After Joe Calzaghe survived certain death (with the help of a low blow that seemed to sap the energy of Hopkins), the judges reported a split decision.
Calzaghe's hand was raised in victory. And boxing lost more respect.
Interestingly enough, on the same night that boxing was busy falling deeper into WWE territory, MMA's UFC put on a card that drew a record crowd and further opened the gap between the directions of the sports.
Perhaps most troubling about the aftermath of the boxing debacle was ESPN's reporting of the incident.
ESPN.com boxing guru, Dan Rafael, seemed to take a journalistically dangerously inappropriate joy in Calzaghe's gift of victory.
"And in taking the title, Calzaghe stuffed Hopkins' own racist words down his throat. "
Rafael, in an effort to distract white boxing fans from the horrendous judging, chose to flat out slam the race card on the table.
We've already established that it was Calzaghe's greed and dubious negotiation tactics that forced the racial elements introduced into the fight build up. Yet, Rafael felt compelled to delight in, and to further the controversy of Hopkins benign statements.
Rafael went further. Openly mocking Hopkins in his reporting, the column read as if it were some sort of white supremest literature.
Hopkins loudly declared in front of the media that he would "never let a white boy beat me. Never." Well, the white boy from Wales did exactly that, letting his fists do the talking. Calzaghe never answered Hopkins' nasty taunts throughout the promotion, instead laughing them off and calling Hopkins a buffoon.
Rafael never makes mention of the difficult position that Hopkins was put in in trying to make the fight. Additionally, he condones Calzaghe's open disdain and avoidance of Hopkins comments. And even condones Calzaghe's use of the word 'buffoon' to describe Hopkins. We wonder if 'buffoon' was the actual word used. We believe that Calzaghe's Welsh brogue possibly could have masked his usage of the word 'baboon'. No matter, Rafael certainly would have had no problem with such a racially derogatory characterization of Hopkins.
"A low blow in the 10th sent Hopkins down to the canvas, where he grimaced in pain, even if it appeared he may have been doing a bit of acting. "
Rafael's effort to mitigate the effects of a blow to Hopkins' Original Man Parts only supports the growing contentions that we are exposing in this post.
"Calzaghe didn't seem to care. He raised his arms to the crowd, which responded with ear-shattering cheers. "
Seems Calzaghe and the crowd took as much pleasure in the illegal punch as Rafael did. Their disdain for Original privates was virtually terrifying.
It's a shame that ESPN and Rafael, instead of exposing the poor judging and criticising the direction boxing has been going, chose to make this fight a white versus Negro affair.
Clearly, as long as Negro fighters lace up their gloves and don boxing trunks, every time they enter the ring they will be fighting two opponents:
The boxer they signed to fight.
And the racism that is embedded in this society.
We salute Bernard Hopkins.
Though he may have been denied a boxing victory; his stand for civil rights in the face of racism proves he is the true champion.