This past weekend the fight world witnessed a controversial ending to the Chad Dawson vs. Bernard Hopkins light heavyweight championship match-up. We all have our opinions on what the final say so should have been and in this exclusive interview, we get the thoughts of Dawson trainer, enjoy.
Benny Henderson Jr.: What was your first thought when you seen Hopkins go down?
ICE: Honestly? As soon as he went down I turned to cutman Rafael Garcia and said, "That's it. He's not going to get up, I know it!" I had seen this type of thing from him before too many times and I figured he would make a play for sympathy like he seemed to do with Royin their rematch and in several other fights.
BH: I do not know if you have anything to do with the decision making but if it was up to you, would there be a rematch against Hopkins, or go ahead with the rematch against Pascal?
ICE: My feeling is that the rematch with Pascal is up next. I would assume that no matter how bad the injury to Bernard is, they will have to take a significant amount of time off to either heal from it it or to appear that they need the time to heal. Chadjust cant afford to sit and wait for Bernard so he has to move on with his career.
BH: I am sure by now that you have gotten the chance to see the replay, in doing so as well with your most brutal honest opinion, was the ruling correct?
ICE: A couple things, and this may just me being funny or me just not picking, but the fact is that if Bernard Hopkins didn't have such terrible punching form in that moment none of this would have happened. He literally missed the right hand and catapulted his right leg forward so that he was forced to crash into Chadand onto his back. If he would have thrown his punches correctly then the only thing that happened would have been him missing the right hand.
Now for me Chadmerely didn't allow Hopkinsto crash on top of him and push him down. Hopkinsis known to do things like that which are technically legal, I guess, but they are his way of manhandling an opponent and getting them out of their rhythm. Chadclearly came into this fight un intimidated and ready top react to whatever came his way, unlike some of Bernard's previous opponents. Bernard finally ran into someone who was willing and able to match him in every department and I don't think he liked it very much.
It would seem that as disappointing as it was for all involved, including myself, it was the correct thing to do. Chaddidn't commit a foul and Bernard was injured in the process and couldn't continue. Robert Duran was accidentally injured against Pat Lawlor back in the early 1990's and lost by a TKO because he couldn't lift his arm. It sucks but what else can be done? Chadhad a notoriously sketchy and rough fighting 175 pound man launched onto his back and he chose to get him off. He didn't want to be manhandled and the fact is that Bernard Hopkins has shown many, many times in past fight his propensity for trying to physically and mentally intimidate opponents. He finally ran into someone who wasn't having it.
BH: Now let’s take yourself out of the equation, you had nothing to do with this fight and seeing the tackle, do you feel the ruling was fair?
ICE: Honestly, it's a tough call. You want to be as fair as possible, of course. You don't want to favor anyone unjustly even though you cannot help but mentally take into account a man's previous actions in other fights. Maybe the hundred times Bernard spent rolling around on the floor in previous fights under questionable circumstances came back to bite him in the butt, you know?
I think if they would have DQ'd Chadit would be fair to ask, "Why?? This notoriously dirty fighter was on my back and had just moments earlier tried to head butt me and had punchedme purposely on the hip during some infighting and nothing was done about it. Now he's on my back? I'm supposed to allow him to set a precedent and just end up in all these crazy positions that clearly favor him. I'm supposed to let him manhandle me??? Well not today, buddy"
BH: Anything in closing?
ICE: I would just like to say that I am in no way satisfied with this ending and I know Chadisn't either. We trained extremely hard for seven weeks and we worked on many, many techniques and strategies that we planned to use in this fight. We had excellent conditioning on our side and we worked on so many tricks and combinations and techniques and we were anxious to loosen up and get to the middle rounds where they would all start to take effect. It's disappointing because this was supposed to be our performance, like Royhad against Toney and, Mayweather had against Corrals, our coming out party that would show the whole complete package as opposed to just glimpses of it.
Chadis still motivated, though, and whoever he fights next will experience all his improvements full on.
By Benny "Big Dog" Henderson Jr
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