WBC rules and world yawns

By Tom Donelson, BASN boxing writer
Updated: October 22, 2011

IOWA CITY, IOWA, (BASN)—The World Boxing Council has now given their opinion on the Hopkins-Dawson; Bernard Hopkins can now sleep more comfortably knowing that he has his title back in a one of the more bizarre decisions. WBC declared the contest a technical draw and therefore Hopkins kept his title. Then WBC goes into the weird zone for they essentially say that while they have no right to overturn a commission decision, they can determine the champion. So the California commission can stand by its original decision that Hopkins lost by TKO but the WBC can deny Dawson the championship. If that is not bad enough, the WBC stated that Dawson intentionally threw Hopkins to the ground but they didn’t ask for a Dawson disqualification.

Let us review the whole process from last week and move from there. I stated in my original take that I felt that it should have been a no-contest since Hopkins had a role in the whole incident. Hopkins threw a right hand which missed as Dawson ducked, and Hopkins ended up on Dawson back, who then reacted by throwing Hopkins off. It was case of one reaction leading to another reaction. There was nothing intentional on either side in a fight that was developing into a rough fight.

On Eastsideboxing.com, Paul Straus makes another case that Hopkins could have been declared guilty of “abandonment” in which he stated WBC rule 33, “”Article WC- 33 was also considered: Body Fouls — except as provided below, there will be no disqualification for fouls to the body. The referee, at his discretion, determines that there was a foul and the ring doctor determines that the fouled boxer cannot continue, the offending boxer will be disqualified. If the doctor determines the fouled boxer can continue fighting but he does not continue, he will lose by abandonment.” Dawson trainer, Ice Man John Scully added, “”Anyone can go to a doctor and get the diagnosis that Hopkins got. The diagnosis for low grade separations like Hopkins’ supposed injury is based on the patient telling the doctor what happened and where it hurts. It doesn’t show up on x-rays so the doctor just goes by what the patient says and by range of motion tests to make his diagnosis.”

There is a case for declaring the fight a TKO and there is a case for a no-contest, but there is no case beyond that! Instead of waiting for the California commission to make their decision, the WBC has muddled the water, first by stripping Dawson of his title and then declaring that Dawson intentionally fouled Hopkins. My own thought is that WBC is hoping or possibly pressuring the California commission into disqualifying Dawson; allowing the commission to do their dirty work for them. This would be a travesty of justice.

I have a few thoughts to add. While I supported a no-contest, I am also nervous about a commission overcoming a referee decision since bad decisions are part of sport. A year ago, a Detroit pitcher was working on a perfect game and in the ninth inning, a bad decision cost the pitcher his perfect game and no-hitter. The umpire admitted later that he made a mistake but the baseball commissioner refused to change the result and reward a no-hitter, for he did not want to set a precedent. After reviewing the incident numerous times; I can understand the referee decision for in a big championship bout, these decisions are made with split seconds timing and it doesn’t help a referee to have both fighters various entourages mingling in the ring after the fight.

The worst aspect is WBC refusal to insist on a rematch, so there is a real possibility that Hopkins will deny Dawson a shot at his title. This would put Dawson in a position of being shut out of any title shot at the real light heavyweight.

The decision was confusing enough and many fans already feel ripped off but for the WBC to intervene and do so in such a blatant way to benefit Golden Boy and Hopkins, this would only hurt boxing. For the sake of boxing, the WBC could have done the following options. The first was simply allowed California commission to make their decision before making any decision on the belt. The second was either to accept the referee decision or call it a no-contest and demand a rematch. Anything else is a travesty and unfortunately, WBC has set in motion a robbery worse than the original decision. The WBC has already made its bias obvious by saying Dawson was guilty of a foul and now the drama shifts to California commission. If the commission is pressured into reversing the decision into a victory for Hopkins, then we will see yet another example of boxing degradation of its own rules.