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Yet Another Bad Call From Professional Boxing

Bernard Hopkins v. Chad Dawson - Light Heavyweight Championship title bout

Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

Boxing officials and fans alike will be debating Saturday night’s bizarre decision of the fight between Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson for years to come. Unless you spent the weekend curled up under a rock, you’ve heard by now how Dawson was handed a TKO victory over Hopkins after he shouldered Hopkins to the canvas late in the second round, causing his left shoulder to be dislocated. Then, in one of the most spectacular instances of sports wrong calls, referee Pat Russell refused to issue a foul on Dawson for the move. When it was determined that Hopkins couldn’t continue in the fight, Russell ruled for a TKO in favor of Dawson. Just like that, the fight was over.

Clearly the referee made the wrong call by not declaring an accidental or intentional foul on Dawson: We all saw Dawson shoulder Hopkins clean off his feet and throw him to the canvas. Nonetheless, Pat Russell immediately ruled there was no foul. In boxing, the ring referee is in complete control over the entire fight; the ring doctor or even the boxing commission can’t overrule his calls. Thanks to the referee’s call being the final line, Dawson basically was gifted the WBC light heavyweight title.

Pat Russell’s call - and the entire decision - was the height of boxing fuckery. Under the rules of the Associated Boxing Commission, when an accidental foul occurs before the end of the fourth round that leaves either fighter unable to continue, the fight is automatically ruled a “no decision.” A foul was obviously committed, so the fight should have concluded as a no contest - it didn’t.

“What happened tonight is what makes boxing wrong,” Hopkins ranted after the bout. “This ain’t the UFC. This ain’t the MMA. He picked me up and threw me down. That was a blatant foul!”

Dawson insisted after the fight that he merely gave Hopkins a shoulder because Hopkins was leaning over his back, and that Hopkins was faking his injury. Dawson also said he’s not interested in a rematch with Hopkins, though, so what’s next for the 46-year-old “Executioner” Bernard Hopkins? 

“They want me out of boxing, and this is one way to do it,” Hopkins said. However, don’t count on Hopkins to bow out gracefully after Saturday night’s travesty - he’s too much of a warrior to go out under such circumstances. The question is, does the Executioner have enough voltage left in his aging body to fight again, and exit on his own terms?