Whether you're a boxing fan or not, what happened tonight was an outrage beyond measure. In a fight where virtually anyone with a set of working eyes saw it as a narrow victory for Bernard Hopkins, the powers that be (in this case, two very inept judges: I'll excuse Adelaide Byrd, who got it right) saw it for Joe Calzaghe, and not narrowly, either.
Ted Gimza and Chuck Giampa have some explaining to do. How they could score the bout 115-112 and 116-111, respectively, for Calzaghe when Hopkins landed the harder punches and was clearly the stronger man is a travesty. A 1-point win in a close fight is one thing, and even a 114-113 for Calzaghe might be acceptable. But take into account Hopkins knockdown of Calzaghe 70 seconds in and that means Gimza saw 8 rounds for Calzaghe and Giampa saw 9. But therein, I believe, lies a clear message.
A few years ago, George Foreman got into the ring with a young Shannon Briggs. He walked Briggs down, battered him relentlessly, made him look utterly foolish and outclassed...and lost the fight. See, Foreman was well into his 40s by then, and a lot of folk were talking about how he needed to hang it up. After the decision, Foreman did in fact hang it up. Everyone knew that if he stepped into a ring again and didn't knock his opponent out, the same scenario would repeat itself, and Foreman knew it too. The decision was a message: get out, and stay out.
Hopkins is 43 years old and was 48-4 coming into the fight. He's already had two disputed losses to Jermain Taylor, and now this one to Calzaghe, the best slapper this side of Zsa Zsa Gabor. And now he has his message. Barring an immediate rematch, he'll probably hang it up as well, and leave it to another light heavyweight to knock Calzaghe back down where he belongs at 168. There are several who can, including Chad Dawson, Glen Johnson, Antonio Tarver and even Roy Jones. This is the silver lining and I can't wait to see it. Unless of course the Pride of Wales also hangs it up. That would be an even bigger slap than anything he did to the Executioner this night.