The Ring

RING light heavweight belt won’t change hands pending appeal

THE RING Magazine light heavyweight belt will not change hands pending the California State Athletic Commission’s ruling on a protest filed on behalf of Bernard Hopkins.

Chad Dawson was awarded a second-round TKO victory over Hopkins after THE RING and WBC titleholder was sent to the canvas by a shoulder shove and dislocated a joint in his left shoulder Saturday night in Los Angeles.

The shove was not ruled a foul by referee Pat Russell, who declared Dawson the winner because Hopkins couldn't continue.

Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, who represents Hopkins, said he plans to file an appeal with the commission. He believes the shove was an obvious foul and that the fight should’ve been declared a no-contest.

George Dodd, executive officer of the commission, said the appeal will be heard at its next meeting, on Dec. 13 in Los Angeles.

One reason THE RING decided to wait is that many observers seem to agree with Schaefer.

For example, more than two thirds (68.1 percent) of voters in a RingTV.com poll believe the shove should’ve been ruled a foul. And a number of leading boxing writers at ringside Saturday – including ESPN’s Dan Rafael – believe Russell made the wrong call.

Rafael Tweeted on Monday: “The more I watch the replay of the end of @THEREALBHOP fight the more I am convinced the result should and will be overturned.”

Plus, while Dodd believes Russell did nothing wrong, he did acknowledge that Russell was positioned off Dawson’s left shoulder. Dawson used his right shoulder to shove Hopkins, which means Russell might not have had the best perspective.

“Pat ruled it incidental contact; he didn’t rule it a foul,” Dodd said. “That was based on where he was at in relation to what happened. He couldn’t call what he didn’t see. He was on the other side of whatever happened.

“… Now the commission will take the necessary steps to maintain the integrity of the fight.”

The commission has overturned the result of fights in the past.

One example is the James Toney-Hasim Rahman rematch in 2008. Toney was awarded a third-round TKO victory when Rahman couldn’t continue because of a cut over his left eye, the result of an accidental clash of heads. The commission later declared the bout a no-contest.

Another example is Timothy Bradley-Nate Campbell in 2009. Bradley was awarded a third-round TKO when Campbell was cut, which the referee said resulted from a punch. The commission later reversed the decision and declared a no-contest, ruling a clash of heads caused the cut.

 

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