Dawson dethrones Hopkins
Chad Dawson earned a majority decision in his rematch with veteran Bernard Hopkins to claim the WBC light-heavyweight title in Atlantic City.
Dawson took control from the sixth round onwards and two of the judges had him as the winner by a margin of 117-111, with the other scoring it 114-114.
"I feel great," said Dawson, who improved his professional record to 31-1 (17KOs).
"I took a lot of head-butts. My head is hurting right now.
"He is a great fighter and he is going into the Hall of Fame. But I stepped my game up another notch."
Dawson sustained a cut above his left eye in the fourth as a result of an accidental head-butt from the 47-year-old Hopkins.
His corner had to battle, successfully, to stop the bleeding between each round.
Dawson claimed the head-butts were part of Hopkins' game plan.
"He is a dirty fighter that old man," Dawson said. "I knew the head-butts were coming.
"You could hear our heads clash together. The head-butts were blatant but I kept my composure."
An incident at the end of the fifth round recalled the odd finish to their first fight last October. As the bell sounded to end the round, Dawson grabbed Hopkins with both hands around the waist and swung him across the ring and almost through the ropes.
Hopkins returned the favour with one minute left in the 11th round by wrestling Dawson to the floor as the fight deteriorated and the clinches started to outnumber the punches.
Hopkins, who fell to 52-6-2 with 32 knockouts, was seeking to defend his title against Dawson six months after their first title clash was cut short in round two as Dawson lifted Hopkins by the leg and tried to throw him to the canvas.
The fight was halted with Hopkins saying he suffered a left shoulder dislocation. Referee Pat Russell awarded the fight to Dawson, saying no foul was committed, but the result was overturned to a no-decision and the rematch ordered.