Chad Dawson Defeats Bernard Hopkins Via Travesty

After the endings to the last two HBO pay-per-views, anyone could be forgiven for hating boxing. First was the “legal sucker punch” last month by which Floyd Mayweather, Jr. defeated Victor Ortiz. Saturday night, Bernard Hopkins suffered a technical knockout loss against Chad Dawson after Dawson lifted him up and threw him down on the ground and Hopkins could no longer continue. How referee Pat Russell ruled that “inadvertent” — the word he used over and over again — is something that the basic human mind cannot comprehend. This was, simply, a disgrace. The state of California simply must overrule this TKO win for Dawson and turn it into the no contest it was.

Dawson very well may have won that fight. By the looks of things, it was going to be a tight competition where Dawson had most of the edges. I narrowly had him winning the 1st, and he was winning the 2nd. But then, Hopkins missed a punch that Dawson ducked; Hopkins leaned on to a crouching Dawson; and Dawson grabbed Hopkins’ legs, lifted him from the ground and threw him down. Hopkins writhed around, and given that Hopkins has faked his way to favorable referee rulings before, someone couldn’t be blamed for thinking this was Hopkins gamesmanship. But replays showed that Hopkins landed first on his left elbow. Instantly, his face cringed in pain. If that was acting, it was terrific acting. And if it was acting, it’s hard to imagine that HBO’s Max Kellerman in the post-fight interview would have agreed with Hopkins that his left shoulder had a raised spot.

Dawson wasn’t happy, and to an extent, I understand. He thought Hopkins was faking and he took to yelling at Hopkins. This was his chance at winning the light heavyweight championship, and if he thought Hopkins was faking it, he would rightly be upset for Hopkins spoiling his moment. And yes, Hopkins was leaning over him at that moment and Dawson had a right to try to get Hopkins off him, although boxers lean on each other a lot. On the other hand, this was no mere “shoulder,” as Dawson called it. This was a deliberate pick-up and throw-down. He has to know that, inside.

This was a deliberate foul, and it should be a no contest by that standard. California has to overturn this. It has to.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.