Head to head: Dawson vs. Pascal
CHAD DAWSON vs. JEAN PASCAL
When: Saturday, Aug. 14
Where: Montreal, Quebec
TV: HBO, 7:30 p.m. PT/ 10:30 p.m. ET
Weight: Light heavyweight (175 pounds)
Title(s) at stake: None
Also on the card: Tony Luis vs. Adrian Verdugo, eight rounds, lightweights.
Height / Reach: 6-1 (185cm) / 76¾ (194cm)
Turned pro: 2001
Record: 29-0 (17 knockouts)
Trainer: Eddie Mustafa Muhammad
The Ring rating: No. 1 light heavyweight
Titles: WBC light heavyweight (2007-08; stripped); IBF light heavyweight (2008-09; vacated).
Biggest victories: Tomasz Adamek, Feb. 3, 2007, UD 12 (wins first title); Glen Johnson, April 12, 2008, UD 12; Johnson, Nov. 7, 2009, UD 12; Antonio Tarver, Oct. 11, 2008, UD 12; Tarver, May 9, 2008, UD 12.
Height / reach: 5-11 (180cm) / 67 (170cm)
Hometown: Laval, Quebec, Canada (from Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Turned pro: 2005
Record: 25-1 (16 knockouts)
Trainer: Mark Ramsay
The Ring rating: No. 2 light heavyweight
Titles: WBC light heavyweight (2009-present).
Biggest victories: Adrian Diaconu, June 19, 2009, UD 12 (wins title); Diaconu, Dec. 11, 2009, UD 12; Silvio Branco, Sept. 25, 2009, TKO 10; Kingsley Ikeke, Aug. 3, 2007, UD 12.
Biggest loss: Carl Froch, Dec. 6, 2008, UD 12 (only loss).
Skills: Both fighters are athletically gifted boxers who are at their best when they are sticking and moving behind a jab. Dawson does this better and more consistently than Pascal. Dawson also possesses superior technique and defensive skill.
Power: Dawson, a self-defined “pure boxer,” was an above-average puncher early in his career when he was a middleweight/super middleweight prospect. However, as a light heavyweight, he’s only scored two knockouts in the past four years and those stoppages were against journeymen Jaime Hearn and Epifanio Mendoza. Pascal has displayed one-punch KO ability at super middleweight and good power at light heavyweight. He rocked Froch a few times during their 12-round slugfest and dropped Diaconu in their first bout.
Speed and athletic ability: Both fighters are gifted with elite-level speed, coordination and reflexes. Dawson is a bit faster and more fluid. Pascal is stronger and more explosive.
Defense: Dawson is a slick boxer who utilizes constant footwork and head movement which minimizes his opponents’ ability to land clean shots. Pascal is more aggressive and offense-minded, which, coupled with his habit of leaving his hands down by his waist, leaves him open for incoming punches.
Experience: Both fighters have been in with solid opposition for much of their careers, however, the 60 rounds Dawson went with former champs Adamek, Tarver and Johnson have given him a decided edge in pro seasoning.
Chin: Dawson has been dropped in bouts against Adamek and Eric Harding. He was rocked late in his first fight with Johnson. Dawson also reportedly hit the canvas against journeyman Willie Lee, who he stopped in three rounds early in his career. Pascal, whose chin absorbed numerous flush power shots during his barnburner with Froch, has never been down.
Conditioning: Both Dawson and Pascal are dedicated athletes who are used to fighting the 12-round distance. Both men sometimes fade a bit in the late rounds of hard fights, but that’s understandable given their usual high-punch output.
Wear and tear: Both men have been in tough fights (Dawson’s first fight with Johnson, Pascal’s lone loss to Froch) but neither has been in a debilitating war. Both fighters are in their athletic primes.
Corner: Pascl is trained by one of Canada’s most respected young trainers, Marc Ramsay, who has also trained two-time junior welterweight title challenger Herman Ngoudjo and welterweight fringe contender Antonin DeCarie. Ramsay, who also serves as the matchmaker for Pascal’s Montreal-based promotional company, GYM, obviously has a sharp boxing mind, however, he does not have the knowledge that Dawson’s trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad has gleaned from a lifetime worth of experience as a fighter and coach. Muhammad is a former light heavyweight contender and titleholder who was trained (at different times during his career) by the legendary trio of Chickie Ferrara, Slim Robinson and Archie Moore. As a trainer he worked with former titleholders Iran Barkley and Carl Daniels.
Outcome: Both fighters will begin the fight boxing behind crisp jabs, however, Dawson’s quicker feet and more fluid straight shots will enable him to position himself to beat Pascal to the punch. Dawson will find counter-punch opportunities early in the bout due to Pascal’s squared-up stance and wide power punches. The southpaw will land quick one-two combinations that back Pascal to the ropes where the American standout will try to press his advantage with body-head combinations. But Dawson’s aggression will cost him when a covering-up Pascal explodes with a power punch that lands while he is punching. Dawson will be badly wobbled by the surprise punch, sparking the vocal Montreal crowd and motivating Pascal to gun for a knockout. Pascal will do his best to finish the show, winging power shot after power shot at his wounded, reeling foe. However, Dawson will roll with Pascal’s follow-up punches and backpedal away from the Haitian-Canadian to survive the rocky moment and return to boxing from the outside for the remainder of the bout.
Prediction: Dawson by close unanimous decision.