26 years in the can for a crime you did not commit, you can wear whatever 'do you like. But..Dewey..that 'do!?
We now continue our pay-per-view running diary where we left off yesterday, with Nigel Collins, Bill Dettloff, and I watching at stately Dettloff Manor and the Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson main event about to begin …
11:51 p.m. EST: The broadcasters note that Dawson has a tendency to “lose focus” during fights, prompting Nigel to ask aloud how it’s possible to lose focus when another man is trying to punch you in the head. It’s a heck of a question.
11:52: B-Hop is making his entrance, not to “My Way” but to some sort of sped up version of “We Will Rock You.” I’d like to take this moment to thank HBO PPV for not wasting anytime between the end of the undercard and the start of the main event. This thing might just get off before midnight on the east coast, which is great news for people like me whose children don’t believe in sleeping past 5:30 a.m.
11:59: In the words on Hector Salamanca: “Ding! Ding!”
12:00 a.m.: Steward drops a Bennie Briscoe reference, delighting Nigel, since “Baaaad Bennie” was his favorite fighter. All references to 1970s Philly fighters will be well-received in Dettloff’s living room tonight.
12:02: It’s an ugly first round (no surprise there), and as Lampley correctly observes, they’re fighting at a Bernard Hopkins pace. Despite that, I give Dawson the round, but not with a whole lot of conviction.
12:05: Dawson has a look of confidence about him in round two. He’s still not getting much done offensively, but there’s a look in his eyes that wasn’t there in the Jean Pascal fight or the Adrian Diaconu bout.
12:06: Can you say, “Worst case scenario”? Dawson lifts Hopkins in the air and throws him to the canvas without provocation, and Hopkins stays down, a look of anguish on his face as he points to his left shoulder. It quickly becomes apparent that there’s a chance the fight isn’t going to continue. Nobody wanted to see this thing end in a no-contest …
12:07: … but a no-contest would beat the crap out of an inexplicably ruled TKO to transfer ownership of the light heavyweight championship of the world! Pat Russell has just said something about there being no foul and therefore it’s a TKO, which sparks immediate outrage at our little PPV party. If he wants to call it an accidental foul instead of an intentional foul, I’ll buy that. But there’s no way Hopkins should lose the title on a TKO. While a no-decision would be the most fair outcome, a disqualification win for Hopkins would be more reasonable than a TKO win for Dawson. Surely Russell will confer with members of the commission, and they’ll get this right. Right?
12:13: We send it up to Michael Buffer in the ring, who tells us it’s Dawson by second-round technical knockout. Buffer declares him the “new Ring magazine champion.” Nigel: “Thank goodness I’m no longer the editor.”
12:15: Max Kellerman interviews a member of the California Commission who looks an awful lot like Mr. Noodle from Sesame Street. Based on what Mr. Noodle is saying, it sounds possible that they’ll reverse this ruling sometime in the near future. For the record, the real Mr. Noodle, despite his reputation for bumbling and stumbling, isn’t quite inept enough to serve on the California Commission.
12:17: On our Grantland Network podcast last week, Bill and I made note of the blandness of Dawson’s personality, with Bill somehow comparing him to a plantar wart. So it’s refreshing to see Dawson showing real personality when Kellerman interviews him. “He was faking, you know he was faking!” Dawson says of Hopkins. “Gangsta woulda got up and fought like a man!” It is at this moment that I must come to terms with the fact that I do not qualify as gangsta.
12:18: Dawson says he wants a rematch with Jean Pascal next and doesn’t want to fight Hopkins again. If this result ends up being changed and Hopkins keeps the title, I wonder if Dawson might just find himself interested in a second Hopkins fight after all. By the way, not to criticize Kellerman, who did a strong job overall with the postfight interviews, but I would have liked to have heard him ask Dawson if it was unsatisfying to win the title in this outrageous manner. (And if Kellerman did ask him that and I missed it because I was wrapped up in a conversation of my own, I apologize.)
12:19: The Staples Center crowd boos as Hopkins appears on the JumboTron for his interview. Hopkins says he would have continued if he knew Russell was going to rule it a TKO, referencing the time he defeated Antwun Echols with one arm after getting bodyslammed. On the one hand, I feel like if Bernard could have continued, as he claims, then he should have gotten up and told Russell he wanted to try to fight in the first place. On the other hand, why in the hell wouldn’t Russell take three seconds to tell him of his intentions to rule it a TKO, so Hopkins could make an informed decision?
12:23: Lampley and Lederman are playing microphone tug of war, conjuring up memories of the legendary Larry Merchant-Lennox Lewis microphone battle of 2003. If Lederman was 50 years younger, he could definitely wrest that mic away from Lamps.
12:29: HBO makes the executive decision to try to give viewers a little more for their money, replaying the Dewey Bozella-Larry Hopkins fight in its entirety. Underrated Bozella fact: He’s the only person who refers to Bernard Hopkins as “Bernie.” Hey, you do 26 years in jail for a crime you didn’t commit, you can call people whatever you want.
12:45: Nigel says what everyone’s thinking but nobody wants to say because we all love Bozella: “He’s gotta get a different haircut.” After the fight, Lampley notes that Bozella is “posing for the obligatory Ring magazine photograph.” Well, HBO is just mentioning The Ring left and right all of a sudden, huh?
12:47: Dettloff has been waiting all night for Lampley to reach that voice-cracking emotional place that he finds every so often, and at the conclusion of the Bozella replay, he seems on the verge. “Did you ever have a dream that you thought was out of reach,” Lamps offers with the slightest hint of a tightening throat. “Oh, here we go!” yells Bill excitedly. Sadly, it goes no farther than that. Damn you for keeping it together, Jim. (And damn you, Dewey Bozella, for keeping me out till almost 1 a.m. even though the main event lasted less than two rounds. If you hadn’t done 26 years in the slammer for no good reason, I might really be pissed at you.)
There will be no mini-mailbag this week, but let’s fill out the column with a few quick Rants, shall we?
–David Haye took a lot of abuse last week, but I commend him for his decision to retire. If your heart isn’t 100 percent committed to boxing, you’re wasting everyone’s time while risking your health. Sure, Haye had his mind mostly made up about this before fighting Wladimir Klitschko, and went ahead and fleeced the fans in that fight in order to leave himself with a healthy nest egg. But if he’s quitting after only one such ripoff, then he’s way ahead of the curve.
–Many in the boxing community are revolted by the idea of a Hector Camacho Jr. vs. Andrew “Six Heads” Lewis fight. For the record, I was revolted halfway into the announcement of the matchup.
–As you may have heard, David Tua and Cedric Kushner parted ways last week. The breakup was mutual, with both men simultaneously assuming the other had quit the boxing business five years ago.
–Because I hate being left out of things that everyone else is doing, this week I plan to fire Emanuel Steward, sue both Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, and get myself on the short list to fight Alexander Povetkin.
–Attention Ring Theory (http://ringtheory.podbean.com) subscribers, there’s a new episode coming later this week. I’m not sure yet exactly what topics we’ll be discussing, but you can be certain you’ll hear talk about the volume of Dettloff’s footsteps. You see, Quick Picks is all tied up with five episodes to go in the year. It’s a good thing I have Angelo Dundee’s cell number in my address book, because I think I need to hear a “You’re blowin’ it, son!” right about now.
Eric Raskin can be contacted at RaskinBoxing@yahoo.com. You can follow him on Twitter @EricRaskin and listen to new episodes of his podcast, Ring Theory, at http://ringtheory.podbean.com.