Hopkins-Dawson: Is "Technical Draw" the correct call?

By Paul Strauss: The WBC's board of governors viewed video tape of the Hopkins vs Dawson fight, and as a result decided to declare the fight a "Technical Draw. Specifically, Jose Sulaiman said, "The WBC Board of Governors, after reviewing the video of the fight, unanimously declared that the action reflects a clear intentional lifting the body followed with a push by Dawson to Hopkins, that made him fall on his left side with part of his body out of the ropes."

It would appear the key word in this statement is "intentional" as opposed to accidental. In other words, you often have situations in a bout when a clumsy or wild punching fighter might accidentally foul his opponent. It could come in the form of low blows, or stepping on his opponents foot. The referee will warn him, and if repeated deduct points, with the ultimate penalty being disqualification.

However, if a fighter commits an obviously intentional foul, the referee will and should disqualify the fighter. One of the more blatant examples occurs when a fighter hits his opponent when he is down, such as the case with Arthur Abraham vs. Andre Dirrell. Another case was the Sakio Bika vs Jean Paul Mendy.

The question remains. If the WBC believes Dawson "intentionally" fouled Hopkins, then why are they not pushing the California Commission for a DQ? Technically, they don't care, because a Technical Draw accomplishes what they want, and that is for the title to stay with Hopkins, but is it accurate?

An important side light to this whole thing rests with the idea of whether the "fouled fighter can continue". Apparently Referee Pat Russell listened to Hopkins' complaints, and as a result felt B-Hop couldn't continue. Everyone knows that Russell felt no foul had occurred. He felt both Hopkins' awkwardly (but intentional- he always does it) missed punch, which placed him draped over the back of Dawson was incidental contact. Russell believed the same was true with Dawson's reaction, which was to get the guy off of him! Russell's call would be a similar to one of an official in football, when the receiver and defensive back are both going for the ball, and come in contact with each other.

Regardless, you still have the question of whether Hopkins could have continued. He claims to have wanted to. He describes himself as the warrior ready to defend himself with "one arm". Since then the boxing public has been told Hopkins sustained a separation of the shoulder blade and clavicle or collar bone. But, another interesting tidbit thrown in the mix comes from the Dawson Camp, and in particular Trainer John Scully. The Iceman says that he's been told by experts that such an injury (low grade separation) is often-times diagnosed solely by what the doctor is told by the patient, and not independent, verifiable information displayed by something like x-rays. Specifically, Scully is quoted as saying, "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."

That begs for another question. If Hopkins was faking, and could have continued, then wouldn't he have been in violation of one of Jose Suliaman's WBC rules, which states, "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." The latter is of course what Referee Pat Russell felt occurred, but with a slight variation. He declared a TKO because Hopkins couldn't continue, but what if the Dawson Camp and Scully are correct in suggesting Hopkins could have continued, but refused. Therefore, there is "abandonment".

Abandonment is a good description of how fans feels about the fight. It's another example of why an impartial governing body is needed to take immediate control of situations like this and render an impartial decision, one which is not based on threats, either direct or implied by promoters, media, managers and or fighters.. Unfortunately, the only advocate boxing has at the federal level seems to be Senator John McCain, and he's probably tired of trying to get it done.

Article posted on 22.10.2011

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