ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey - Chad Dawson says Bernard Hopkins faked an injury to escape a lopsided defeat last October and plans to pick up where he left off in a world light-heavyweight title rematch next week.
Hopkins, boxing's oldest-ever champion at age 47, defends his World Boxing Council crown on April 28 at Atlantic City in a rematch of a bout that ended in round two when Dawson lifted Hopkins by the leg and slammed him to the canvas.
The fight was halted with Hopkins suffering a left shoulder dislocation. Referee Pat Russell awarded the fight to Dawson, saying no foul was committed, but the result was overturned to no-decision and a title rematch ordered.
Dawson, 30-1 with 17 knockouts, says he could tell in the ring that Hopkins wanted no part of the 29-year-old US southpaw six months ago.
"I don't really believe Bernard Hopkins was hurt," Dawson said. "He showed he didn't really want to be in the ring with me.
"I looked in Bernard's eyes that night. He didn't want to be in the ring with me. Maybe he undertrained. Maybe he underestimated me. Either way, I'm here. I'm for real and I'm coming to fight.
"I was pressing the fight. Bernard didn't show any sign he wanted to fight until the fight was over. I want to pick right up where I left off, be the aggressor and take the fight to him.
"I hope Bernard comes to fight."
Hopkins, 52-5 with two drawn and 32 knockouts, said that Dawson can think whatever he likes and that he has made no future plans beyond his next fight.
"I'm not going to get into a dog and cat fight. There ain't too much for me to say. It's about what I do," Hopkins said. "Right now I want to beat Chad Dawson. We'll see what the future holds after I beat Chad Dawson."
Hopkins' motivation for a rematch came into question, with promoter Richard Schaefer saying Hopkins wanted the challenge and Dawson promoter Gary Shaw saying the mandated title rematch forced his hand.
"Without the belt he's just an old fighter," Shaw said.
Dawson said Hopkins had little choice.
"I guess it's all about his legacy," Dawson said. "If I was him I wouldn't want to go out on a bad note like that, ducking somebody."
Hopkins gave a simpler reason -- "Because I'm a legend" -- among several rants on Tuesday about his career, saying that even if he beats Dawson, some will diminish the feat -- "Look for an excuse when it's all said and done."
Hopkins railed against boxing politics that kept him from fighting from more than a year after a 2008 upset victory over Kelly Pavlik at Atlantic City and the desire to promote younger fighters that he keeps beating.
"Maybe Bernard Hopkins is just better than a generation. They just don't want to give me the credit," Hopkins said.
"I believe I'm the most under-rated fighter that ever laced on a pair of gloves and reached the level I've reached in my 24-year career and that's the motivation for me to keep proving who I am."
Dawson gives full respect for all that Hopkins has accomplished but plans on leaving no doubt as to who is the better fighter this time, possibly by inflicting the first knockout defeat of Hopkins' career.
"That would be a big statement to make due to the fact he has never been knocked out before," Dawson said. "I can't say I'm going in looking for the knockout.
"If it goes 12 rounds, I want to win 11 or 12 of those rounds. I don't want there to be any this or that. I don't even want a close fight. I want to beat him decisively."
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