ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey - Chad Dawson defeated Bernard Hopkins in a 12-round majority points decision on Saturday to win the WBC light heavyweight title.
The 29-year-old Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs) never let a deep cut near his left eye affect his methodical approach to taking out Hopkins.
At 47, Hopkins (52-6-2) might have fought his last bout, although it seems impossible to count him out for another run at the belt.
This rematch was no classic, but it was an improvement on their first bout in October in Los Angeles.
Dawson had his TKO victory over Hopkins overturned and the decision was ruled a no-contest and the belt returned to the Philadelphia fighter. Dawson lifted Hopkins and tossed him to the canvas in that one.
This time, Dawson was the victim of at least one accidental headbutt that busted open a cut near his left eye.
He kept his composure and cranked up the pressure in the later rounds.
No fighter has knocked out Hopkins and Dawson never came close, but he didn't have to lay him out to win this one.
Dawson held the belt high over his head and slung it over his shoulder in celebration.
"My head is hurting from all the headbutts," Dawson said.
"I've got to give him a lot of credit. He's a future Hall of Famer - he's a hell of a fighter. But he's a dirty fighter.
"But if you can get through 12 rounds with him, you can get through anything."