Bad fights are a dime a dozen, but the massive failure of a light heavyweight title match between Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson last October has to rank with the worst of them. Staged in Los Angeles, where neither fighter had ties, the bout received considerable build-up and pay-per-view treatment even as most experts predicted an ugly clash of styles.
The fight proved to be worse than expected. The first round was a snoozer, and after the fighters got tangled in Round 2, Dawson essentially body slammed Hopkins to the canvas, leaving him with a shoulder injury and no chance of continuing. The fight ended unceremoniously in a TKO win for Dawson and was later overturned to a no-decision, combining with the bluster and bad blood between the fighters to leave the faint stench of a bad pro wrestling match.
On Saturday, Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOs) and Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs) will meet in a rematch that carries far less expectation and anticipation, but that remains exceptionally relevant to the careers of both fighters. Style issues aside, the fight has merit: With the light heavyweight title again on the line, Hopkins, 47, will bring his unrivaled ring savvy and gift for strategy, while Dawson, 29, supplies the range, explosiveness and speed in a classic youth-versus-experience matchup.
With the stage set, here are five keys to victory for Dawson:
Keep it sharp
The longest yard
Find the target
The jab must go on
Diego Morilla is a contributor to ESPNdeportes.com.