Referee Screws Bernard Hopkins, Costs Him His Title

Referee Screws Bernard Hopkins, Costs Him His Title

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.

Instant Replay: No. 1 Villanova 76, Seton Hall 46

ap-josh-hart-steal.jpg
The Associated Press

Instant Replay: No. 1 Villanova 76, Seton Hall 46

BOX SCORE

VILLANOVA, Pa. — Back at No. 1, Villanova looked every bit like the best team in the country.

The Wildcats — who earlier in the day regained their top spot in the rankings after a week at No. 3 — demolished Seton Hall, 76-46, in a Big East matchup Monday night at the Pavilion.

The win was the fourth straight for Villanova (18-1, 6-1), the 1,700th in program history, and the 47th straight at the Pavilion, setting an all-time record. The previous mark of 46 was established between January 2007 and 2011. 

Leading by 13 at halftime, Villanova put its foot on the gas to start the second half, jumping out to a 53-26 advantage on a Kris Jenkins three-pointer followed by a baseline slam from Donte DiVincenzo.

The hot-shooting Wildcats continued to pour it on from there, with Jenkins hitting a couple of more tough threes to put Villanova up by a whopping 65-31 margin with 10:33 left.

Seton Hall (12-6, 2-4) closed a three-game road trip with losses in all three games.

Big men on campus
Jenkins led the way with 16 points on 4-for-6 shooting from behind the arc. He joined Jalen Brunson (13 points), Josh Hart (11 points), Eric Paschall (10 points) and DiVincenzo (10 points) in double figures.

All seven of the players in head coach Jay Wright’s seven-man rotation finished with at least eight points as Darryl Reynolds had eight points and nine rebounds and Mikal Bridges had eight points and seven rebounds.

Desi Rodriguez was the only Seton Hall player to hit double figures with 15 points.

By the numbers
• Villanova shot 47.4 percent from the field and 46.2 percent (12 for 26) from three-point range, while Seton Hall shot 29.1 and 25 percent.

• The Wildcats had nine steals and scored 27 points off 16 Seton Hall turnovers. 

• Villanova only missed one of its 11 free throw attempts.

First half
Seton Hall led 5-4 before Villanova went on a 13-0 run to take control, capped by a fantastic one-handed putback slam from Reynolds. 

The Wildcats extended their lead to 25-7 as Seton Hall struggled to make anything. Consecutive threes from Rodriguez gave the Pirates a glimmer of life late in the first half, but the Wildcats still took a comfortable 36-23 lead into halftime.

Hall trouble
The Pirates have more victories over Villanova than any Big East team since the new version of the league was launched in 2013, beating the Wildcats three times. One of those wins was in last year’s Big East Tournament title game at Madison Square Garden, Villanova’s final loss in 2015-16 before its magical run to the national title.

Seton Hall has had far less success at the Pavilion, however, with their last win there coming all the way back in 1994. 

Simmons in the house
Sixers rookie Ben Simmons, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, was on hand to see the No. 1 team in the country. He sat courtside and took photos with fans at halftime. 

Up next
Villanova returns to action Saturday afternoon vs. Providence at the Wells Fargo Center.

Seton Hall goes home to welcome St. John’s on Sunday. 

Dario Saric: Joel Embiid 'has changed the sport in Philly,' deserves to be All-Star

Dario Saric: Joel Embiid 'has changed the sport in Philly,' deserves to be All-Star

Even Dario Saric is getting in on the Joel Embiid All-Star Game craze.

After the Sixers' 113-104 win over the Bucks Monday, Saric made the case for Embiid in a postgame interview with CSN's Molly Sullivan. 

"Joel, for sure, he deserves to be in All-Star Game ... he's the guy who changed the sport in Philly," Saric said.

"And if we get Ben [Simmons] to him, we got good couples for so many years."

Saric definitely trusts The Process.

"He deserve everything ... he's maybe the best big man in the league."

We'll find out if the fans like him as much as Saric does Monday at midnight when fan voting ends. 

Catch the full interview above for more.