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Dawson makes a statement against Johnson

07
Nov

Glen Johnson (left) seems to get the worst of this exchange with Chad Dawson on Saturday night in Hartford, Conn. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

HARTFORD, Conn. – Chad Dawson was looking for the chance to show what he is truly capable of, the chance to show he’s indeed the No. 1 light heavyweight in the world.

While Glen Johnson had fans crying on his shoulder in airports, lamenting his controversial loss to “Bad Chad” in April of last year, Dawson was stuck with an Antonio Tarver rematch that no one wanted to see and would prove very little. And Bernard Hopkins didn’t show any interest in Dawson (“Who’s Chad Dawson, why would I want to fight him, he’s not a name,” Hopkins once said).

Maybe it’s time “The Executioner” reconsider. Maybe it’s time boxing take a closer look at Dawson.



Dawson (29-0, 17 knockouts) came closer to delivering a more robust side of himself before 5,230 Saturday night at Hartford’s XL Center. He pelted the 40-year-old Johnson with a variety of rights and lefts, from all kinds of angles. He tripled-up, sometimes quadrupled-up his jab. He was emphatic, accurate and even sporadically exciting in dismantling a wily veteran who suddenly looked his age.

The southpaw’s dominating performance was enough to win on all three judge’s scorecards, getting a 117-111 verdict from Glenn Feldman, while somehow Duane Ford and Michael Pernick saw a closer fight, each giving Dawson a 115-113 decision. THE RING was more in line with Feldman, scoring it 118-110 for Dawson.

Entering the night, Hopkins carried THE RING’s 175-pound No. 1 ranking. By the end, that’s an arguable distinction.

This rematch was nowhere near as close as the first fight. Dawson was never in any trouble against Johnson (49-13-2, 33 KOs), controlling the fight from start to finish.

It could’ve been a case of Johnson aging rapidly because he seemed terribly slow at times, unable to hit Dawson with punches that connected in their first meeting 19 months ago.

It also could’ve been a case of a more-confident Dawson wanting to make a statement. Johnson picked up the pace in the sixth round, his best to that point, but Dawson was still more effective throughout.

There were times when Dawson fell into his comfort zone, flicking his jab instead putting his weight behind his punches. The pro-Dawson crowd even booed in the seventh. But Dawson quickly changed the pace, strafing Johnson once again in the eighth with a machine-run jab and heavy punches to the body. All Johnson was able to do was paw at the 27 year old.

There was a little one-upmanship between the ninth and 10th rounds, when Dawson refused to give ground to Johnson after the bell ended the round, allowing Johnson back into his corner.

Dawson can still be a maddening tease, jarring opponents, rocking them back — then letting up. There were still some cases of that against Johnson Saturday night, especially in the 10th, when he had Johnson on the defensive and then walked away. Think a poor-man’s Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a larger package.

Afterward, Johnson left his future in boxing open. He didn’t dispute the decision, as he did so vehemently the first time he met Dawson.

“I’m not sure I won the fight, but I thought I did enough, especially in the late runs,” Johnson said afterwards “He started running and I wanted to slow him down with body shots. I don’t know whether I’ll retire or not. I’ll see what phone calls I get and what makes sense. If nothing comes up worthwhile, I’ll retire. My whole game was to put pressure on him from the start. I thought I could run him out of gas, which I thought he was at the end.”

Dawson, fighting his home state, has the ability to be a much more pleasing fighter. He showed signs of that Saturday night.

“I tried to use all of the tools to my advantage tonight,” Dawson said. “I tried to land the big punches when I had to. It was important for me to put on a show for my hometown fans. I knew I couldn’t stay in there and get hit.”

But can Dawson ever change? Can he break that dominating, but not-pleasing tag?

“I think that’s who Chad Dawson is, I compare him to Mayweather, and I think he’s in the Top 5 pound for pound,” said Gary Shaw, Dawson’s promoter. “He has lightning-fast hands, I just don’t understand why he doesn’t walk someone down. I still don’t think he has the confidence to take people out.”

In the other televised bout, Alfredo Angulo stopped the game, but clearly overmatched Harry Joe Yorgey at 1:03 of the third round for some bogus junior middleweight alphabet interim title.

Yorgey (22-1-1, 10 KOs) did a nice job in the opening round, showing good movement early. He struck Angulo with a few jabs and, after striking, boxed well enough to got out of the way.

By the second round, the stalking Angulo (17-1, 14 KOs) found a comfortable distance. He trapped Yorgey against the ropes and clubbed him on the side of the head with a big right hand that got Yorgey in serious trouble. Yorgey finally fell under a barrage of rights. As the round continued, Yorgey was clearly out on his feet, stumbling behind referee John Callas, who didn’t see the trouble he was in.

Angulo landed 52 of 81 power shots in the second round alone, and had connected on 58 of 108 through the first two rounds.

Smelling blood and a fighter on wobbly legs, Angulo went in for the kill in the third, bashing Yorgey with a left hook to the chin and right to the head that dropped Yorgey for good. Callas finally waved it off, looking down at the unconscious Yorgey.

“Once I started hurting him to the body, I knew the fight was going to be over,” Angulo said through a translator. “That’s when he put his hands down. That’s when I hurt him the most. That’s what started and finished this fight.”

“I felt I won the first round, and I was beating him to the punch, but he kept coming,” a rather groggy Yorgey said afterward. “It was a shot to the back of the head that hurt me in the second round.”

Yorgey’s camp felt Angulo should have been disqualified when their fighter was hit twice while he was on the ground.

Joseph Santoliquito is the managing editor of THE RING magazine.

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