Sunday, May 28, 2023  |



Is Chad Dawson ducking Glen Johnson?

Fighters Network

The manager and promoter of Chad Dawson (left) say a rematch between their fighter and Glen Johnson (right) is not a marketable option for the undefeated light heavyweight titleholder. Could hard punches – like this right cross that Johnson landed during their 2008 first fight – be a factor in Team Dawson not wanting to face the 40-year-old veteran again? Photo by

On two occasions during HBO’s broadcast of Chad Dawson’s rematch win over Antonio Tarver on May 9, Max Kellerman brought up Glen Johnson, whom Dawson beat by a close decision in April 2008, and who has been lobbying for a rematch in the year since.

The second time, which occurred during Kellerman’s postfight interview, prompted Dawson, whom The Ring ranks second at light heavyweight, to go suddenly mute.

For viewers, it was an odd and somewhat baffling moment for a fighter who is young, undefeated, considered on the rise and, importantly, is being talked about as one of the best fighters in the world, pound-for-pound.

The boxing media largely panned Dawson’s rematch with Tarver before it even took place because of the uncompetitive nature of their first match, which Dawson won easily. You couldn’t fault Dawson for taking it; there was a rematch clause in the contract.

But it seemed a slap in the face to Johnson, who gave Dawson a much harder fight than did Tarver, and in the eyes of many (not mine, for the record), deserved the decision.

Worse, Dawson’s repeated refusal to again face the fighter who gave him the hardest fight of his career implies a conspicuous lack of backbone.

“Chad Dawson is a woman in man’s body. He doesn’t have any balls to face me again,” Johnson recently told

“The only people that don’t want (the rematch) are Dawson and his promoter. They don’t believe they can win. They’re only calling out people they know they can beat.

“You fight for the public. They pay you. That’s who we fight for, and the TV companies. If the TV people who pay you want it, and the public wants it, why wouldn’t the fighter want it? And if the first fight is a controversial, close fight, why wouldn’t the fighter want it?”

As you might expect, Dawson’s team sees it differently (several attempts to reach Dawson directly were unsuccessful).

“Chad proved his point with Glen Johnson,” said Mike Criscio, Dawson’s manager.

“Everybody said he was afraid to fight him, then he fought him and proved his point. He beat him by four or five rounds (Editor’s Note: all three judges scored the bout 116-112 in Dawson’s favor) and now that’s not good enough. He’s ready to move on. Glen just doesn’t offer us anything. Chad just wants to move on to bigger fights.

“The guy has nothing to bring to us. He has 12 losses and no title. There would be no money involved.”

Gary Shaw, Dawson’s promoter, told he is pursuing fights with any number of presumably better, higher-profile fighters than Johnson.

“There’s (Mikkel) Kessler, (Carl) Froch, (Lucian) Bute, (Adrian) Diaconu, Arthur Abraham, (Joe) Calzaghe if he wants to come back, (Bernard) Hopkins. There is nobody we will not fight and we’re all working hard to get Chad a big fight. Nobody is ducking Glen because we’re afraid of him,” Shaw said.

Henry Foster, Johnson’s manager, scoffs at the list.

“They know they stole a decision in the first place,” he said. “Absent a demand by the media to fight Glen or go home, he’ll pick anyone else. The names Shaw has put out are a joke. The Europeans are unknown over here and unmarketable. Froch beat Taylor but what else has he done? Kessler isn’t known over here and if he is, it’s as a loser to Calzaghe.”

Shaw countered that Johnson has done nothing to earn a rematch with Dawson.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Johnson and his manager,” he said. “If he fought and beat Joe Calzaghe or some other big name or had a title it might be different. But you don’t have one guy beating top guys and the other beating no one. He’s been fighting keep-busy bums in Florida. What has he done since the first fight? If he wants a rematch he should have done something in the meantime.”

(For the record, Johnson has fought twice since the loss to Dawson; a fourth-round stoppage of Aaron Norwood in Florida in November of 2008, and a one-sided, ESPN-televised victory win over Daniel Judah in February of this year, also in Florida. Neither Norwood nor Judah are rated in the top-10 by The Ring.)

One could argue quite easily that few ranked fighters are eager to face Johnson, a 40-year-old package of hell from first round to last. But that’s not Dawson’s fault.

At any rate, Shaw’s arguments seem reasonable enough, but we’re used to expecting more from fighters we think may be among the ten best in the world. Try to imagine Manny Pacquiao walking away from such a rematch, or Juan Manuel Marquez. Or Israel Vazquez.

Bernard Hopkins never ducked anyone at middleweight for any reason and though you certainly can make the case he’s ducking Dawson, at this stage of his career, he’s earned the right.

Even Calzaghe, whom I blasted for a long time for the quality of his opposition (and who once backed out of a scheduled fight with Johnson, incidentally), eventually stepped up and fought the best in fight after fight.

In 2002, Floyd Mayweather beat Jose Luis Castillo in a fight many thought Castillo won. How did Mayweather respond? He gave him an immediate rematch and beat him again, this time more convincingly.

Shaw is undeterred, saying he is ruled largely by HBO and Showtime and the sanctioning bodies; the IBF, he said, will strip Dawson if Dawson doesn’t next fight Tavoris Cloud.

“Chad wants to keep moving on to bigger fights. He said that Glen took him into deep waters. It was a close fight and a good fight and the judges decided Chad won — in Florida. Chad doesn’t really want the fight again. That chapter is over.”

He added: “The public is not screaming for Dawson-Johnson II.”

Is he right?

Email your thoughts on whether or not you’d like to see a Dawson-Johnson rematch to [email protected] I’ll run the results and any interesting comments in next week’s column.

Some random observations from last week:

The only thing that performed better than Andre Ward Saturday night was my TV remote’s mute button, which Nick Charles convinced me for the 119th time is the greatest invention in the history of Western civilizationÔǪ

Kudos to Michelle Corrales for launching the Diego Corrales Foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to “focusing efforts on providing disadvantaged children with the essential tools needed to excel in education, career opportunities, and in life.” Perhaps it can start with the six kids Corrales left behind when he got drunk, hopped on his crotch rocket and drove it like a maniacÔǪ

I see Miguel Cotto outboxing Joshua Clottey and winning a decision by about 8-4 in rounds or 9-3. We’ll seeÔǪ

Kevin Johnson is far from a perfect heavyweight, but he looked vastly improved since the last time I saw him. He’s developed a good left hook and right hand, and, more importantly, went after Devin Vargas, just like he said he would. Good for him. I want to see more. ÔǪ

On the other hand, I can’t recall the last time I saw a heavyweight so eager to get out of a fight than Vargas clearly was. Who are the 17 guys he’s beaten, the executive members of the Kelly Clarkson fan club?ÔǪ

I’m still waiting for Bernard Osuna to say something interesting on Friday Night Fights. I’ll give him this: he can roll his R’s like nobody’s businessÔǪ

How big is boxing in Germany? 5,000 fans showed up to watch 40-year-old Frans Botha, of all people, beat Tino Hoffman. That’s bigÔǪ

I’m picking Juan Manuel Marquez to beat Floyd Mayweather. There, I said itÔǪ

Congratulations to The Ring colleague Don Stradley, who pulled in two top Barney awards in the annual writing competition sponsored by the Boxing Writers Association of America. If you’re not reading THE RING, you’re missing out. And just because something’s a shameless plug doesn’t mean it’s untrue.

Bill Dettloff can be contacted at [email protected]