Barren Ground: On Dawson-Hopkins

****

The bar was set so low it was thought even Bernard Hopkins, connoisseur of stink, and Chad Dawson, ambassador for the nondescript, couldn’t limbo under it. Yet, arms locked with torso horizontal to knees, they managed easily to clear it.

Saturday night, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, Dawson ducked as Hopkins leaped in with a right hand late in the second round, then shrugged off the 46-year-old after he ended up draped over his back. Hopkins, now 52-6-2, fell awkwardly on his left arm, and immediately began yelling in anguish. Deemed unable to continue due to an injured shoulder, referee Pat Russell ruled Dawson the winner via TKO.

Injuries from a non-boxing act severe enough to halt a fight – headbutts, elbows, or takedowns – before the fifth round are generally ruled to be no contests, so there’s a good chance a TKO win and a WBC Light Heavyweight belt will be expunged from Dawson’s 31-1 record after the fight is reviewed.

Hopkins, of course, isn’t new to the theater of the absurd. Ask Robert Allen, who’s somewhere muttering about his lost TKO. Near the end of the fourth round of his title defense against Allen in 1998, a 33-year-old Hopkins was accidentally pushed outside of the ring by referee Mills Lane. Hopkins injured his ankle during his tumble to the floor and was unable to continue. As Saturday night’s main event should have been, the bout was ruled a no contest. Critics of the then relatively anonymous champ saw it as a clear sign of age catching up to him, or more cynically, an aging fighter finding a way out of a tough scrap.

Allen – who openly accused Hopkins of being a faker – tried to give Hopkins a taste of his own medicine during the bizarre rematch. Leading everyone to believe there was a sniper in the rafters, he fell in a heap with eyes squeezed shut every time Hopkins tapped him below the belt or touched him while coming out of a clinch. Once referee Rudy Battle let him know that he was on to his shenanigans, Allen stopped trying to act his way to a DQ win and promptly got picked apart.

Hopkins’ odd injury history inside the ring didn’t stop there. Davenport, Iowa, slugger Antwun Echols, exasperated by Tony Weeks’ refusal to penalize Hopkins during a foul-infested scrum in 2000, picked up and dumped Hopkins on his right shoulder. After writhing on the canvas in pain, Hopkins spanked Echols using only his left hand for the remainder of the round. Hopkins regained use of his right hand in subsequent rounds and eventually stopped Echols.

While his nose for the theatrical is obvious, accusations that Hopkins or anyone else in such a dangerous sport feigns fight-ending injuries – and then conspires to have a doctor co-sign that injury – are usually precarious. But what’s clear is that patience for this brand of drama has evaporated, and is as barren as the interest in a rematch.

****

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Topics: BERNARD HOPKINS, CHAD DAWSON, Pat Russell

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  • dennis wise

    great little summation of this fight. one of your best. Lets maintain the positivity and stop right there.

  • dennis wise

    great little summation of this fight. one of your best. Lets maintain the positivity and stop right there.

  • JohnPaulFutbol

    MN,

    I don’t think Hopkins is/was faking injury. But it ain’t no coincidence this happened to him. I just don’t how that’s not a foul.

    I actually ended up having a great time at the fights on Saturday, in spite of Hopkins/Dawson. That Linares/DeMarco fight was awesome. Against all odds I’m now on the Linares bandwagon.

    The great thing about going to the fights live is the assortment of wizards and wackos (h/t/ Hunter Thompson) that you are surrounded by. Oddly enough I was surrounded by very knowledgeable fans on Saturday. Anyway, one of the guys sitting one seat over from me was this extremely nerdy looking dude, probably too nerdy to be allowed into a game of D & D…..he had some sort of handicap and needed crutches to help him walk. When Hopkins came out he stood up and made the “X” sign with his arms. In all sincerity, one of the best things I’ve ever seen live. That guy and the Linares/DeMarco fight made the night.

  • JohnPaulFutbol

    MN,

    I don’t think Hopkins is/was faking injury. But it ain’t no coincidence this happened to him. I just don’t how that’s not a foul.

    I actually ended up having a great time at the fights on Saturday, in spite of Hopkins/Dawson. That Linares/DeMarco fight was awesome. Against all odds I’m now on the Linares bandwagon.

    The great thing about going to the fights live is the assortment of wizards and wackos (h/t/ Hunter Thompson) that you are surrounded by. Oddly enough I was surrounded by very knowledgeable fans on Saturday. Anyway, one of the guys sitting one seat over from me was this extremely nerdy looking dude, probably too nerdy to be allowed into a game of D & D…..he had some sort of handicap and needed crutches to help him walk. When Hopkins came out he stood up and made the “X” sign with his arms. In all sincerity, one of the best things I’ve ever seen live. That guy and the Linares/DeMarco fight made the night.

