Tuesday’s BASN Boxing Notebook

By Tom Donelson
Updated: May 10, 2009

Boxing Gloves IOWA CITY — Brian Vera, like many fighters, once had promise and dreams of championship fighter but last Friday, he was the opponent against the undefeated Craig McEwan, who’s from Freddie Roach’s stable. Last August, Vera defeated another prospect, Andy Lee, whose style was similar to McEwan.

This was followed by a devastating tough lost to yet another undefeated fighter, James Kirkland. Vera was facing his third undefeated prospect in a row and once again, he was the underdog.

The first round was a close round as McEwan connected from the outside and Vera attacked with over hand rights, though inefficiently. In the second round, McEwan boxed and popped combinations off Vera’s head and the key word was popped.

Throughout the fight, McEwan never had Vera in trouble and he connected on enough punches to have some impact.

In the third round, Vera finally closed the distance and on occasion, he struck his right hand over McEwan’s jab and the fourth round was nearly as close as Vera appeared to close the decision.

In the fifth round, McEwan used his boxing skills to out fox his opponent. Vera never could get off first and his first bull rush often missed. In the sixth and seventh rounds, McEwan took advantage of Vera’s wide punches as he scored with ease.

In the eighth round, Vera nailed McEwan with his best punch of the fight as he threw a right over another right jab that nailed McEwan. McEwan looked briefly stunned but he shook off the punch and boxed his way to easy victory as the judges had him taking seven of ten rounds.

Vera saw his career take another shot downward as he lost to his second undefeated prospect. As Teddy Atlas noted, his tough lost to Kirkland may have hurt him for this fight as he did not have the same determination as he did against Andy Lee last year.

The real question that remains is whether McEwan is a prospect or pretender. After this fight, McEwan may be more of a pretender as he showed little quickness for a boxer and no power to scare any top ten Middleweight or even junior Middleweight. He had a long amateur career but he has been protected in his career and as he moves up, there is little to suggest that he will be a champion.


The big fight of the weekend was the rematch between Chad Dawson and Antonio Tarver. This was a fight that would measure Dawson, who really didn’t care to fight Tarver again but had to fulfill a rematch clause.

For Tarver, this could be his last big chance at the main stage and historically, he had been a better fighter in rematches. Going into this fight, he was 3-0 with two knockouts in rematches but this was different.

He was fighting an opponent who was 14 years younger and quicker.

In the first round, the hand speed became obvious as Dawson out jabbed Tarver and the second round was no different. The third round saw Tarver pressuring Dawson and he outworked Dawson but this activity proved to be more of an illusion as Tarver played defense more than he attacked.

It would be Dawson who would the busier fighter and the more accurate.

In the fifth round, an exchange between both fighters saw Dawson stun Tarver with a straight left. Tarver retreated and Dawson pursued. In the seventh round, Tarver went after Dawson and nailed Dawson at the 1:30 market with a straight left and launched a series of combination.

The key moment of the fight occurred when Dawson fought back after being stunned. Dawson turned the aggressor and attacked Tarver in the eighth round and through the 10th round, he nailed Tarver with body shots followed by head shots.

His jab set up his head shots. Throughout the bout, he nailed Tarver with body shots 40% of the time and his defense often avoided many of Tarver hay makers.

Tarver fought Dawson in the eleventh on even terms and certainly took the twelfth round as he outhustled Dawson but by this time, it was too late. Dawson won a unanimous decision as two judges had him winning nine rounds and the other eight rounds.

Tarver came into this fight better prepared but Dawson actually did better as he connected on nearly twice as many punches as Tarver. He actually connected on more punches in their first fight and in this fight, Dawson showed variety of punches from body to the head.

Jabs followed by straight lefts to the head and body. Dawson added a right hand hook that shook Tarver body and slowed the 40 year old down while taking steam out of Tarver fearsome straight left.

The HBO announcers viewed Dawson as a B+ fighter in a C division and this may be the case but over the past years, he defeated the present Cruiserweight division champion Tomasz Adamek to gain his share of the light heavyweight championship and victories over Glen Johnson in a close fight as well as beating Tarver twice showed a young fighter maturing.

So he had beaten three of the elite fighters in the division but there are not many big names who will bring big bucks in the light heavyweight division but there are good fighters residing in Europe.

Fighters like the undefeated fighters like Zsolt Erdei and Adrian Diaconu reside in Europe and fight away from the watchful eyes of American boxing fans. This makes it harder for Dawson, who is not yet an big gate attraction on his own, to get that big fight within the light heavyweight division.

Dawson has two alternatives: the first is to challenge one of the more well known as super middleweight like Mikkel Kessler or Carl Froch but both of these fighters are European fighters and while they are more known since they received American coverage; they don’t have the same draw as Tarver or Johnson.

Dawson showed himself to be an improving fighter and is now the best light heavyweight in the world and should be recognized as such.