By Jackie Kallen
Being no spring chicken myself, I’m sure it has to do with my respect for his advanced age, but I sure do want to see Bernard Hopkins win this weekend. I have known Hopkins since the early 1990s when I was managing James Toney and the two seemed to be on a collision course.
Photo by Gene Blevins/Hogan Photos
James moved up to 168 before ever facing Hopkins, and perhaps that’s a good thing. Hopkins won the vacated IBF 160 pound title and held it for a decade until he ran into Jermain Taylor.
At 175 pounds, the only man to defeat him was Joe Calzaghe in a close split decision. Hopkins had Calzaghe down in the first round and at least one of the three judges felt he did enough to win. But at Light Heavyweight, he has remained a threat to anyone who faced him.
Chad Dawson is a formidable opponent, to be sure, and you can’t underestimate a man who is young enough to be his son and has heavy hands. With 17 knockouts under his belt, Dawson will not be coming to Staples Center to dance and hold. At least I hope not.
I want this to be a great fight. As the oldest man to ever win a world title, Hopkins represents all older people who still have the same hunger and drive they had in their youth. Who cares that Hopkins is a few years short of getting his AARP card? He can still bang with the best of them.
Hopkins had always been in good shape and I’m sure his conditioning will be as sharp as ever. He knows what it takes to win. He has never been knocked out in 60 professional fights. How many men can say that? The odds are 6-1 that Dawson will score a knockout. I’m surprised it’s not higher than that.
No one should count Dawson out, though. He has had impressive wins over Tarver, Glen Johnson and Adamek. He is not yet in the same elite class as Hopkins, but every man gets old in the ring eventually, and no one knows if Oct. 15 will be that night for Bernard.
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen