Hopkins regains WBC belt

2011-10-21 11:03

Los Angeles - Bernard Hopkins has regained his World Boxing Council light heavyweight title after WBC officials ruled his controversial loss to Chad Dawson should have been a technical draw.

Hopkins had quickly lodged an appeal with California boxing authorities over the outcome of the fight on Saturday, in which Dawson was awarded a technical knockout in the second round.

It marked the first time Hopkins was stopped inside the distance in his 23-year career.

In a statement posted on the WBC website on Thursday, the sanctioning body's president, Jose Sulaiman, said the WBC "respects and cannot intervene in the decisions of the boxing commissions where the fights happen, but it does intervene in regards of the recognition of a WBC title of the world."

And the WBC board of governors, having seen video of the fight and examined post-fight medical records, "unanimously declared a Technical Draw on the fight; therefore, Bernard Hopkins is still the WBC light heavyweight champion of the world."

The fight had ended in bizarre fashion after Dawson grabbed a leaning Hopkins by the leg, lifted him up and slammed him to the canvas in the second round.

Hopkins, 46, suffered a dislocation of the joint connecting his left shoulder and collarbone and could not continue, but referee Pat Russell awarded Dawson the victory by TKO rather than rule Dawson's move a foul.

Officials of the WBC, which is based in Mexico, found that Dawson's 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."

They found Dawson violated the rule barring "any rough tactics other than clean punches" and since it occurred prior to the fifth round it should have resulted in a technical draw, rather than a technical decision based on scorecards.

Hopkins became the oldest fighter to claim a major world title in May at age 46 when he beat Jean Pascal for the WBC crown.

Sulaiman said the WBC hopes California's boxing governing body "will review our ruling at their meeting in December".

That's when the seven-member California panel is expected to make its own ruling on Hopkins' appeal.

Hopkins believes he should have won the fight by Dawson's disqualification.