Dawson Must Defend WBC Title Against Diaconu
By Nate Anderson: Undefeated WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (26-0, 17 KOs) has only 90 days to defend his title against the undefeated interim champion Adrian “The Shark” Diaconu (25-0, 15 KOs) or risk being stripped of his title. Dawson, however, most defend his title in Diaconu’s native Romania, because Ganker Promotions, who happens to be the promoter for Diaconu, won the rights to promote the fight with a purse bid to $1,813,000, outbidding Dawson’s promoter Gary Shaw, who bid $1,301,033. Having to travel all the way to Romania to defend his title in front of what will likely be a hostile crowd, Dawson, 25, has his work cut out for him.
Diaconu, 30, who represented Romania in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, is a power puncher with little hand speed, defeated Chris Henry in his last fight in April to win the WBC interim title. Originally from Romania, Diaconu now lives and fights out of Canada.
For the vast majority of his career, he’s fought almost entirely in Canada, only rarely fighting in Romania. Against Henry, then the #3 rated light heavyweight in the WBC, the Romanian crowd was a huge factor in the fight, as they were quite loud and cheered constantly for Diaconu throughout the 12-round bout, which Diaconu won by a close decision. Nevertheless, he looked average at times, very open to almost any punch that Henry threw at him. Diaconu also looked exhausted by the 6th round of the fight, and appeared to win some of the rounds based on his bigger shots.
Apart from that, Diaconu was out-punched in virtually every round of the fight. Trying to beat a fighter with the skills of Dawson will be a very tall order for Diaconu even under the very best of circumstances. Dawson has much better power, boxing skills and hand speed, and has been in with the much better competition, to boot. Unless Dawson melts under the pressure and noise of that the Romanian crowd will be making, this figures to be a fight that Dawson should win without too many problems. Though Diaconu is the interim champion, he’s faced very limited competition during his career. Before recently facing Henry, Diaconu’s biggest fight of his career was a 3rd round stoppage of Rico Hoye in May 2007.
Dawson, who’s considered by many boxing fans and writers alike to be the best fighter in the light heavyweight division, won the WBC light heavyweight title with a 12-round unanimous decision over Tomasz Adamek in February 2007. Before that, Dawson had proven himself with wins over Ian Gardner and Eric Harding. Since capturing the title, Dawson has successfully defended it three times, stopping two out of three of his opponents. Up until he faced Glen Johnson, who gave Dawson a very tough fight in April, Dawson was thought to be nearly invincible by many people.
Though Dawson eventually defeated Johnson by a narrow decision, the fight was a grueling bout for him, one in which he had to dig deep to pull out in the last rounds of the fight. However, Dawson’s speed and combinations were too much for the old war horse Johnson, who couldn’t keep up with the pace that Dawson set forth in the bout.