Why Not Lucy the Elephant Instead? Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson Preview


Imagine anyone re-electing Nixon, or agreeing to sail on the Titanic II, or, having miraculously escaped execution by hanging, volunteering to face the gibbet once again. When Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson face off Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, it will be for the most familiar boxing reason of all: madness. Cause and effect, supply and demand, ying and yang—who needs any of that? In boxing, the closest thing to logic after more than a century of refinement remains the simple count of “10.”

How a bomb as big as Hopkins-Dawson I can produce a sequel is something only the boys in the backroom can answer. Contractual obligations, Public Enemy #1 for television networks—and, by extension, consumers—may have forced HBO to broadcast this fight, but must it be aired at such a reasonable hour? Like a midnight marquee film (think Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! or The Gore Gore Girls) Hopkins-Dawson II ought to take place in front of an audience sweating Cutty Sark or stoned out of its mind.

Oh, no doubt this fight will have its knowing defenders. “Two top-ten light heavyweights!” the Omniscients will furiously thumb on their smartphones. “Former P-4-P entrants!” mighty journos will Tweet. “The Oscar De La Hoya Light Heavyweight Championship of the World is on the line!” ratings panel riffraff are sure to roar. Everything, it seems, but the promise of a good fight. Of course, even a good fight is possible, the same way a man can survive being trampled by a herd of bison. But why would anyone risk taking that chance?

Chad Dawson, 30-1-0-2 (17), remains a symbol of much that is wrong in contemporary boxing. This may be a harsh assessment, but if you can explain why a fighter who cannot move tickets, draw ratings, sell pay-per-views, or provide excitement continues to headline HBO events and pocket seven-figure paydays, then you have a future as an oracular blogger. Dawson has also showed some contempt for fans, and in an interview with Max Kellerman after the first Hopkins debacle, he made it clear that he did not give a damn about the “critics.” And why should he? Dawson gets paid exorbitant sums of money no matter how dull he performs in the ring. Unless you count his desultory loss to Jean Pascal last year—and many Omniscients do—then Dawson has never been in an entertaining scrap on HBO.

Talent? Sure, Dawson has lots of it, at least against fighters whose names belong on an entry list for shuffleboard tournaments. Although Dawson has scored solid wins over Tomasz Adamek and Glen Johnson, his record is most notable for the number of geezers on it. This will be his 34th professional fight, and, incredibly, Hopkins will be the 14th (!) opponent Dawson has had a double-digit age advantage over. Half of his fights have been against opponents at least nine years older. All boxers deserve respect, but Dawson makes admiration hard going.

As ho-hum outside of the ring as he is inside of it, Dawson makes even the word “snickerdoodle” glum. But since that fateful night last October, Dawson has added a sneering disdain to his apathy. In fact, Dawson is so churlish that he has made Hopkins—nearly 25 years into his satanic majesty act—a sympathetic figure over the last six months. Unfortunately, Dawson, New Haven, Connecticut, can never bother to dramatize his orneriness where it counts the most: in the ring. Except, of course, when he is practicing MMA moves or verbally abusing opponents after the fight is over.

Even at 47, Hopkins, 52-5-2-2(32), has such an edge in technique over most fighters that all he has to do is shuffle out to ring center to flummox them. How “The Executioner” must chuckle every time he sees a, umm, champion come at him squared-up, with feet scissoring, chin afloat, and hands down! But Dawson, a sound boxer with a measured approach, does not fit that description, and Hopkins, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will have his greatest attribute neutralized before the opening bell even rings.

Only one outcome—a clear win for the elderly Hopkins—will be of significance. After all, Dawson is faster, stronger, and, yes, 18 years younger. Anything else—a no-contest, a draw, a no-decision, a DQ, members of Human Rights Watch storming the ring to prevent further abuse of the crowd—is almost worth betting on as a prop. In the end, perhaps the best that can be said about Hopkins-Dawson II is: Thank god Jhonny Gonzalez is fighting on the same night.

So, have you ever been to the Believe It or Not Museum in Atlantic City? The Grand Prix Go Karts at the Steel Pier look like fun. Supposedly, there is a single $5 blackjack table at the Borgota open at all times. And what about Lucy the Elephant in nearby Margate City? Have you seen Lucy the Elephant yet?


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  • jet79

    Hi CA,
    This was lots of fun, I imagine more fun than can be expected in the main event Saturday night. I would have to press the cursor over a lot of penny click adds to pay you what I’ve agreed to shell out in Atlantic City.
    And yet, I want to be there. I want to see Hopkins beaten clearly, and I think Dawson is going to do it. My excitement will probably peak right around the time when the mic gets shoved in Hopkins’ grill and we get to hear how 2+2=5, how a butterfly in the jet stream disrupted his timing, how the referee, in conspiring with all the “not black enough” athletes took his title from him, how we’ll miss him when he’s gone (though he should’ve left years ago). We’ll get to hear his sophistry in explaining the supposed fouls he was a victim of, the same fouls he’s predicated his offence on ever since age dulled his weapons. It’s all so tired, all so predictable. This isn’t to say he couldn’t conduct himself with the utmost sportsmanship and decorum, but I’d be surprised if he did.
    I respect Hopkins, but his act, his style, his paranoia and hypocrisy – all of it has grown older than he has. Adios curmudgeon! 
    Then I’ll come home salivating over all the exciting match ups that can be made with the new Delahoya Light Heavyweight Champion of the world. That should occupy my mind long enough to buckle my seat belt.

