Chad Dawson: “I am still ‘Bad’

By By Francis Walker BASN Boxing writer
Updated: October 11, 2011

Chad Dawson

Chad Dawson

NEW YORK,NY (BASN)—When Chad Dawson defeated Tomasz Adamek to capture the WBC light-heavyweight championship in February 2007 under the watchful eye of Floyd Mayweather, Sr., his career took off. Nearly five years later, many are wondering whether if Dawson’s budded star has already maximized its full potential.

If so, that’s a shame.

“I am excited for Saturday night,” Dawson said. “I have been waiting for this. I am ready to show the world I am still ‘Bad’ Chad Dawson.”

In the biggest fight of his career, Dawson hopes to regain the WBC light-heavyweight championship when he challenges boxing’s oldest champion, 46 year-old Bernard Hopkins.

” Hopkins vs.

Dawson: Believe It or Not,” will be televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9 PM/ET on Saturday, October 15, from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

Dawson was at his most spectacular when he decisioned Antonio Tarver in October 2008. However, in the last three years, Dawson has left us with much to be desired while scratching our heads.

Dawson did score repeat points victories against 40 year-olds Tarver and Glen Johnson. Then he gets wiped by Jean Pascal for the WBC light-heavyweight title.

To make things even worse, Hopkins, at 46, not only fought Pascal to a disputed draw, but also threw Pascal’s yacht overboard by punishing him to become the oldest world champion in boxing history last May. While Dawson was breathing heavy between rounds against Pascal, Hopkins, against the same Pascal that beat Dawson, was doing push-ups between rounds.

“I don’t think Hopkins is more of a challenge than Pascal,” Dawson said. “Pascal fell into Hopkins’ game plan. He fell right into it. Everyone knows Pascal is a four-round fighter. I was looking for a knockout victory against Pascal. He didn’t really beat me. I beat myself.”

Fighters have to compensate physiologically following loss, especially after their first professional loss. If Dawson believes that Pascal really didn’t beat him and he ‘beat himself,’ he is entitled to think that way. At the end of the day, Dawson has to discover a game plan that will uncover the vulnerabilities against the boxing wizard known as Bernard Hopkins.

“I don’t want to give too much of my game plan away,” Dawson added. “I need to stay busy and not let Hopkins do what he does when he goes in with the razzle-dazzle moves.”

Dawson added: “I want to show I have a stiff jab. I want to break Hopkins down. I am going to be smart. I want to be a master boxer. It’s about going out and showing your skills.”

Hopkins has proven to be a fighting machine, while Dawson, who didn’t look great in his points victory against Adrian Diaconu in May, continues to stretch further and further away from the complete fighter that beat Tarver in the first of two matches.

Dawson knows he has to show a lot more on Saturday then what he’s displayed in the three years following the first of two Tarver victories.

Hopkins, clearly, will be the hardest fight of young Chad’s career.

Hopkins has seen everything there needs to be seen in the ring – boxers, punchers, southpaws, counter-punchers, aggressive fighters, clinchers, rough-house fighters, defensive wizards, knockout artists, and the list is on going.

The three main fighters to have beaten Hopkins – Roy Jones, Jr., Joe Calzaghe, and Jermain Taylor – each had the element of speed. Jones, Calzaghe, and Taylor never kept their hands stationary the way Pascal did. They simply moved their hands even when they weren’t punching. To time a punch, a fighter needs to see the direction of where the punch is coming from. It’s very difficult to see the angle of a punch when a fighter is moving their hands in different directions.

That’s something for Dawson to really think about.

Dawson needs to use his speed, keep his hands busy, and avoid fighting with Hopkins inside the clinch.

“I will be a problem for Bernard Hopkins and I think he knows that.”

Sergio Martinez Impresses Again

Sergio Martinez may very well be the best fighter in the world outside of Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquaio, and the Klitschko brothers.

Martinez (48-2-2, 27 KOs), fighting once again in the main event of an HBO World Championship Boxing broadcast from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ, recently knocked out previously undefeated Darrin Barker (23-1, 14 KOs) to referee Eddie Cotton’s 10-count at 1:29 seconds of the eleventh round.

Martinez may have a pretty boy face and a body any model would kill for, but he isn’t to be mistaken. Each time Martinez steps inside the ring he always jeopardizes his flawless appearance for the risk of getting hit.

It’s working because Martinez delivered another explosive performance against another undefeated fighter. The hook that Martinez landed behind Barker’s ear that ended his night on the canvas was tremendous.

“The most important thing isn’t how you start,” Martinez said. “It’s how you finish.”

In the beginning the heavily-favored Martinez was getting hit, as Barker managed to capitalize on landing enough punches to cause the former middleweight champion’s nose to bleed. It was discovered that Martinez suffered a nose fracture.

“It was a right hand that landed between the second and fourth rounds,” added Martinez, who couldn’t clearly when his nose was fractured.

Barker proved to be competitive, as the bout was surprisingly close early. The differences were simple: Martinez was the overall better fighter with better conditioning.

“I knew once I had the second wind, it was the end of the fight,” Martinez said.

Martinez’ power, speed, combination punching, and ring generalship was simply overall better executed than the skillset Barker displayed. Martinez’ power was clearly displayed in the last two rounds of the contest, as he sat on his punches. Martinez threw his jabs with more conviction. He put his combinations together and started hurting Barker, as his punches busted through Barker’s gloves more effectively. Barker’s face bloodied and reddened. Martinez continued punching hard until the knockout blow landed.

