Bernard Hopkins vs. Chad Dawson
2011-10-15 : Bernard Hopkins 173½ lbs fought without result Chad Dawson 174¼ lbs by NC at 2:48 in round 2 of 12
- Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, USA
- Referee: Pat Russell
- Judge: Marty Denkin
- Judge: Lou Moret
- Judge: Oren Shellenberger
- World Boxing Council Light Heavyweight Title (1st defense of Hopkins)
- The Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight Title (Hopkins defending)
- After an uneventful first round, the bout entered the second, where it ended in controversy. Hopkins missed with a right hand, and wound up off balance, leaning atop the back of Dawson. Between 2:40 and 2:41 of round two, Dawson picked up Hopkins, briefly hesitated, then threw Hopkins to the canvas. Hopkins landed on his back, with his left elbow, left shoulder, and head landing on the canvas under the ring ropes. Hopkins rolled over screaming in pain, claiming a left shoulder injury. Referee Pat Russell stopped the clock and called the ringside doctor to check on Hopkins. Referee Russell subsequently asked Hopkins if he wanted to continue, and Hopkins indicated he did, though he would only be able to do so with the use of one arm. Referee Russell then signaled the end of the bout and awarded Dawson a TKO2 win. Referee Russell was heard stating in the ring it was a TKO2 win for Dawson because he never indicated a foul or someone being fouled. Referee Russell was not allowed to be interviewed, but a California State Athletic Commissioner was interviewed and reiterated referee Russell's reasoning. Round 2 highlights - .
- HBO Commentator Max Kellerman noted Dawson had thrown Hopkins to the canvas to the pay-per-view audience immediately after the incident.
- HBO Commentator Emanuel Steward said he would rule the bout a 'no-contest'.
- HBO Commentator Harold Lederman appeared live after the bout, and stated that the rules in California within four rounds call for a no-decision (or no-contest) when a bout ends for a reason other than a punch, explaining referee Pat Russell could not award a TKO by the rules of the California State Athletic Commission, noting a TKO did not apply in this circumstance. He also said, "But we don't vote."
- Chad Dawson stated after the bout in the post-fight interview that he intended to pursue a rematch with Jean Pascal and indicated disappointment with Hopkins. "Bernard initiated contact. If they strip the title away (on appeal), I'm not going to fight a rematch. I waited five years for the opportunity to fight Bernard. All he did was punch and hold. He was looking for a way out. He didn't want to fight me."
- The bout's outcome was appealed by Hopkins with the California State Athletic Commission based on medical evidence presented by his lawyers. The appeal hearing was scheduled for December 13, 2011. Dr. Sam Thurber of California Medical Hospital in Los Angeles, x-rayed and examined Hopkins, and diagnosed a separation of the left acromioclavicular (A-C) joint. Hopkins stated later that he would not retire, noting, "I am still the champion."
- Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer protested, "That kind of behavior (by Dawson) is not boxing. You are not allowed to pick people up and throw them to the ground. That's not how you win titles. That's not in the rule book." Esquire Magazine writer Cal Fussman noted, "If you can win a boxing match simply by body slamming your opponent, it's not boxing, it's MMA."
- Celebrity champions at ringside for this important bout included Oscar De La Hoya, Amir Khan, Erik Morales, and Manny Pacquiao.
- The HBO pre-fight show included footage of Bernard Hopkins encased head-to-toe in a strange purple plaster cast goo, which was to be used later to create a "Ripley's Believe It or Not" statue likeness.
- Bernard Hopkins's purse was $1 million, Chad Dawson's purse was $800,000.
- On October 20, 2011, the WBC Board of Governors unanimously declared the bout a TD2 due to WBC rules. Bernard Hopkins remained WBC Light Heavyweight champion.
- On December 13, 2011, the California State Athletic Commission changed the result from a TKO for Dawson to a no-contest. Referee Pat Russell testified the no-contest call was appropriate.
- A WBC rematch was ordered for April 28, 2012 between Hopkins and Dawson at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, owing to the controversial nature of the title bout's ending.