Some of Bernard Hopkins' biggest victories were earned in Atlantic City.
He will try to earn another one there on Saturday, April 28. Caesars Entertainment consultant Ken Condon formally announced Wednesday that Hopkins will defend his WBC light-heavyweight championship in a rematch against Chad Dawson at Boardwalk Hall.
"Bernard Hopkins will go down as one of the legendary fighters in boxing history," Condon said Wednesday in a phone interview. "He has always been a very popular draw in Atlantic City, and Caesars is looking forward to hosting his much-anticipated rematch against Chad Dawson. It should be a terrific night of boxing."
The fight will be shown on HBO Championship Boxing. Boardwalk Hall will be configured to seat around 8,000 like it was for Sergio Martinez-Darren Barker and Andre Ward-Carl Froch last year. Ticket prices will be announced at a later date.
Hopkins and Dawkins first fought in Los Angeles on Oct. 15. The bout ended in the second round when Dawkins flipped Hopkins onto the canvas. Hopkins suffered a dislocated left shoulder and the fight was stopped.
Dawson was originally awarded a TKO victory, but the result was changed to a no-decision after Hopkins successfully appealed to the California State Athletic Commission.
"I have a chance to settle the (baloney) from the first fight and straighten that all out," Hopkins told ESPN last month. "Dawkins has a chance to prove to the world what he thinks he can do to me and I have a chance to prove that he's not going to do what he thinks he's going to do. ... I'm ready to go."
Despite hailing from Hartford, Conn., the 29-year-old Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs) has never fought in Atlantic City. He began his career with 29 straight victories, earning the WBC and IBF light-heavyweight crowns in the process, before suffering his only loss via 11th-round technical decision to Jean Pascal on Aug. 14, 2010.
Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOs) owns a 15-1 record with nine KOs in Atlantic City. He made his pro debut there in 1988, losing a four-round majority decision to Clinton Mitchell at Resorts Atlantic City. Hopkins, who was just a few months removed from a five-year stint at Graterford State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, was 23 years old and made $350 for the fight.
Twenty-four years, nearly 60 fights and millions of dollars later, he is regarded as the best light-heavyweight in the world. Two of his biggest wins in recent years occurred at Boardwalk Hall. He stunned the boxing world with a 12-round, unanimous decision over Antonio Tarver on June 10, 2006. Hopkins briefly retired after the fight, but later reconsidered.
Two years later, on Oct. 15, 2008, he handed Kelly Pavlik his first defeat with another 12-round, unanimous decision on Oct. 18, 2008.
"I was the underdog in both fights," Hopkins told ESPN. "I'm going out guns blazing in this fight, trust me. I will pull off my best performance in Atlantic City, and that's saying a lot. I have a history of making history in Atlantic City."
PUNCHLINES: Millville junior-middleweight Thomas LaManna (6-0, 4 KOs) returns to action on Feb. 17 in a six-round bout against Daniel Crabtree (3-3, 3 KOs), of Hilliard, Ohio, at Nutley High School in Essex County. LaManna is fighting his first six-rounder.
Boxing returns to Atlantic City on Feb. 25 at Bally's Atlantic City. Welterweight contender Ronald Cruz (15-0, 12 KOs), of Bethlehem, Pa., will meet Allen Conyers (12-5, 9 KOs), of New York, in the main event. Atlantic City welterweight DeCarlo Perez (6-1-1, 2 KOs) and Atlantic City super-middleweight Antowyan Aikins (3-0, 1 KO) are scheduled to be on the undercard.
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