“Every challenger is a strong challenger and has their own way,” Martinez said. “I knew it would be this kind of fight. I planned for this. I knew I would get stronger as the fight went on. I knew I would land my right hand.”

At the time of the stoppage, Martinez was ahead on the official ringside judges’ scorecards: 99-91, 97-94, and 96-94 heading into the eleventh. Martinez threw more punches than Barker (691-408) and landed more shots (206-155). Martinez landed 138 of 329 power shots (42%). Barker planted 76 of 181 power punches (42%).

Martinez eyes Miguel Cotto

Martinez recently said he would risk going down to 150 pounds to fight either Mayweather or Pacquaio. Martinez, in addition, also expressed an interest in challenging WBA junior middleweight champion Miguel Cotto.

First, the Puerto Rican superstar is headed toward a rematch against Antonio Margarito. Cotto vs. Margarito will occur on Saturday, December 3, at Madison Square Garden, New York City.

“I love the big challenges,” Martinez said. “That is the motivation that I love. It’s not the same motivation you have to fight Barker, as opposed to Kelly Pavlik.”

Martinez has proven to be a fan of pursuing big challenges. Check the archives for is performances against Pavlik and Paul Williams.

As far as Cotto is concerned, Martinez said: “He will put on an excuse, on top of an excuse [not] to make the fight.”

Lee outpoints Vera

Once-beaten middleweight prospect Andy Lee (27-1, 19 KOs) avenged his 2008 TKO loss to Brian Vera (19-6, 12 KOs) with a 10-round unanimous decision victory. The judges scored the contest 99-90 (twice) and 98-95.

“Andy fought a great, great fight tonight,” Steward said afterward. “He simply had to systematically break him down. He beat him inside, outside, and kept him off balance with the right jab.”

Perhaps the highlight of the fight occurred when Lee dropped Vera with a straight-left toward the end of the second round. Overall, Lee easily out-boxed Vera behind his right-jab. Lee blocked Vera’s round-house right hands and countered with effective straight punches throughout the fight. Lee’s effective right-jabs and straight-lefts eventually cut Vera above the left eye. Vera kept moving forward trying to land his hooks. He caught Lee with several solid shots during the contest, but Lee’s chin held-up nicely.

Vera’s best round was perhaps the seventh round when he trapped Lee against the ropes and unloaded with combinations. Lee did a great job of moving away from Vera, blocking his punches, and creating distance to land the cleaner shots while making Vera miss consistently. Vera hit Lee with a hard right in the eighth round, but Lee, appearing unfazed, continued to out-box Vera.

Lee and Vera stood toe-to-toe in the middle of the ring and unloaded with some heavy arsenal. Vera did land a right hand that appeared to have hurt Lee. However, Lee covered in a crouching position and unleashed a left hand that hurt Vera against the ropes.

“It feels good,” said Lee, who gloated over the fact that he can now say he has defeated every man that he has ever fought. “I showed my motivation from the last fight. It feels good. “

Macklin eyes Martinez, America

Middleweight contender Matthew Macklin (28-3, 19 KOs) of the United Kingdom met with reporters in a press room prior to victories posted by both Sergio Martinez and Andy Lee at Boardwalk Hall on Saturday. Macklin was on hand doing ringside commentary for Sky Sports, who televised many of Darrin Barker’s fights through the years.

In June, Macklin challenged WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm in his native Germany. Macklin put on the best performance of his career, but didn’t earn the decision. Macklin lost a close unanimous decision (116-112 twice, 115-113).

“It was a good fight,” Macklin said. “A tough fight, but I didn’t think it was a close fight. I set a fast pace early and threw a lot of punches. There were times I thought I was a bit more gun ho than he was. If he hit me once, I’m going to hit him three times. He hit me three times. I’m going to hit him four-five times.”

Many people that saw the fight, including Mackin’s promoter Lou DiBella, believes Sturm should have lost the decision. DiBella would like to establish a solid following for Mackin along the east coast and perhaps put Mackin in a fight with Martinez in March 2012.

“He’s an exciting fighter,” DiBella said. “He likes to rumble. He’s a fun fighter. This is not a good time to dance backwards. Fighters that do that are not engaging with the fans. We are in the entertainment business.”

DiBella added, “A lot of exciting fights can be made with him in a mediocre division. That whole area of New York and Boston is riddled with a heavy Irish following. There are fights that I can make for him. His first fight can put in a small venue and bring in a big crowd. We’d be looking at the Beacon Theatre. The Garden has expressed interest in having Mackin fight there. Maybe even Foxwoods or a smaller venue in Boston.”

Macklin would love to fight a rematch with Sturm, but Martinez is the grand prize.

“He is on top of his game,” Mackin said of Martinez. “Martinez is a small junior middleweight. I am a big-punching middleweight. I throw a lot of punches. He main thing is getting the tactics right. You think you’re backing him up, but he’s really trying to get you to walk into something. I’m going to try and get him to come to me and hit him as he comes in.”

DiBella said a fight between Martinez and Mackin could occur in March 2012 at the earliest at Madison Square Garden close to New York’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration.