HBO's Light Heavyweight title fight on Saturday night in LA ended quickly in tumultuous fashion that still has the boxing world buzzing. Southpaw Chad Dawson (30-1,17KOs) finally got the fight he has been campaigning for what seems like 3 years now when he took on the reigning Light Heavyweight champion of the world, Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2, 34KOs). Hopkins turned the clock back in May to secure a record no one thought would ever be broken by defeating Jean Pascal and becoming the oldest man to ever hold a title in the sport at the age of 46.
In the first round both men took the center of the ring with a very slow pace. Dawson pumped his jab as Hopkins stalked and proceeded to land a sneaky straight right that lead into a clinch. Dawson kept looking for the jab while Hopkins took his time and rushed in head first looking to land another right. Hopkins' footwork looked superior to his younger, bigger opponent's. Hopkins ate a four punch combination against the ropes from Dawson with about :34 ticks left on the clock.
In the second round the fight started becoming extremely physical. As Hopkins clinched, Dawson threw short shots to the body on the inside. Dawson looked tentative on the outside while Hopkins looked for a jab. Hopkins shot for another sneaky right, ended up in the clinch and landed a quick short right on the chin of Dawson that caused his glove to hit the canvas. The ref swiftly stated it was a push. With :20 seconds left in the round Hopkins was against the ropes, ran in only to be tackled by Dawson. Hopkins was lifted off his feef by Dawson's shoulder and procedded to be slammed down to the mat in thumping fashion. The ref informed both fighters that the fight would be called a TKO because Hopkins couldn't continue due to injury. Dawson was awarded with the Light heavyweight title. He also said Dawson committed no foul. This was a horrible decision made by the ref indeed.
A few hours later I was emailed this:
"Bernard Hopkins has been released from the California Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles after being x-rayed and examined by Dr. Sam Thurber, MD who diagnosed Hopkins with a separation of the acromioclavicular (A-C) joint which connects the collar bone and shoulder blade."
After reading many articles and forums it seems to me there is a spilt between fans and media alike. Some feel Hopkins deserved this after years of "dirty tactics" & "faking injuries". That can be disputed obviously. The truth is, Dawson timed Hopkins' sneaky right hand with a shoulder throw that dropped Hopkins and severely injured him. The fight should have been called a no contest and Dawson should have been charged with a foul. There was no blow landed by Dawson's fists that resulted in a TKO.
During Max Kellerman's post fight interviews, Dawson clearly stated he wasn't interested in giving Hopkins a rematch. Hopkins said "This ain't the UFC – this ain't the MMA!". Hopkins is right. Collectively many fans of combat sports have walked away from boxing because of this – Horrible judging but more importantly, horrible officiating.
I hope to see a rematch.
Photo credit – AP