Alan Dawson – London
With 60 professional prizefights behind him, Bernard Hopkins has not only physically beaten some opponents when in the ring, but defeated others before a bell has even been rung due to his mind games. That trait – to ruffle feathers by employing psychological warfare – has spread to promoter Oscar de la Hoya as Iceman John Scully, trainer of Chad Dawson, has fumed at de la Hoya’s actions at a recent media event.
“Just a quick note from the press conference today [Thursday] for Dawson-Hopkins this weekend,” wrote Scully to On The Beak editor Alan Dawson. “At one point there had been several speakers who only spoke Spanish and Gary Shaw (as co-promoter of the event) made a comment to the effect that they should have had one of those teleprompters available that translates Spanish to English so that all the media could understand what was being said.
“Oscar got up to speak right afterwards and in Spanish (with no English translation) told the Spanish speaking persons in the room that Gary said something to the effect that they shouldn’t have people who only speak Spanish talking.
“At that point, a trainer of one of the undercard boxers got up and said something aggressive and mean spirited towards Gary. Speaking to Gary afterwards he didn’t realise what was happening. He didn’t know what Oscar had done and he didn’t know why the guy verbally jumped all over him.
“The simple fact that Oscar said what he said and didn’t translate it for the rest of us to hear points to his attempt at trying to intentionally fan some invisible flames. Take it for what its worth but for me? That was dirty on Oscar’s part,” said Scully.
“What Gary said was not with ill intentions in any way whatsoever and everyone there knew that and, in my view, it was a terrible attempt by Oscar to sway people against our side [Gary promotes Scully's fighter Chad]. Oscar was very wrong to do what he did, period.”
According to those who have fought him, Hopkins (52-5-2, 34ko) has a history of using words to sway opinions. Reflecting on his shock knockout defeat to B-Hop, de la Hoya claimed he had been beaten before the opening bell had been rung as the Golden Boy was at odds to explain why Hopkins had not – like he had done to most of his opponents – trash talked. Oscar felt as though he was not worth Hopkins’ vitriol and so was thrown off his gameplan and consequently suffered the first stoppage loss of his career as he was felled by a body punch.
Most recently, Jean Pascal has implied that Hopkins was able to sway the verdict of the ringside judges before the fight had started because of his continued focus on what he deemed a robbery during their first fight – a draw – in 2010.
Against Dawson, Hopkins – like he did with de la Hoya – has not directly spoken ill of his challenger but, according to Dawson (30-1-0, 17ko) himself, has claimed he is being overlooked as, during conferences or interviews, B-Hop has instead talked about whom he wishes to box in the future: Lucian Bute in Canada, a rematch with Antonio Tarver at cruiserweight and even hinted at a dip in the heavyweight pool.
With Scully’s allegation that de la Hoya is fanning flames and attempting to turn people away from Dawson and his team, the contest on Saturday, October 15 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles has taken on a further dimension. One that had already been steadily building into an intriguing affair…