ATLANTIC CITY - No matter what happens in his rematch against WBC light-heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins at Boardwalk Hall Saturday night, Chad Dawson feels like he can't win.
Even if he becomes the first fighter to ever knock him out, Dawson's expecting the fans to heap all of the acolades on Hopkins, who at 47 is the older boxer to ever win a world title.
"If I beat him, people are going to say 'Big deal' because he's an old man," Dawson said Thursday during an interview at Caesars Atlantic City. "But I'm not worried about how people are going to react. I'm not in this for the praise. I want to win the light-heavyweight championship again.
"Bernard was a great fighter and a great champion. Both those days are over and he knows it. I'm here to finish what I started the last time we fought. I can't wait."
Their first meeting, held in Los Angeles last Oct. 15, ended in controversy in the second round. The two fighters became entangled and Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs) flipped Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOs) to the canvas.
Hopkins, a Philadelphia native now living in Delaware, reportedly suffered a dislocated left shoulder and the fight was stopped. Dawson's camp has suggested he was looking for a way out.
"I still don't believe he was hurt," Dawson's promoter, Gary Shaw, said Thursday. "To this day, I've yet to see any proof that he was hurt. And I wouldn't be surprised if it happens again. He knows he can't beat Chad."
Of course, experts were voicing similar opinions the last time Hopkins fought in Atlantic City, when he took on then-undefeated middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik in a non-title bout.
Hopkins, who is 15-1 with seven knockouts in Atlantic City, frustrated and dominated Pavlik en route to a 12-round, unanimous decision on Oct. 18, 2008.
"That was then and this is now," Hopkins said Thursday. "What happened then has nothing to do with what's going to happen Saturday. But I'm in my comfort zone for this fight and it has nothing to do with being in Atlantic City. It's the fact that I'm an underdog again. People are looking at numbers and not at substance. Whatever Chad brings Saturday, I'll bring 10 times more."