The Iceman speaks: Can Chad Dawson defeat Bernard Hopkins in their rematch?
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing (April 12, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
John "ICEMAN" Scully
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing: The first fight between light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins and challenger Chad Dawson reminded this writer of a bad sexual encounter.

The build-up was pretty good, but the act and the aftermath left many unsatisfied. Dawson was declared the winner after Hopkins was either tossed or fell on the canvas in the second round. The 46-year-old champion could not continue. The fight seemed to be trending in Dawson's direction when the stoppage occurred.

On April 28 in Atlantic City, Hopkins and Dawson will do it again. The bad blood and accusations have been bubbling for months. Did Hopkins fake his way out of the first fight? Is Dawson more a MMA fighter then a professional boxer?

I recently chatted with Dawson's trainer, former contender John "Iceman" Scully. As always the "Ice" brought his best stuff to the table.

John Raspanti: How badly does Chad Dawson want to retire Bernard Hopkins?

John "ICEMAN" Scully:
I don't know about necessarily wanting to retire Hopkins but I can assure you he truly, one-thousand percent, wants to win this fight in impressive fashion. It's obviously kind of taken on a personal tone after the way the first fight ended and some of the things that were said. I mean, he wants to beat everyone he faces but this particular guy brings about extra incentive, sure.

JR: Is Chad more confident going into the rematch then he was the first fight?

It appears so, yes, for several different reasons. First is that he was in with him, albeit for a short time, and he didn't feel or see anything out of the ordinary or anything he didn't expect. Also, and for me this is the greatest thing, Chad and I started working for this fight further out than when we did for the first fight and he showed up on day one already in much better shape than he did the last time so we didn't have to go through that initial period of just trying to get the fighter in some kind of shape before the real work started. We have been able to just train as we'd like to and get things done. Weight isn't an issue with him, either, so it's really a great situation right now. The best term I can use is "Ahead of schedule."

JR: As an ex-fighter you know how emotions can sometimes cause a fighter to make mistakes.
How do you keep Chad level and focused?

We talk about all aspects of the fight. Physical, mental and emotional. We are going to come in hard but controlled, focused but controlled, determined but controlled.

JR: Would you say Chad is in his prime now?

Probably reaching it. His strength and his maturity are going to compliment his physical gifts and advantages from now on. He's not just doing things in the ring that are impressive but he knows why he is doing them now and how to turn them into something more by design.

JR: Bernard Hopkins is a shoo in for the Boxing Hall of Fame. But, at 47-years-old,  is there anything new he can bring to the rematch?

New? I would doubt it, no offense to him of course. I doubt he has a bunch of tools in the box he's been saving to use at age 47. By the same token, the stuff he's been using has been working out well enough for him overall so he doesn't need new things necessarily. He just needs better things than we have and I just don't think he has them.

JR: Do you think Hopkins is a dirty fighter?

I don't want to out and out say that, I really don't. But I can say that he clearly pushes the boundaries of the rules and that sometimes he's crossed the line and paid for it. Before and even after the last fight his team kind of tried to play the role of victim by implying that he has gotten a bad rap as a dirty fighter but the clear and simple fact is that no fighter that I can recall has been involved in more questionable and similar circumstances than Hopkins has. He's not only the single common denominator in each instance but before the last fight it actually came up in camp on what we should all do if something like that happens from him. I can only say that I've never in my entire careers as an amateur and pro boxer and as an amateur and professional trainer ever felt the need to warn someone on what to do if the opponent ends up rolling around on the ground either complaining about something or appearing to try to draw a disqualification victory. I mean, it's not like we're making these things up, you know? You can literally point to more than a few fights of his and single specific instances where something completely out of the norm has gone down. And, again, he's the common denominator.

JR: Dawson was having a very good second round when the "the incident" happened. Do you think he was on his way to winning the fight?

Way too early to actually say that with certainty but I felt good about what I was seeing up to the time it ended, Yes.

JR: How much do you work on strategy during training?

We work quite a bit on all aspects of the game. Strategy against a particular opponent, focusing on the best choices and also focusing on Chad just being himself in there. I think you need to watch the fighter constantly and keep focusing on all the little things that make him who he is. One little crack, one little drop of the hands here and there can lead to bigger problems if not caught on the spot and brought to attention.

JR: As Dawson's trainer, are you going to do anything different this time?

We are literally picking up from where we left off last time. The fight was much too short to really see the need to implement a new strategy because the one from the first fight didn't have a chance to really reveal itself anyway. We are riding the momentum from the last fight right into this rematch like a wave.

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