Is there any wonder as to why so many Americans have abandoned professional boxing? Saturday night was the perfect demonstration of how the once revered sport has become even more of a circus than previously imagined.
Bernard Hopkins is no longer the light heavyweight champion of the world thanks to a controversial (read: blown) call in the second round of his championship fight against Chad Dawson. To put it simply, the 46-year-old, Philadelphia native was screwed.
As the clock ticked down on the end of the second round, Hopkins threw a punch at Dawson, which the substantially younger fighter managed to—for the most part—dodge by ducking down under Hopkins. Seconds later, Hopkins would find himself under the ring ropes and on his back with an injured shoulder thanks to what would be recognizable to professional wrestling fans as a modified spinebuster.
According to Hopkins in his post-fight interview, the referee asked if he, Hopkins, could continue despite the injury. Bernard claims that he informed the referee that he would continue the fight with one arm.
Inexplicably, the referee immediately stopped the fight, refused to call a foul on Dawson and awarded the match and title to Dawson by virtue of technical knockout. Shamefully, the incident would prove the very first knockout of Hopkins' 23-year career.
Whether Dawson's "shove" was intentional or not, it was certainly a foul. Moreover, as explained by Harold Lederman on the pay-per-view broadcast, it is absolutely inconceivable that the fight could have been ruled as it was given the rules which govern TKOs.
The newly crowned champion only furthered the "pro wrestling" feel of the evening during his in-ring interview, cementing his status as the heel by vehemently denying that Hopkins was really injured. "Yeah, he was faking! Come on, man," said an absolutely incredulous Dawson.
When asked about the possibility of a rematch, he remained as brash as possible, "Rematch? For what? Rematch for what? He'll be 47 by the time of a rematch. He'll be another three, four months old. No."
Judge for yourself how the fight should have been decided by watching the videos below. The footage includes some absolutely outstanding work by both the aforementioned Lederman and HBO boxing analyst Max Kellerman.
Regardless of how you look at it, one thing is for sure: the California state boxing commission doesn't want anyone talking to the referee.