by Hans Olson
Adrian Diaconu is oozing confidence.
Adrian’s fight against “Bad” Chad Dawson—one of the most talented fighters in the 175 lb division— is one that has been years in the making. This weekend at the Bell Centre in Montreal, it will come to fruition. The scheduled 12 rounder will serve as HBO’s appetizer to Jean Pascal vs. Bernard Hopkins II.
A come-forward action fighter who always comes to fight, Adrian “The Shark” Diaconu is looking to do that and only that: fight.
“I have already trained well. I worked hard, I’ve had good sparring partners…I feel good! I am just waiting for May 21. I was supposed fight Chad in 2007. I broke my hand, the fight was pulled over. I was supposed to fight Chad for the WBC belt in 2008. Chad left the belt, and the fight was pulled over. Now we’re going to fight for a million boxing watchers. So on May 21, I’ll be ready for that.”
When the fight had originally been scheduled for September 29, 2007, Diaconu ran into some bad luck. Just a short time before the fight was to take place, Adrian broke his hand while sparing. An MRI exam later showed that Adrian had soft tissue damage in addition to the bone contusions on the base of his right hand. Adrian was replaced on short notice with Epifanio Mendoza, who would get TKO’d in the 4th by Dawson. Adrian did retain his #1 ranking by the WBC, and many thought the fight would eventually happen in 2008.
Both fighters pursued other endeavors; Dawson taking multiple fights with Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver for more exposure, Diaconu taking a few fights with Jean Pascal in regional super fights. The battles with Pascal proved daunting for Diaconu; he lost in back to back attempts against the hard hitting Haitian. Both fights were unanimous decision losses in front of rabid Montreal fight fans; fans who for those two nights split their loyalties between the two foreign born fighters whom they had embraced.
Bouncing back in October of 2010, Adrian returned with a 10 round unanimous decision win over division stalwart Omar Sheika on the undercard of Lucian Bute’s bout with Jesse Brinkley. Although ring rust clearly contributed to Adrian’s slow start in that fight, fans were left wondering what “The Shark” had left in the tank after he was dropped early in the bout. Adrian’s resilience hadn’t waned. He won virtually every round during the fight’s duration, firmly etching his name in the mix to compete at the forefront of the division.
Catching Chad Dawson in 2011 coming off of his first career loss, and fighting in front of his adopted hometown fans gives Adrian all the more reason to be confident; although nowhere close to bordering on cockiness. Adrian knows how dangerous a fighter Chad Dawson is. “To be honest, I didn’t see the Chad Dawson I used to see (in his fight against Pascal). I know every fight of Chad’s though; he comes back stronger, better. I take this fight seriously. I expect to beat him.”
If Adrian can pull the mild upset on Saturday night, it would seem to make perfect sense casting him against the victor of the evening’s main attraction, Jean Pascal vs. Bernard Hopkins—though only Dawson is contractually guaranteed such a shot upon scoring the win.
“To be honest with you, I’m just concentrating on Chad Dawson. I’m focused on this fight. If I win, I’m going to go forward after.”
Going forward has never been a problem for the Rumblin’ Romanian. Look for him to do just that against Chad Dawson on Saturday night.