Hopkins vs. Dawson: The Executioner Should Retire After Loss

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2012

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - APRIL 28:  Bernard Hopkins is tended to in his corner by his team in between rounds against CHad Dawson during their WBC & Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight Title fight at Boardwalk Hall Arena on April 28, 2012 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The action was slow and sloppy, with as much clutching and hugging as punches landed. Hell, there was even a few headbutts and tackles interspersed with the action, or lack of action thereof.

At the end of the day, the winner of the fight was obvious to everyone watching except judge Luis Rivera, who for whatever reason dubbed it a 114-114 draw. Thankfully, judges Steve Weisfeld and Richard Flaherty scored the fight 117-111.

And with that, Chad Dawson had himself a majority decision, and Bernard Hopkins had a fight illustrative of why the legendary boxer should finally hang up the gloves. He was clearly beaten, and he didn't look particularly threatening in the process.

Hopkins went the distance in no small part because of how crafty (or dirty, depending on who you ask) he is, feinting here and clutching there to keep Dawson out of rhythm. And yes, two headbutts helped his cause. But he didn't do much damage with his fists, landing only 106 of the 400 punches he threw.

That's not the approach of a fighter still capable of fighting at the highest level. If Hopkins proved anything against Dawson, it's that he's cagey enough to lose without being embarrassed in the process.

Again, Hopkins is one of the sport's greatest fighters ever, and he deserves to bow out of the sport whenever he's good and ready. But at 47 years old, even if the mind is willing, is the body still able?

It's capable of staying in a fight, yes. It's capable of keeping the fight close, even controlling the pace and style of the fight.

But I don't think it's capable of being an elite fighter any longer. If Hopkins remains in the sport, he may be telling himself it's because he believes he's still the best, but the rest of us know better. Those days are now over.

No, B-Hop may keep fighting because that's what he does, because he can't imagine doing anything else. I can sympathize with that, and I have an enormous amount of respect for what he's done. He has nothing to prove to anyone.

Not even himself.

So hang 'em up, B-Hop. Save your brain a few more blows to the skull. Go out with some grace, still competitive, but obviously past the point of being a champion.

Nobody wants to see you go out into ring one too many times, only to get knocked out and ruin an impeccable reputation as a fighter who stays off the canvas.

You went out with a fight, and we respect that. But fights don't last forever, and neither do careers. It's time to put "The Executioner" to rest.


Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets make moves like Bill Belichick.

Follow TRappaRT on Twitter