Bernard Hopkins, center, bangs heads with Chad Dawson, as referee Eddie Cotton, left, tries to separate the fighters in the 11th round of their light heavyweight boxing match in Atlantic City on Saturday night. Dawson won a majority decision.

Associated Press photo by Mel Evans

ATLANTIC CITY - Chad Dawson left no doubt in his rematch with Bernard Hopkins Saturday night.

Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs) regained the WBC light-heavyweight championship with an impressive performance that produced a 12-round majority decision before 7,705 fans at Boardwalk Hall.

Judges Kevin Flaherty and Steve Weisfeld both favored Dawson by a 117-111 margin, as did The Press. Judge Luis Rivera scored it even at 114-114.

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"What did he do to win that fight?" Hopkins said. "They (the judges) did what they wanted to do. The only way I knew I would win is if I knocked him out. Let the public judge for themselves."

The fight was a much-awaited rematch of a bout held last October in Los Angeles. Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KOs), the oldest fighter to ever win a world title, kept his title when Dawson flipped him to the canvas in the second round and Hopkins reportedly suffered a dislocated shoulder.

Saturday's fight was a rough-and-tumble affair. Dawson appeared to dominate the action behind a strong right jab and crisp combinations and ring generalship.

He also had to overcome a pair of cuts. He was bleeding from gashes above both eyes as the result of some accidental head butts.

"(Hopkins) is a hell of a fighter, but he's a dirty fighter," Dawson said. "But I kept my composure, even with all the head butts. He fought his heart out, but I'm the younger guy, so I had to be the aggressor. I did what I wanted to do. I got my belt back."

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