Dawson Bests ‘The Magic Man’

By Francis Walker
Updated: October 14, 2008

NEW YORK — When Chad Dawson vacated the WBC light-heavyweight title a few months ago, he had already secured the biggest fight of his career. Dawson had finally landed a fight with “The Magic Man” Antonio Tarver for the unified IBF/IBO 175-pound belts after waiting two years.

During that time, both fighters have shared tip billing on nationally televised boxing events in the other’s hometown. Dawson is from New Haven, CT; Tarver, a Tampa, FL native.

Both Dawson and Tarver met on neutral ground at the Palms Casino & Resort in Las Vegas in one of the most eagerly awaited light-heavyweight fights in recent memory.

Dawson (27-0, 17 KOs) silenced all critics with a career-best 12-round unanimous decision over Tarver (27-5, 19 KOs): 118-119 and 117-110 (twice). His dazzling performance was perpetuated in the 12th and final round when he knocked Tarver down.

“Tarver fought a great fight and he had a little bit more than I thought he would, but I caught a lot of punches with my gloves,” Dawson said. “I was playing him. I worked him. Our philosophy is one round at a time and that’s what we did.”

From round one through twelve, Dawson proved why he felt he was an “all-around better fighter” than Tarver. Dawson’s punches were much faster, stronger, and crisper. He boxed inside, outside, and from side to side. Dawson even unleashed two-three, four-five punch combinations to Tarver’s head and body.

Speaking of body, Dawson landed some hard body shots into Tarver’s midsection. The young 26 year-old kept pressuring Tarver, who turns 40 in November. As the rounds went by one after another, so were the punches that kept Tarver off balanced.

Tarver did mount a comeback in the third round and did better as the fight reached the later rounds, but he looked so slow. Tarver’s punches lacked timing and solid delivery. It was though as if Tarver and his punches were weak.

Dawson was in attack mode all fight long, however, he did show defensive skills. When Tarver looked to land his moneymaking left hand, Dawson was nowhere to be found. Should Tarver find a way inside, Dawson kept his gloves high to protect his chin and temple.

Whatever Tarver threw, Dawson was ready and countered effectively. This had to have been the best fight in young Dawson’s career.

Peter surrenders, Klitschko claims WBC heavyweight belt

Vitali Klitschko (36-2, 35 KOs) took the WBC heavyweight title away from Samuel Peter (30-2, 23 KOs) on Saturday, October 11, at the O2 World Arena in Berlin, Germany. The fight ended when Peter quit on his stool after the eighth round.

The victory was both historical and unheard of, as both Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko became the first brothers in history to simultaneously hold portions of the world heavyweight championship.

“If you have big will, if you have a good dream, and support from my brother and family, I can do everything,” Vitali commented.

Only Leon and Michael Spinks were the first brothers to win the world heavyweight championship, but they didn’t do it simultaneously. Leon first beat the legendary Muhammad Ali on February 15, 1978.

Seven years later, Michael became the first light-heavyweight in boxing history to become heavyweight champion by outpointing the great Larry Holmes (September 21, 1985)

Even more astonishing, Vitali, 37, Ukraine, regained a heavyweight title in his first fight in more than 1400 days (nearly four years from his last fight). Vitali, who hasn’t fought in four years, retired in 2005 after numerous injuries.

He was granted the WBC “emeritus champion” title with a guarantee of earning a heavyweight title shot when ready to resume his career.

Vitali, without having an interim fight, handpicked Peter, 28, Akawibom, Nigeria. Nigerian puncher has been winning, but appeared vulnerable in his last few fights.

Peter looked slow, methodical, and easy to hit during his previous win against Oleg Maskaev in March. In October 2007, Peter was knocked down three times by Jameel McCline, who is not regarded as a big heavyweight puncher.

Vitali knew that if he could get himself in good shape and was a fraction of the fighter that went to war with Lennox Lewis (2003) and mauled Danny Williams (2004), he could beat Peter.

“I have my skills,” Vitali added. “I’m healthy. If I’m healthy I can show good performance.

Vitali, at 6-foot-7, controlled the 6-foot-1, Peter with his lengthy left jab from the middle of the ring. Vitali was also able to throw his right hand that kept Peter on the outside. Peter didn’t set up his punches. He simply lunged forward and threw only one punch at a time.

Vitali saw every punch coming.

Vitali was aggressive. He didn’t wait on Peter to get set and throw combinations. Peter didn’t apply pressure and didn’t take advantage of the fact Klitschko fought the entire bout with his hands down. Instead, Peter simply followed Vitali around and was hit with solid jabs and right hands.

Peter was in way over his head. His face was bruised and swollen. Peter had nothing left. After the eighth round, he quit on his stool.

What does Vitali’s win for the heavyweight division?

Vitali’s WBC title win puts the Klitschkos in position to rule the world heavyweight championship without having to unify the belts. Why should they fight one another?

Instead, the Klitschkos will more than likely take turns beating up on mandatory challengers and top-10 contenders. Fighters, in particularly American heavyweights, would have to travel to Germany underneath the K2 Promotions banner to try to relieve either Klitschko of their titles.

That’s easier said than done.