson again.”
Schaefer said that he and Shaw are working on a co-feature that could match WBC lightweight titleholder Antonio DeMarco (26-2-1, 19 KOs) against former title challenger Michael Katsidis (28-5, 23 KOs).
“We’re looking at it as a double-header. We’re going to present a solid card. We’re looking at another bout,” said Schaefer. “One of them would be Antonio DeMarco against Michael Katsidis. We’ll see if that can happen and we’ll see what fights we can come up with.”
Photos by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org