Mailbag: Hopkins thinks Dawson should be in golf
Chad Dawson is a brilliant talent who often lacks the fire, work ethic and dedication to be great. When Dawson, a former light heavyweight champion, puts his mind to it, there are few better in the sport.
Dawson, though, has rarely operated on all cylinders and has never been as committed to the sport, to the fighter's lifestyle and to getting better, as his opponent on Oct. 15, World Boxing Council light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins.
Hopkins, who on May 21 in Montreal won by unanimous decision over Jean Pascal to become, at 46, the oldest man ever to win a boxing world title, is renowned for his commitment to fitness and treating his body properly.
He raised his shirt to show a stomach with rippling abdominal muscles, more than two months before he's set to fight Dawson.
"I've been walking around like this for damn near two months," Hopkins said, patting his belly. "I had to eat to get to [180 pounds]. I was [178, 179 pounds]. Now, I'm going to camp for six weeks."
Hopkins said he's been careful about how he's trained in the searing Philadelphia heat. The weather prompted a warning to avoid outdoors activity. Hopkins, though, breezed through a workout at the Joe Hand Boxing Gym in South Philadelphia as if he were a 25-year-old. He appeared ready to go 12 hard rounds that day.
"It's good living and eating the right food, the whole foods and stuff like that," Hopkins said. "I eat right in between fights, not just when I'm in camp. It's my lifestyle. I don't just say, 'OK, I'm going to eat right when I'm training and in camp.' I eat every day the same way I do when I'm in training. I live it as my lifestyle: no smoking, no drinking, eating right, always taking care of my body."
Dawson is a major talent who could learn a thing or two about preparation from a guy like Hopkins. Even Hopkins admitted that if Dawson had his attitude, he'd be a scary opponent. He said the laid-back Dawson "fights the way his personality is. It doesn't make him a bad guy. It's just who he is. I just think he might be in the wrong business. I look at Chad Dawson as a guy who ought to be in the golf business."
But if it were possible to give Hopkins' attitude and work ethic to Dawson, he'd probably be one of the greatest fighters ever. And Hopkins said things would be different for him, too.
"I wouldn't fight him," Hopkins said, laughing. "Are you crazy? This [expletive], with his talent and my attitude? Would you be trying to get me killed? I wouldn't fight him."
• It's amazing when you realize that if Abner Mares defeats Joseph Agbeko on Saturday in the finale of the Showtime bantamweight tournament at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, he'll become the first fighter signed by Golden Boy Promotions out of the amateurs to go on to win a world title. Golden Boy signed many fighters who were already pros who went on to win a belt, but Mares would become their first homegrown champion, so to speak. One question: What took you so long, guys?
• Some are calling it a win for HBO Sports to have landed the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight on Nov. 12 from Las Vegas. Remember, though, that the fight is on HBO's pay-per-view and not on the regular subscription network itself. HBO subscribers don't win here at all. If I were Michael Lombardo, acting president of HBO Sports, I'd be more concerned with rebuilding the boxing program on HBO than I would be on landing major pay-per-view bouts.
• Speaking of pay-per-view bouts, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito will meet in a rematch their 2008 classic on Dec. 3 at Madison Square Garden. Top Rank hasn't chosen a television partner for that bout, but here's betting it winds up with Showtime.
• USA Boxing made a good choice when it named national coach Joe Zanders to head up the U.S. Olympic program. By working with Freddie Roach, I believe Zanders will guide the Americans to at least three – and perhaps as many as five – medals at the 2012 Games in London. The new scoring system will clearly benefit the American team as well.
• The American International Boxing Association wants to add professional fighters to the 2016 Olympic Games. That may be the only way we get to see Pacquiao against Floyd Mayweather Jr. – if they're fighting for a gold medal.
Kessler a bigger name than Pavlik in Canada
I just wanted to pass along a quick note regarding Kelly Pavlik in Canada. As a hardcore fan with many casual boxing fan friends, I can tell you for a fact that Mikkel Kessler is a much more known/respected name in Montreal than Pavlik is. If Kessler was offered more money than Pavlik (questionable), it would make complete business sense because the local PPV numbers would be much higher. Either one of them would sell out the Bell Centre, though. That being said, I truly hope the best for Pavlik. I've always been a big fan. It's a shame he needs a reality sandwich.
Keith, I'll take your word for Kessler over Pavlik in terms of popularity in Montreal, though the Canadian pay-per-view numbers are relatively small. It's the Showtime television money and the U.S. TV ratings that would be driving that train, and it's clear there that Pavlik would be the bigger attraction.
Stars aligning for Mayweather-Pacquiao
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum states that all is clear for a 2012 showdown between Pacquiao and Mayweather. In an interview during the press tour for the Sept. 17 Mayweather-Victor Ortiz bout, Mayweather stated he is focusing on Ortiz but looks to fight Pacquiao next. With all of this current hype, do you see them fighting next year? And do you think Ortiz is a warm-up lefty to prepare Mayweather for Pacquiao?
Luke Bradley Francis
Luke, I wrote when the Mayweather-Ortiz fight was signed that it was no shock that he chose a lefty like Ortiz to help prepare him for Pacquiao. I'd like to think they're going to fight in May 2012, but things change so much with those two that I've given up trying to predict what they'll do. I'd love to see them fight and will cover it if they do. Beyond that, I'm going to wait for it to happen like the rest of the world.
Promote by putting fights on free TV
I want to make a quick comment on this HBO vs. Showtime pay-per-view deal. It just seems to show more of the cracks and issues that boxing inflicts itself with. The end result here doesn't affect the consumer/fan, which is good. But, they should really worry about putting shows on these "sister networks" that HBO and Showtime have like TNT and TBS, and let CBS broadcast a few bouts for free to build up a following for young boxers. Putting them on network television would allow the fighters to become known commodities. That is how you can gain the attention of the mainstream sports fan and the fringe boxing base that is drifting toward the UFC. UFC president Dana White offers multiple outlets to see his product besides PPV.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Network television would be a boon to boxing, though it wouldn't be a panacea. It's easy, though, Scotty, for you and I to say they should put fights on network television. Do you think Arum hasn't thought of that over the last 25 years or so? Or Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy? Or Don King? Or Lou DiBella? Or Dan Goossen? Of course they have, but there has to be mutual interest and, so far, there hasn't been any. In the absence of network television, it would be in the promoters' best interest to pursue outlets on basic cable, but it's almost always a matter of cost. The top fighters command so much money that it won't work financially on basic cable, either.
"I love fighting boxers over fighters because boxers use their brain." – International Boxing Federation bantamweight champion Joseph Agbeko, on his bout Saturday in Las Vegas against Abner Mares.
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