Bernard Hopkins Loses in Controversial TKO

October 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

Hopkins-Dawson-presser-4Philadelphia’s Muslim boxer Bernard Hopkins lost his WBC light heavyweight title to challenger Chad Dawson in a controversial Technical KnockOut (TKO) in Los Angeles. Hopkins lost as part of a stopped fight for the first time in his career in bizarre fashion when Dawson lifted him and tossed him to the canvas late in the second round, leaving the 46-year-old champion unable to continue.

Dawson (31-1, 18 KOs) claimed the WBC light heavyweight title from Hopkins (52-6-2), but both fighters were left furious and screaming when referee Pat Russell ruled Dawson hadn’t fouled Hopkins, whose promoter immediately said he’ll protest the result. “They want me out of boxing, and this is one way to do it,” Hopkins told the press. “Chad Dawson came in the ring tonight, and he just wanted to rough me up with dirty tactics. He wanted to get me out of there, and that was the only way he could.”

After five unmemorable minutes, everything happened in an instant: Hopkins leaned over the crouching Dawson after throwing an overhand right, and Dawson lifted Hopkins off his feet by standing up before shrugging him onto the canvas. Hopkins landed awkwardly on his left shoulder, his head poking underneath the bottom rope, and might have glanced off the ringside table. Hopkins immediately clutched his shoulder and grimaced in pain, apparently unable to continue.

“He jumped on me and was pulling me down, so I pushed him off with the shoulder,” Dawson said. “B-Hop disappointed a lot of fans. I was looking forward to a good fight. I trained eight weeks for this. … Yes, he was faking. This is a fight I wanted for three years, and Bernard obviously didn’t want the fight.”

Hopkins said he told Russell he would continue fighting “with one arm,” but Russell waved off the fight and declared a TKO. Just like that, a long-awaited showdown between the ageless light heavyweight champion and his top young rival was over, enraging the lively Staples Center crowd. “It was not a foul,” Russell said. “It’s a TKO. He could not continue because of an injury. No foul.”

After waiting several years and training relentlessly for the fight, Dawson was apoplectic when Hopkins stayed down on the ground, taunting him and climbing on the ropes. When Russell waved off the fight, Dawson went over to Hopkins and motioned at him to get off his stool, repeatedly cursing at him.

“I knew he didn’t want the fight,” Dawson said. “He keeps talking about Philly and being a gangster. He’s no gangster. Gangsters don’t quit. He’s weak. He’s a weak physically- and mentally-minded person. He has no power.”

Golden Boy President Richard Schaefer, Hopkins’ promoter, said he’ll protest to the California State Athletic Commission.”That was not a boxing-like move,” Schaefer said. “If you’re allowed to lift somebody up and slam them to the floor, you can’t win your belts like that.”

Even California officials acknowledged the first TKO on Hopkins’ record could soon be up for debate in a boardroom. “He couldn’t continue, so it’s a TKO for now,” said George Dodd, commission’s executive officer. “At this time, that’s the call.”

The brief fight will be an absurd chapter in the remarkable mid-life renaissance of Hopkins, who became the oldest man to win a significant world title last May with a victory over Jean Pascal, the only man who has beaten Dawson.

“He knew he wasn’t in there with a 46-year-old, because I was quicker and faster than him,” Hopkins said. “That was a blatant foul, and it should be a no-contest, not a disqualification.”

Hopkins has defied all conventional wisdom about athletes and aging ever since his career appeared finished after two decision losses to Jermain Taylor in 2005, when Hopkins was just 40.

He won a light heavyweight title with a stunning upset of Antonio Tarver in 2006 to start a 6-1-1 streak over his previous eight fights, beating Winky Wright — Dawson’s friend and training partner — along with Kelly Pavlik and Roy Jones Jr.

Dawson was left just as unsatisfied as the fans who paid $54.99 for the pay-per-view event, although it featured an exciting undercard including the pro debut of 52-year-old Dewey Bozella, who won an unanimous decison after spending 26 years in prison wrongfully convicted of murder.

“Let Bernard take his paycheck and refund it to everybody. We came to fight,” said Gary Shaw, Dawson’s promoter. “What I really feel is Bernard is old, and he gave it all he could for as long as he could. He beat Pascal, but there was no way he could have beaten Chad.”

Dawson is among his generation’s most gifted boxers — Floyd Mayweather Jr. called him the world’s best — but his career didn’t have a signature moment. He also hasn’t been a fan-friendly fighter, rarely taking the risks required for knockouts while openly admitting to boredom and lapses in training, particularly before his only loss to Pascal last year.

Hopkins showed little apparent interest in fighting Dawson, pointing out his meager ticket-selling abilities. Hopkins also likely was concerned about the problems posed by Dawson, a strong technical fighter behind his superb physical gifts.

Hopkins is a master of boxing’s mental game, and he teased and prodded Dawson in the weeks leading up to the bout, attempting to get in his head. Dawson claimed it wouldn’t work, insisting he was in perfect mental position for the fight. He recently broke free of a former manager and reunited with trainer John Scully, who worked with Dawson on his way to the top before Dawson went through four big-name trainers in the past few years.

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Bernard Hopkins Honored by State of Pennsylvania

June 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

Combat Pascal-Hopkins

The Pennsylvania State Government honored Philadelphia native Bernard Hopkins at the State Capital yesterday for his recent WBC Light Heavyweight World Championship victory as the oldest fighter in boxing history to win a world title, as reported by BoxingScene.com.  Hopkins was invited by Senator Vincent Hughes, who has represented the state’s 7th District (covers parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County) since 1994.

Hopkins made appearances on the House and Senate floors where each chamber presented him with a proclamation honoring his record-breaking victory over Jean Pascal in their championship rematch on May 21 in Montreal.

Following the proclamation on the Senate floor, Hopkins was given the opportunity to speak, and in true Hopkins style, inspired every person in the room as he shared his life story of overcoming obstacles and investing in health in order to reach where he is today. Hopkins ended his speech by saying, “Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, whatever decisions we all make together as one, it affects lives.” Hopkins is scheduled to defend his belt on October 15th against Chad Dawson. The location of the fight is yet to be determined, but it is scheduled to air on HBO.

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Bernard Hopkins Title Defense Looks Set

June 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

00027848-SPF-001
File: Bernard Hopkins rests during practice in Los Angeles, 2008.

Newly-crowned light-heavyweight champion of the world Bernard Hopkins is all but finalized to take on Chad Dawson this fall, likely in September, for his first title defense. Hopkins has a record of 52 wins, 5 losses, and 2 draws, while Dawson has 30 wins, one loss, and no draws. Dawson has reportedly been aiming to take on Hopkins for a couple of years now, but has been brushed aside until now. Hopkins instead took on Jean Pascal, whom he drew in December of 2010 before defeating him on May 21st of this year. The victory gave Hopkins the WBC, IBO, and The Ring magazine light heavyweight title belts.

Dawson’s only loss of his career came in fact to Pascal in August of 2010 in a technical decision. Therefore, Hopkins reportedly claimed that a fight with Dawson would be a waste of his time, and instead he wanted to “just beat the man who beat the man.” And that he did by dispatching of Pascal last month. But now Hopkins, who recently had a ceremony in his honor in his home town of Philadelphia, sees Dawson as his best match.

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