Harold Lederman on Hopkins-Dawson II

By Robert Ecksel on April 18, 2012
Harold Lederman on Hopkins-Dawson II
“It’s not going to be easy," said Lederman, "for Bernard to do his cutesy-wootsy stuff."

“Chad Dawson knows how to fight. It’s amazing. The guy changes trainers like you change your socks…”

The third floor meeting room at Planet Hollywood in Times Square was filled to overflowing. The fighters and their principals were there, as were scores of TV crews, print and internet reporters, still photographers, and the usual hangers-on whose affiliations remain one of boxing’s unsolved mysteries.

Given the wall-to-wall humanity, it was impossible to move around without bumping into dozens of people and/or their equipment. Without the aid of GPS, pushing and shoving, a press conference stalwart, remained an option. Or one could chill, hang back, and let the mountain come to Mohammad.

I spotted Mohammad, in the guise of HBO’s Harold Lederman, standing quietly to the side. He’s used to the tumult by now. It doesn’t faze him a bit. Dressed to the nines in a tasteful sports jacket, corduroy slacks, button-down shirt and significant tie, he stood out as much for his calm as for his sporty attire.

I zigzagged my way toward him. I didn’t have to say much. A casual greeting sufficed. Lederman knew what I wanted. We were both at Planet Hollywood for the same reason: to beat the drum loudly for Hopkins-Dawson II.

“I think it’s going to be fascinating,” Lederman told Boxing.com. “Bernard is still trying to prove to the world that he can still fight at 47. He’s an unbelievable talent for a man his age. He really is. The question is can he come from behind like he did with Jean Pascal.

“When you’ve got a young gun like Chad Dawson it’s not easy. Chad’s big, strong, good right jab, southpaw, can fight, uses the ring real well. If Chad piles up a big lead on the scorecards, it’s not going to be easy for Bernard to do his cutesy-wootsy stuff and get back into the fight.”

I might not have used the words “cutesy-wootsy stuff” to describe what Hopkins does in the ring, but that’s what separates the men from the boys. Lederman has, among other things, the gift of being succinct.

“In my opinion,” he went on, “Bernard’s going to have study the way Chad fights—which I’m sure he did for the first fight—and get to an early lead, which he hasn’t been doing in many of his recent fights, since he’s fighting at this advanced age. So I think he really has to change his style in a way. He’s got to change his thinking. He’s got to say, ‘I’ve got to get a big lead on the scorecards, because it might be tough in the late rounds.’”

Lederman’s analysis was sound. But I wasn’t sure that Hopkins, this late in the game, was capable of being the rare old dog that could still be taught new tricks.

“He hasn’t shown any inclination that he’s slowed up,” said Lederman. “He is capable of getting a big lead. I think he can do that.”

If anyone can do it Hopkins can. If he can adjust is preferred style of fighting to keep from falling behind, Dawson will face an engaged Bernard Hopkins. But it’s asking a lot of any man, especially one who is 47 years old, to fight from the opening to closing bell.

“I think Dawson’s the best light heavyweight in the world right now,” Lederman said. “After watching Tavoris Cloud recently, I’m CONVINCED he’s the best light heavyweight in the world. I think he would have beaten Campillo, and Campillo certainly beat Tavoris Cloud. And I’ve seen Nathan Cleverly. So in my mind, Chad Dawson is the best light heavyweight in the world. He’s got good size. He can punch. He’s got a lot of experience. He’s beaten good fighters, whether it’s Glen Johnson, Tomasz Adamek, or any of the other guys he beat. Chad Dawson knows how to fight. It’s amazing. The guy changes trainers like you change your socks. Now he’s with this young kid John Scully. He doesn’t go backwards. He just gets better. He learns from every trainer he goes with. I think Chad’s amazing. He’s kept his weight down, even though he’s tall and thin. He’s got the good size, fast hands. He’s a good fighter.”

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Jean Pascal Vs Bernard Hopkins II -- Parte 1 de 4

Jean Pascal Vs Bernard Hopkins II -- Parte 2 de 4

Jean Pascal Vs Bernard Hopkins II-- Parte 3 de 4

Jean Pascal Vs Bernard Hopkins II-- Parte 4 de 4

Chad Dawson vs Tomasz Adamek 1/6

Chad Dawson vs Tomasz Adamek 2/6

Chad Dawson vs Tomasz Adamek 3/6

Chad Dawson vs Tomasz Adamek 5/6

Chad Dawson vs Tomasz Adamek 6/6

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  1. Don from Prov 08:14am, 04/19/2012

    Seemed to me that in the last fight, Dawson—like a lot of Bernard’s opponents—was having trouble getting untracked.  Hopkins is a master of taking what a fighter wants to do away from him—kind of a Bill Belicheck of the boxing world.  Anyway, Hopkins might not have won the last fight if it had gone on, and he might not win this one: But it’s not impossible that he will, and I would sure not bet a whole lot of money on Dawson looking good in the match.  From what I’ve seen of him, BadChad is not a scruff of the neck type fighter—and younger or not, he does get tired in fights.  We’ll see.

  2. AKT 07:03am, 04/19/2012

    In my eyes, Hopkins lost the last fight. (Although, I must add that it doesn’t hurt to have Golden Boy in your corner). At the hearing, what did the ref have again? was it amnesia or sumink? what was his name again? lol.

  3. Tony Capoocia 06:54am, 04/19/2012

    Love B-Hop and been a fan of his for a long….long time. But I said it the last fight and still feel that Dawson will win. Age will get him.

  4. the thresher 05:30am, 04/19/2012

    A good ref will work this fight

  5. mikecasey 05:09am, 04/19/2012

    When you’re a black ex-con underdog, Jim, you click a busted shoulder back into place all by yourself. Mind you, it’s handy if another black ex-con underdog can do it for you.

  6. Pete The Sneak 05:01am, 04/19/2012


  7. Jim Crue 04:59am, 04/19/2012

    Did anyone notice that Hopkins never had “surgery” on his shoulder that he claimed was needed after he fell down in the first fight? When boxing was in it’s heyday the boxing writers would have been asking about that. Now nobody cares.

  8. mikecasey 02:10am, 04/19/2012

    Dawson needs to take this fight by the scruff of the neck and win it convincingly. No technical or split decision, just a decisive win. He can do that if he keeps his head and mind on the job. Let’s not have another of those messy affairs where there is an endless post-mortem in which we have to endure the Hopkins mouth and charm.

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