Hopkins loses in bizarre fashion
LOS ANGELES - Chad Dawson spent most of the past half-decade angling for a fight with Bernard Hopkins, believing he could define his boxing career by knocking out an ageless champion who had never been stopped.
Dawson got his TKO last night. But his dream looked nothing like this debacle.
Hopkins was stopped 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 said. “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 roughly 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. “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.
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.
On the undercard, Dewey Bozella landed a hard right cross on his opponent’s jaw at the final bell, and the 52-year-old boxer raised his arms in victory.
After 26 years behind bars for a murder he didn’t commit, Bozella triumphantly realized a dream deferred in his first and only professional fight. Bozella won his pro boxing debut, beating Larry Hopkins by unanimous decision in the latest stunning chapter of a remarkable life.