Junior welterweight prospect Malik Hawkins stayed unbeaten tonight in Atlanta, though the victory probably didn’t come the way he’d have preferred, as he picked up a TKO-5 over Darwin Price when Price suffered a knee injury.
Hawkins (18-0, 11 KO) and Price (16-1, 9 KO) were in the midst of a really interesting fight that might have gotten very intriguing down the stretch, as Price was largely outboxing Hawkins, but Hawkins had shown on a couple of occasions already that he had the power to hurt Price, including clearly so in the fourth round before Price recovered and actually closed out the round pretty nicely.
Hawkins, a 23-year-old from Baltimore, did what he had to do in round five when the 30-year-old Price, based in Houston, pulled up limping after taking an awkward step, as Hawkins closed in and looked to finish. Price was unable to hold — he was barely able to stay standing — and when the referee broke the action up, Price immediately pointed to his knee. The doctor took a look, but anyone watching the live stream could see that Price’s knee was done for the evening, there was a visible injury there.
The fight had to be stopped, giving Hawkins the win and sending him moving forward to the next fight, still undefeated. It’s obviously a terrible break for Price, who missed all of 2018 and was 3-0 this year, trying to stay active and get his career moving. Hawkins may want to take a sideways step next, as he was having some trouble here, though certainly flashing his skills, too; there might be value in getting him more experience before any really big steps up, and 140 is a very good division, there’s no rush to a title fight or anything.