An Acquired Taste: Dawson vs. Stevenson

By Robert Ecksel on June 6, 2013
An Acquired Taste: Dawson vs. Stevenson
"I touch him, he's going to panic. He's got skill, but if you touch him, you can beat him.”

The average fight fan, without whom boxing would not exist, wants more than boxers who can box. They want boxers who can entertain…

On Saturday, June 8, at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada, in a fight broadcast live on HBO Boxing After Dark, WBC light heavyweight champion “Bad” Chad Dawson (31-2, 17 KOs) gets it on former super middleweight contender Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (20-1, 17 KOs).

This fight is not getting the attention it perhaps deserves. Dawson has never been a fan favorite, but it has less to do with his promoter Gary Shaw than it has to do with his clinical approach to boxing.

Dawson has wins over Antonio Tarver (twice), Glen Johnson (twice), and a no contest and majority decision over Bernard Hopkins. He is no knockout artist. Nor is he a compelling performer. But Dawson gets the job done, efficiently, effectively, in his own unhurried fashion.

In his last fight, Bad Chad suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Andre Ward, another fighter that the tag ‘fan favorite’ seems not to apply, and for many of the same reasons. Dawson, like Ward, is an acquired taste. How one acquires that taste is anybody’s guess. Maybe foregoing kung fu movies is a good place to start.

But the average fight fan, without whom boxing would not exist, wants more than boxers who can box. They want boxers who can entertain. They needn’t be able to sing and dance, but they had better be able to pulverize.

For some of us, misguided though we may be, being able to box is entertainment enough. For others, it’s an excuse to say “Maestro, please, strike up the band.”

“I expect the crowd to be against me,” said Dawson, who is used to having the crowd against him and is fighting on Stevenson’s home turf. “But I’m not worried about that because I know that I can win them over with my performance.”

That may be wishful thinking on Dawson’s part, but without wishful thinking, there might be no thinking at all.

“Stevenson is a worthy opponent but he’s not on my level. I’ve fought and won over there before,” Dawson said, referring to his May 2011 win over 27-2 Adrian Diaconu in Montreal, “so I hope he’s not banking on home field advantage because it’s going to take a whole lot more to beat me.”

The aforementioned fight against Ward wasn’t Chad Dawson at his best. After soundly defeating Bernard Hopkins in April 2012, following their WWF fight six months earlier, Dawson, in an ill advised move, dropped down to super middleweight and suffered the consequences.

“I was drained, dehydrated,” Dawson said. “People can say what they want, but they’re wrong. I made the weight and I went to Oakland, in his backyard, and I challenged him. Andre Ward’s a great champion, but let’s see what happens if we do that at light heavyweight. I’m a different fighter when I’m at 175 lbs.”

We shouldn’t expect a rematch, but not knocking Ward shows the stuff of which Dawson is made.

“I can say with absolute confidence that my power is back,” he continued, “and not just my power but my strength as well. It’s like I’m stronger in every aspect and it is playing a huge role in training camp. I’m strong enough to push myself more miles, strong enough to go more rounds, and I’m stronger at the end of my workouts.”

Dawson will need all the strength he can muster. The 35-year-old Stevenson may be five year older than Dawson. He may be two inches shorter than Dawson. He may have faced lesser opposition. He may lack finesse. But early stoppages are a Superman specialty.

“I understand that Adonis is a big puncher, but he’s getting into the ring with a different animal. Those 17 knockouts he got were against nobodies.”

However persuasive Dawson might sound, Stevenson isn’t buying what he’s selling

“When I touch him,” predicts Adonis, “he’s going to panic. Sure, he’s got skill, but if you touch him, you can beat him.”

Chad Dawson vs. Adonis Stevenson will be broadcast live on HBO After Dark this Saturday at 10:00 pm ET/PT. The co-main event features Yuriorkis Gamboa (22-0) vs. Darley Perez (28-0) for the WBA interim lightweight title.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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  1. Bk Don 04:02pm, 06/07/2013

    I actually think Dawson will score a rare knockout in this fight. Probably by the 9th or 10th inning when Superman has run out of steam. Stevenson can punch like a sledgehammer but he also has a chin like a King Khan. Plus, no one really knows if he will be able to land his power shots on a world-class fighter like Dawson. The crowd will be electric as it almost always is in Montreal. I’m looking forward to this one.

  2. AKT 03:15am, 06/07/2013

    I agree. The average fight fan is not concerned with the nuances of the art of boxing. It’s a pity because there is so much more to it.

  3. AKT 02:37am, 06/07/2013

    “That may be wishful thinking on Dawson’s part, but without wishful thinking, there might be no thinking at all.”

    This is a Robert Ecksel piece (I haven’t seen the author of this yet). If I am correct, I visit this site too often lol.

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 01:30pm, 06/06/2013

    Robert Ecksel-How does one define “fistic genius” or “fistic idiocy” for that matter?

  5. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:56am, 06/06/2013

    Robert Ecksel-“being able to box is entertainment enough”....count me in….my greatest regret is not having witnessed a bout between two ATG old timers described in an earlier article on your site. During the four round bout neither participant was able to land a scoring punch on his opponent….fistic genius at it’s highest level.

  6. Ted 06:04am, 06/06/2013

    Dawson will visit dreamland in this one. Stevenson can punch like a sledgehammer and Chad’s mental confidence has been shattered.

    Stupid matchup for Dawson; he should have picked a weaker opponent for a confidence builder.

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