  • Andrew Fruman

    Hey JPF, for all the negativity over the show as a whole, a fight like Linares-DeMarco is a rare event. It was thrilling enough watching on TV, I can’t imagine how dramatic it must have been to be there. Gutsy stuff from both guys. @JohnPaulFutbol

  • Andrew Fruman

    Hey JPF, for all the negativity over the show as a whole, a fight like Linares-DeMarco is a rare event. It was thrilling enough watching on TV, I can’t imagine how dramatic it must have been to be there. Gutsy stuff from both guys. @JohnPaulFutbol

  • JohnPaulFutbol

    @Andrew Fruman Yeah, that fight was incredible. I griped about being one of the few people to actually pay for tickets to the fight, but at the end of the night I got my money’s worth. That’s the sort of fight that keeps you coming back, suffering through all the bullshit us boxing fans do…….just waiting for the next glimpse of something like that.

  • JohnPaulFutbol

    @Andrew Fruman Yeah, that fight was incredible. I griped about being one of the few people to actually pay for tickets to the fight, but at the end of the night I got my money’s worth. That’s the sort of fight that keeps you coming back, suffering through all the bullshit us boxing fans do…….just waiting for the next glimpse of something like that.

  • dennis wise

    Man Linares is fun to watch. As a fan it was a real downer to see him lose that way. Great fight, the kind that makes me keep watching the sport.

    Some of the friends I watched it with couldn’t have been bothered by this fight, they only care about the main event. Hershman, or whoever, really has to break through such stupidity amongst some of the boxing fan base. Couldn’t maintain the positive comments. oh well, I tried.

    @JohnPaulFutbol@Andrew Fruman

  • dennis wise

    Man Linares is fun to watch. As a fan it was a real downer to see him lose that way. Great fight, the kind that makes me keep watching the sport.

    Some of the friends I watched it with couldn’t have been bothered by this fight, they only care about the main event. Hershman, or whoever, really has to break through such stupidity amongst some of the boxing fan base. Couldn’t maintain the positive comments. oh well, I tried.

    @JohnPaulFutbol@Andrew Fruman

  • Michael Nelson

    @JohnPaulFutbol Hey JPF,

    Glad you had a great time man. Your story about the determined Hopkins fan is the reason why the fight experience can be awesome.

    I kinda liked Linares before Saturday and didn’t care much for DeMarco, but now I’m a big fan of both.

  • Michael Nelson

    @JohnPaulFutbol Hey JPF,

    Glad you had a great time man. Your story about the determined Hopkins fan is the reason why the fight experience can be awesome.

    I kinda liked Linares before Saturday and didn’t care much for DeMarco, but now I’m a big fan of both.

  • Michael Nelson

    @dennis wise@JohnPaulFutbol@Andrew Fruman Yeah, I read a piece yesterday on grantland.com with the writer complaining that he had the “sit through” the undercard. The hell?

  • Michael Nelson

    @dennis wise@JohnPaulFutbol@Andrew Fruman Yeah, I read a piece yesterday on grantland.com with the writer complaining that he had the “sit through” the undercard. The hell?

  • Michael Nelson

    @dennis wise@JohnPaulFutbol@Andrew Fruman Yeah, I read a piece on grantland.com yesterday with the writer complaining about having to “sit through” the undercard. The hell?

  • Michael Nelson

    @dennis wise@JohnPaulFutbol@Andrew Fruman Yeah, I read a piece on grantland.com yesterday with the writer complaining about having to “sit through” the undercard. The hell?

  • Michael Nelson

    @dennis wise Thanks Dennis. Once upon a time I was a big Hopkins fan, so it still stings a bit every time something like this happens.

  • Michael Nelson

    @dennis wise Thanks Dennis. Once upon a time I was a big Hopkins fan, so it still stings a bit every time something like this happens.

  • thenonpareil

    @Michael Nelson@dennis wise@JohnPaulFutbol@Andrew Fruman

    Since this is going so smoothly and positively, I’ll keep my nose out of it! NIce work, Michael.

  • thenonpareil

    @Michael Nelson@dennis wise@JohnPaulFutbol@Andrew Fruman

    Since this is going so smoothly and positively, I’ll keep my nose out of it! NIce work, Michael.

  • JohnPaulFutbol

    I don’t know what to say about that. Generally, when I watch fights I like to watch them alone. I have this one buddy of mine that I watch fights with from time to time that constantly says “he should use the uppercut more.” As if it’s that easy. He’s been saying this since HS, we’re now 40.

  • JohnPaulFutbol

    I don’t know what to say about that. Generally, when I watch fights I like to watch them alone. I have this one buddy of mine that I watch fights with from time to time that constantly says “he should use the uppercut more.” As if it’s that easy. He’s been saying this since HS, we’re now 40.