Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Photographers' Blog:

“The Cruncher”

By Tim Shaffer

On paper it would be any Philadelphia area sports fans dream, The Bernard Hopkins/Chad Dawson boxing re-match sandwiched between the Phillies versus the Cubs and a Flyers versus Devils NHL playoff game.

In my mind I knew that this could very well be the final fight for the aging Bernard Hopkins. The Philadelphia native was dropped to the canvas and injured his shoulder in the first meeting in Los Angeles, which was declared a no-contest. After my arrival at historic Boardwalk Hall I found my spot, set up my laptop and my cameras and waited for the show to begin. Upon inspection of the undercard I noted a few of the fights and decided to do a little warm up for the main event.

I was interested in shooting the third fight on the card. The bout featured light heavyweight boxer Lavarn Harvell from Atlantic City, who was undefeated at 9-0, against Tony Pietrantonio from Sharon, Pennsylvania. This was only a four round fight and normally would not carry national interest. Early in the fight it appeared that Harvell was overpowering Pietrantonio and expecting a knockout. I paid close attention.

As the third round started Harvell cornered Pietrantonio and slugged him in the head for a knockout. Pietrantonio fell to the canvas, out cold. I patiently watched for movement as the medical professionals tended to the boxer. Thankfully Pietrantonio started to move and appeared stable as he left the ring. As I looked through my images from the fight I discovered a picture of the knockout punch at the moment of impact. I have documented a number of fights over the years but that peak action point shot of impact boxing had always avoided my camera. Not this time, and what a doozy.