WBC says Hopkins still its champion
Boxing's WBC Board of Governors decided Thursday to hand the light heavyweight crown back to Bernard Hopkins, overturning a referee's decision to strip the aging champ of his title last weekend against Chad Dawson.
After reviewing the fight, the board overturned the controversial ruling of a technical knockout and declared the fight a technical draw thus giving Hopkins back his belt.
"After examining thoroughly the video of the fight and the medical report, as well as the corresponding rules, the WBC Board of Governors decided unanimously to declare the bout as a technical draw and consider Bernard Hopkins still as the WBC Light heavyweight champion of the world," read a statement on the WBC's official website.
Controversy immediately engulfed Saturday's bout in Los Angeles after Dawson appeared to lift Hopkins off his feet in the second round, forcing the 46-year-old to fall awkwardly on the canvas.
Hopkins, who immediately clutched his right shoulder in obvious pain, was unable to continue his title-defending bout against the 29-year-old Dawson. But instead of declaring a no contest, referee Pat Russell awarded the TKO to Dawson, ending Hopkins' reign as boxing's oldest world champion.
X-rays later confirmed Hopkins suffered a separation where the collarbone and shoulder blade join.
Hopkins bitterly protested the decision, which marked the first time in his long career he had been stopped inside the distance since turning pro in 1988.