Story By: Michael Colapietro of Boxing Dispatch:
Chad Dawson’s most adamant critics have shown nothing but respect for his pugilistic skill but have routinely brought into question his pugilistic will.
“Bad” Chad Dawson?
Perhaps “technically sound” Chad Dawson or “mildly aggressive” Chad Dawson would be more appropriate.
Dawson’s lack of a fan base forced his fight on Saturday night to be held north of the border at the Bell Centre in Montreal, the hometurf of his opponent, Jean Pascal.
Dawson did a lot of stalking and posing throughout the fight, but Pascal was the aggressor, taking the fight to Dawson, landing big right hands and building a comfortable lead.
Dawson was cautious through the first 8 rounds of the fight, jabbing to find range with his incredible nine-and-a-half inch reach advantage but only on occasion using the jab to set up power shots.
“Pascal, with his short alligator arms, is going to be getting picked apart all night long by Dawson with his much longer reach,” opined Dave Lahr of Boxingnews24.com before the fight.
But, for most of the fight, Pascal, who would jump in and throw the big shots that got the attention of the fans and judges, had Dawson in a death roll.
Dawson was hurt by big shots in the 7th, 8th and beginning of the ninth round.
Sometime during the fight though, around the mid-9th or tenth round, behind on the cards and needing a knockout or several knockdowns to win the fight, Chad Dawson quit throwing stones to hide his hands and truly looked “Bad”.
In the eleventh round, Pascal was tired and Dawson began firing on all cylinders, smothering Pascal with punches and for the first time of his career, melding the understood skill with newly found will.
During the first and second barrages of the round, HBO analyst Jim Lampley stated his belief that Pascal was out on his feet and looked ready to drop at any time.
Before the fight was called on a cut caused by a collision of heads with a little over a minute left in the 11th, Dawson had thrown 59 punches in the round, landing 18, one of them a big left uppercut which stunned Pascal and shifted a ‘probable’ Pascal decision to a ‘possible’ Pascal decision.
“Neither of these fighters has ever stopped an important opponent,” Ringside commentator Larry Merchant observed in the 5th round.
With a premature ending to Dawson-Pascal, we will never know what the rest of the eleventh and the possibility of a twelfth round would have brought, but it looked as if Pascal was far ahead in numbers but closer to the canvas than to a final bell.
The fight might have been the first loss of Dawson’s career but also might have been Dawson’s first victory in his fight for a solid fan base and respect in boxing circles.
“We gonna do it again, we’ve got to do it again,” Dawson said in his post-fight interview.
Let’s hope he shows up at the rematch “Bad”.