  • JohnPaulFutbol

    pretty funny! I wonder who paid more their ticket; me for Hopkins/Dawson I or Jimmy for the rematch. After reading this I felt like such a sucker when I remembered that I bought tickets to the first fight. Was this post some sorta subliminal shot at me? 
    Your midnight marquee films line reminded me of sneaking into and getting kicked out of “Reform School Girls,” which starred the girl who set in motion the chain of events that helped form “Fastway.” 
    In related news, I’m about to log in to Ticketmaster and purchase tickets to Tarver/Kayode. I’m a quick study. 

  • thenonpareil

     @Mark Ortega 
    Hi Mark,
    thanks for writing.  I pretty much agree with most of what you say here.  I’m not when of them jokers who tries to refute every thing a person thinks.  
    I don’t necessarily blame Dawson in any way for my antipathy toward him.  I’m a big fan of hoaxes and con artist literature.  I like to sit around and read about Yellow Kid Weil, Titanic Thompson, P.T. Barnum, etc., and I believe boxing is a hustler’s paradise.  From that perspective, Dawson has certainly earned my admiration, although he hasn’t really been proactive in getting what he’s gotten–incredible amounts of loot. 
    To me, his light heavyweight reign, or whatever, is not a distinguished one, but that’s just an opinion.  It’s not his competition, it’s the generally uninspired performances.  He has every right to be boring, but does that mean I have to subsidize HBO’s insane infatuation with him?  This is a guy who drew fewer than 3,000 fans–combined–for two fights with Tarver.  The public has spoken about Dawson–they ain’t very interested in him. 
    Where I disagree is “marquee value.”  With  a few exceptions, marquee value (in America) is no longer determined by anything concrete: tickets, ratings, etc.  It’s now determined largely by network suits, and if we go by that standard, then Dawson’s marquee value is very high.  Because HBO doles out huge licensing fees for his fights, it represents a major paycheck for everybody else.  But I could be wrong there.
    I try hard not to dislike fighters, but Dawson has been wearing me out for a long time.  Maybe I’m not being fair to him.  Who knows?  Unlike some, err, Superior Bloggers, I don’t have all the answers.  By the way, it’s the superior bloggers that rub me the wrong way, not the lowly guys.  The ones who patronized me and “pulled rank” on me whenever they got a chance.  Them, and the bow tie idiots who can’t read a byline!

  • thenonpareil

     @jet79 Hi JT,
    I heard rumors of two guys associated with TCS heading down to see Lucy the Elephant…I mean, Hopkins-Dawson.  Ha, man you really sound like you have it in for poor B-Hop, but I can’t say I disagree.   Super-gifted fighter, amazing athlete, throwback material, a real success story, etc., but as crass as can be in and out of the ring. Sometimes he’s amusing with his antics, but more often than not, you just sit there and say to yourself, “What a prick.” 
    I guess you’re going to have to do enough salivating for the two of us on Dawson’s future, although  I’m not even going to watch this fight live.  I’m going to watch Jhonny Gonzalez fight.  I didn’t watch the first bout either…just waited for youtube to see that memorable FOTY candidate.  I just hope for your sake that it turns out to be a good scrap…it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility. 

  • thenonpareil

     @JohnPaulFutbol My son!  You’re back!  I’m sorry I had to send you away to military school, but after what you did to the swimming pool, I had no choice!
    What’s going on, DS?   I saw some Hopkins-Dawson tickets for sale on craigslist  today, and I really, really hope you didn’t pay more than Jimmy did.  By the way, I restrict my subliminal shots to them fellers who rule over me….you know how vindictive the downtrodden can be.  Although I can’t really say I understand what was going through your mind when you did wind up buying those tickets…Ugh.  Next time save the money for an REO Speedwagon reunion tour.
    “Reform School Girls!”  I like it.  When I was a kid, there were still double features for $2.50.  I remember my brother took me to see “Hercules in New York” and “Metalstorm.”  But I’d much rather have seen “Reform School Girls.” The scariest twin bill I saw was “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” paired with “Sleepaway Camp.”  I don’t know what my brother was thinking…

  • JohnPaulFutbol

     @thenonpareil Hey, “Hercules in New York” is a classic, you should be thankful! Yeah, we had a couple of those theaters in SM way back when that would show a double feature for a couple bucks or so, good times.

  • dennis wise

    Carlos, I knew you couldn’t resist talking about this blockbuster.   
    I’d like Dawson to be a fighter I can root for. But he under-performs from my perspective, and I’ve had about enough of that.  I’ll be skipping this one live and I’ll rely on one of my friends to inform me of I should download and watch the actual fight, or just the post fight interviews. 

  • thenonpareil

    Hi tono-smith,
    thanks for writing.  I hear what you’re saying and I respect your opinion.  

  • thenonpareil

     @dennis wise 
    Hi Dennis,
    I’m always ready to take on the big events and the greatest fights and the p-4-p best!  Anyway there’s always a chance a decent fight breaks out–that’s usually the case these days, waiting for some accidental fun–but it doesn’t seem likely given their first fight and the way both men have performed recently, especially Dawson, who does just enough to get by.  I mean, Hopkins has been in two of the biggest flops of the last few years: against Jones and “Bad Chad.”  You have to go back years for an interesting fight from Dawson.  Neither man has scored a KO going back four and a half years!!!  Hopkins hasn’t knocked anybody out since 2004! 
    No, I think I’ll watch Jhonny Gonzalez instead and let all the experts tell me what I should think is good…