Bernard Hopkins seeking DQ win
While Bernard Hopkins underwent an MRI on his injured left shoulder in his hometown of Philadelphia on Tuesday, across the country in Los Angeles, his legal team filed an appeal to the California State Athletic Commission seeking to overturn the result of his controversial light heavyweight championship fight with Chad Dawson on Saturday night at the Staples Center.
Hopkins is seeking to have the result changed from a second-round knockout in Dawson's favor to a disqualification victory for him -- rather than a no contest as his team had originally suggested Saturday night.
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After Hopkins missed with a right hand in the second round, he wound up draped over Dawson's back during his follow through. Dawson grabbed Hopkins by the leg, lifted him and shoved him down to the canvas. Hopkins landed awkwardly on the edge of the ring, suffered a dislocation of the joint connecting his shoulder to his collarbone and was unable to continue.
Referee Pat Russell did not rule Dawson's move a foul and awarded him a surprising TKO victory, despite no punch landing or even coming close to landing. Had Russell ruled it an accidental foul, the bout would have been declared a no contest and Hopkins would have retained the championship, which he won in May when, at age 46, he outpointed Jean Pascal to become the oldest fighter in boxing history to win a world title.
"Dawson should be disqualified because that was no accident," Hopkins said. "I think it should be a DQ because it was intentional. He intended to hurt me, period. I'm asking for a disqualification because of the intent. I leaned over because I missed a punch, that's normal. What's not normal is when a guy raises you up a couple of inches and throws you to the canvas, which caused me to hit my elbow, which sent a shock up to my shoulder, which caused the dislocation.
"Have I ever picked up a guy and deliberately tried to hurt them? No. It's clear this guy tried to hurt me. I believe that it wasn't a move boxers do, but the game-changer came when he wrapped his arm around my leg and threw me to the canvas. That makes me argue the intent was to hurt me. I will live and die with that. I think I've watched it 30 times. How does the referee miss that and give him a knockout?"
Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer, Hopkins' promoter, said he thought the result of the fight will at least be changed to a no contest pending the commission's review.
"Based on the feedback we've gotten from so many people it seems pretty clear that it should be overturned," Schaefer said. "The fact is, everybody I have talked to says this was a wrong call. So that is what we are filing for, a disqualification. The fact is, lifting Bernard up by the legs is not just something that happened like a push. You lift someone up to make them lose their balance, and that is what happened here.
"That to me is flagrant, and it should be ruled as such."
Stephen Espinoza, the attorney for Golden Boy Promotions, told ESPN.com that he filed the formal protest with the California commission on Tuesday night.
"We reviewed the appeal with Bernard and his attorney so we could forward it to the commission," Espinoza said. "It's an appeal letter explaining our position."
Espinoza also said earlier Tuesday that he planned to send a DVD of the bout to the commission.
The commission likely will consider Hopkins' appeal at its next regularly scheduled meeting, which is Dec. 13. Espinoza and Hopkins both said they hope the commission will hear the complaint sooner.
Meanwhile, Hopkins returned to Philadelphia on Monday and visited Dr. Gerald Williams, a shoulder and elbow specialist, on Tuesday.
Hopkins said he had an X-ray and MRI exam. He said the X-ray showed the same thing that the one he had in Los Angeles on Saturday night showed -- the dislocated joint in his shoulder.
He said he had an appointment with Williams on Friday morning to hear the results of the MRI.
"I'm in a sling and it's not comfortable," Hopkins said. "I've been taking the Motrin they gave me, but I'm a vitamin guy, not an aspirin guy. They're like 500 milligram pills, but I'm only taking half at a time.
"I got to keep a pillow under my arm, so I don't move so much when I sleep. I've been battling that, but I can deal with it. I can't get my jacket on without hurting my shoulder. I got my daughter helping me get my arm in my damn jacket. I just hope when I hear the MRI results that I don't have to go under the knife and that there is no tear or anything. Whatever it is, I just want to get started on my rehab and set up what I'm going to do next."
Dan Rafael is the senior boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.