Hopkins settles score, knocks out Allen in 7th; IBF champ refuses to be pushed around in rematch


WASHINGTON -- It was another bizarre night of professional boxing at the Washington Convention Center last night.

International Boxing Federation middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins of Philadelphia and challenger Robert Allen of Atlanta continued their dirty dancing routine from last August.

Their previous match resulted in a "no contest" verdict when the fight ended in the fourth round with Hopkins stretched out among the spectators as a result of a push from the referee.

This time, Hopkins, making his ninth title defense, gained more than a measure of revenge. Comfortably leading on all three scorecards, Hopkins staggered Allen with a barrage of punches in the seventh round, prompting referee Rudy Battle to stop it at 1: 18.

Allen, who had accused Hopkins of taking a dive in their first encounter, offered little protest.

In many ways, this one was even stranger than the first brawl. Hopkins (35-2-1) made it apparent from the opening bell that he would not be pushed around.

Every time Allen (23-3-1) attempted to turn the fight into a wrestling match, Hopkins found a way to offset it. He sent Allen to the canvas three times in the fourth round as a result of two low blows and a head butt.

"You saw where he hit me," said the loser, who took at least one five-minute break in the wild fourth round after Hopkins caught him below the belt with a right uppercut. "I saw white after that low blow. But he also hit me with some good shots."

Hopkins, who generally delivers long speeches to the media, left the ring in a hurry after saying, "They've tried to blackball me in boxing, but they can't do it."

He returned to say, "It took me 15 months to beat somebody I knew I could beat. He tried to quit early. If they want to change this sport, they first have to change the politics."

Earlier bouts also had their surprising elements.

What was supposed to be little more than a workout for World Boxing Association super lightweight champion Sharmba Mitchell of Washington, turned into an extended 12-round battle with surprisingly stubborn Pedro Saiz of the Dominican Republic.

Mitchell (44-2), dazzling in winning the title last October, again exhibited a lot of flash and hand speed to gain a unanimous decision. One judge even gave him a 120-105 shutout. But Mitchell never seriously hurt his fellow left-hander (23-5-3). Mitchell said he may have broken his right hand in the fourth round throwing a hook.

Flashy Washington super lightweight Demarcus Corley (16-0-1) remained unbeaten by stopping overmatched Sergio Pena (5-9-1), Brooklyn, at 1: 26 of the fifth round.

Former middleweight king Keith Holmes (32-2), originally scheduled to fight a rematch with WBC champion Hassine Cherifi before the Frenchman hurt his back, needed only 1: 55 of the first round to dispose of Alex Lubo, Davie, Fla.

Pub Date: 2/07/99

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