A Sobering Setback for BJ Penn

February 2, 2009, 9:21 AM HST · Updated February 2, 10:31 AM
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The pen may be mightier than the sword, but Hawaii’s BJ Penn was not mightier than Georges St. Pierre, confirming the old sports adage that a good big man almost invariably beats a good little man.

Historically, that’s been the case in boxing, with a long list of light-heavyweight champions who have gotten their clocks cleaned when bidding to move up in weight.

And it was again the case on Saturday night in Las Vegas, as Penn sustained a frightful beating at the hands of the Canadian St. Pierre before the bout was thankfully – and rightfully — stopped after the fourth round on the advice of the ringside doctor.

The welterweight bout was billed as the best matchup in UFC history, and Penn – the reigning lightweight champ — enjoyed the support of most of the nearly15,000 fans at the MGM Grand.

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Instead, it turned out to be an utter mismatch as Penn came up hugely short in his bid to hold UFC titles simultaneously in two weight divisions.

The two men met three years ago, with St. Pierre pulling out a narrow split decision.  This time, it wasn’t even close.

After an uneventful first round, St. Pierre took command of the bout from early in the second round, repeatedly taking Penn to the canvas and pummeling his opponents with heavy blows over the ensuing rounds before the bout was stopped.

Penn was taken to a hospital immediately after the fight and did not attend the post-bout press conference.  In the end, this was all about the bigger, stronger man dominating a game, but smaller opponent.

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