Hopkins was ruled a second-round technical knockout loser in the fight after he was driven to the ground by Dawson and injured his shoulder.
However, the WBC reviewed the incident and declared a technical draw, giving the title back to Hopkins.
The 46-year-old Hopkins missed with an overhand right as his opponent ducked, and Dawson then used his left arm to hook under the right leg of Hopkins, using his shoulder to drive him to the ground.
Hopkins' elbow hit the ground first and he winced in pain, staying on the canvas below the ropes and pointing to his left shoulder.
Instead of ruling the fight a no-contest, referee Pat Russell said there was no foul by Dawson and ruled the bout a TKO because Hopkins was injured and unable to continue.
But x-rays ended any speculation that Hopkins was faking the injury. According to the WBC, Hopkins was diagnosed with a separated shoulder.
The WBC released on statement explaining its decision:
"The WBC Board of Governors, after reviewing the video of the fight, unanimously declared that the action reflects a clear intentional lifting the body followed with a push by Dawson to Hopkins that made him fall on his left side with part of his body out of the ropes.
"The California Hospital Medical Center report was also considered by the Board, which states 'Bernard Hopkins has been released from the California Medical Center in Los Angeles after being x-rayed and examined by Dr. Sam Thurber, MD who diagnosed Hopkins with a separation of the acromioclavicular (A-C) joint which connects the collar bone and shoulder blade.'
"The WBC considered that point 29 of the Rule WC-34, related to fouls was violated: 'Any rough tactics other than clean punches,' covered the ruling of the WBC.
"WBC rule WC-32 was followed for the board's consideration: 'Injuries from head butts, elbows, or other accidental or illegal actions (injury). The following description applies to injuries from not only head butts and elbows, but from any other accidental or illegal action as well.
"If the bout can not continue:
- There will be a point deduction
- Technical draw if before the start of the fifth round
- Technical decision as per scorecards, (if after the fifth).
"Article WC-33 was also considered:
- Body Fouls - except as provided below, there will be no disqualification for fouls to the body. The referee, at his discretion, determines that there was a foul and the ring doctor determines that the fouled boxer cannot continue, the offending boxer will be disqualified. If the doctor determines the fouled boxer can continue fighting but he does not continue, he will lose by abandonment.'"
While Hopkins will get hit title back, the results of the fight will not be official because the California Commission is the organization that reports the official results of the fight to Fight Fax, which is the official record keeper of boxing.
The California Commission is scheduled to meet on December 13.