On Saturday 15th October 2011 at The Staples Center this well advertised fight was supposed to take place to decide the WBC Light Heavyweight Championship of the World, in front of a packed venue in Los Angeles and with millions watching across the world for the pay per view ‘fight of the year’ as it was being billed here in the UK. This fight was hyped from the offset of it’s announcement and promised to be a classic scrap with the oldest reigning world champ against an opponent who will test Hopkins in all aspects of his old school skills. This did not include wrestling as we were about to find out!
The fight began with both fighters being very cagy with each other and throwing short combinations of 2 shots and then diving in for a hug and hold move. At first, it appeared that Hopkins was doing his original plan he showed when he fought Joe Calzaghe, and it was thought it would be a slow cumbersome affair. At the second round both fighters seemed to be sizing each other up, but with no real game plan and it was turning out to be a dull fight that might run it’s course…until 15 seconds from the end of round 2 when Hopkins dived on the back of Dawson after throwing a wild punch, which Dawson responded to by picking Hopkins up by his leg and throwing him underneath the bottom rope which sent Hopkins crashing down on the canvas, missing the edge of the ring by inches flat out. Dawson was immediately shouting at Hopkins who was laying on the floor and not really moving at first. It was clear that the end of the fight was near.
The referee Pat Russell called time and asked Hopkins if he ‘was ok’, and basically called an end to the fight. It appeared that Hopkins had injured his shoulder and was in a great deal of pain as he was seated, only to find Dawson screaming obscenities at him. The referee was confused and it was presumed that a no contest would be called which would of been the fairest judgement to make, but when Michael Buffer announced that Russell had decided that it was a TKO, Dawson was declared the winner and new WBC Light Heavyweight Champion of the World. I have to say I was aghast at this ridiculous decision and was more disgusted at Dawson claiming the victory and being crowned World Champion by climbing on the ropes during his parade. He showed no respect to his opponent, nor to our great sport that we all love.
I have seen allot of fights in my time, but have never seen something so ridiculous when it came to a decision, especially when a world title was on the line. A fighter was declared winner because of an illegal move and there is nothing in the Queensbury rules which says you can knock someone out by a slam dunk! Im sorry people, but this was a disgrace to boxing and in todays world when we are trying to compete with the likes of MMA and even wrestling to keep supporters coming back for more, its no surprise fight fans are walking away for the other modern sports.
There is obviously an issue with the referees who are responsible for ensuring the safety of the fighters who are potentially putting their lives at risk for glory (and not forgetting a pay check). Joe Cortez a few weeks ago with the Mayweather V Ortiz fight made a complete arse of himself and showed he has no authority in the ring. Pat Russell who was commented on at the start of the fight by HBO, that the fight was in good hands. How wrong they were. In the UK there is a rule that when a referee turns 65 he (or she) must retire. Although they can still referee fights abroad .The only exception I can think of that this is not right would be the greatest referee we have had in our country, Mickey Vann. Mickey could control the biggest and best fighters and really stamp his authority on ANY fight. Check out Lewis V Bruno for an example! Surely the world governing bodies must look at this very closely as fighters lives are on the line and this requires a sound body and mind to be able to come between 2 fighters with authority and confidence. Pat Russell looked like a gentleman past his best and should never be involved in any boxing match again, let alone a world title fight, as the decision he made showed. He walked away from the fight with no explanation and seemed dazed by the whole thing. I personally hope Dawson gets the title stripped from him and he really should fight for it again, but by sticking to the Queensbury boxing rules and against a well matched opponent. We have a few fighters over here in the UK who I am sure will give him a run for his money, as we found out when Cleverly and Bellew showed the boxing world how it should be done!
I’m only glad I didn’t stay up til 6am to watch it live over here in the UK or pay the extortionate prices being asked for…or I would be really mad!!!
Please feel free to leave any comments below, and I hope that I havent ruffled any feathers with my views on this one!
Clubber rating 1/10