Dewey Bozella is 52 years old. He spent 26 years in jail, convicted of a murder he did not commit. He is set to make his professional boxing debut in a matter of hours. No one is rooting against the cruiserweight, a victim of a horrific spell of injustice.
Bozella faces Larry Hopkins, who is from Houston and will turn 31 years old next month. Hopkins is 0-3, being KOed in all three of his pro bouts.
You couldn't imagine anyone rooting for Hopkins to do anything but hit the canvas for the ten count. Larry Hopkins hasn't done anything wrong but he could be Adolph Hitler and he'd still have the same number of fans tonight. Bozella's story is that transformative. He is a hero simply for moving on with his life despite what this country has done to him. He could wallow in self-pity; instead he fights.
But the real victim is Hopkins. He is a villain through no fault of his own. Even his own mother is rooting for Dewey Bozella tonight. She'll root for her son Larry on another night. This night belongs to Dewey Bozella.