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Dawson – The New King of The Light Heavyweight Division

Antonio Tarver Chad Dawson Joe CalzagheBy William Mackay: Now that Joe Calzaghe has bowed out of boxing, it leaves IBF light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (27-0, 17 KOs) alone at the top of the light heavyweight division. Although he’s currently sharing the top spot with fellow champions Adrian Diaconu, Zsolt Erdei and Hugo Garay, it’s safe to say that Dawson would easily beat the whole bunch if the fight were to take place on neutral territory and not on Romania, Germany or Argentina.

Dawson, 26, wanted to fight Calzaghe before he retired, but sadly, Joe felt that he had beaten all the top fighters already and didn’t need to fight Dawson. To his credit, Dawson wasn’t bitter about it, saying that he applauded Joe’s decision to hand up the gloves on his own terms.

As it turns out, Calzaghe chose perhaps the best time to get out, because Dawson with his power, speed and size would have had an excellent chance of not only giving Calzaghe a tough fight, but also of beating him. Dawson has all the qualities that many of the top light heavyweights like Bernard Hopkins, Erdei, Garay, Diaconu and Calzaghe are missing.

At 6’3″, with blazing fast hands, excellent stamina and a southpaw stance, Dawson may be the best fighter that either of the super middleweight and light heavyweight divisions has ever seen. That’s no slight against Calzaghe, because he was a good fighter against the limited competition that he fought during his career, but Dawson appears to be the complete package. He’s got knockout power and speed to burn and doesn’t just beat a fighter, he destroys them in the process.

In his last fight, Dawson totally outclassed IBF light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver on October 11th, 2008, beating him by a 12-round unanimous decision. Due to a rematch clause that he had in the contract, Tarver was allowed to get an immediate rematch with Dawson which will take place on March 14th at the Palms Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Dawson is expected to win that fight as easy as he won the last one. Dawson wants to go after someone like Paul Williams next if Williams can meet him at the 168 pound limit, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to make the light heavyweight limit of 176.

A fighter that many boxing fans want Dawson to face again is Glen Johnson, who Dawson beat by a 12-round decision in April 2008. Dawson would probably be facing him now if not for the rematch clause of Tarver. Many fans who feel that Dawson is dodging a rematch with Johnson are ignorant about the rematch clause in his fight with Tarver, and mistakenly assume that Dawson is afraid of Johnson. That’s the farthest from the case, because Dawson isn’t the least afraid of fighting Johnson and would likely be doing it now if not for the clause in the contract with Tarver.

Besides Johnson, Tarver and Williams out there for Dawson, there’s also Bernard Hopkins, who’s looking for a big money fight in 2009. However, Hopkins, like Calzaghe before him, doesn’t appear to be interested in fighting Dawson, mentioning that he doesn’t want to beat another up and coming fighter.

That may be a good thing for Hopkins, because Dawson is young and hungry, and he’d be a tough task for him with his superb skills. This wouldn’t a simple of case of fighting a slapper like Calzaghe, who Hopkins was able to get the better of much of the fight with power shots. Dawson would probably be too much of a risk with not enough of reward for Hopkins to want to take a chance on fighting him.

Personally, I see Dawson beating both Hopkins and Calzaghe, which is why it’s good that these two guys don’t fight him. I think Dawson with his incredible skills and speed, should be able to run the table in 2009 and 2010, beating both Tarver and Johnson again, then move on to Williams and beating one or more of the other light heavyweight champions in unification matches.

Like I said, if Dawson can meet up with those fighters on neutral territory, he can easily beat them by a lopsided decision. Even fighting in their country, I’d give Dawson an excellent chance of knocking them out.


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