by Kelsey McCarson
“Bad” Chad Dawson does something very few fighters actually pull off: he consistently lives up to his nickname. “Iron” Mike Tyson didn’t look like iron against “Buster” Douglas, who got busted up by Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield, who didn’t look like the real deal versus Lennox “The Lion” Lewis…you get the idea.
But Chad Dawson is different. He’s special. He’s one of a kind.
One way or another, he always fits the bill…he’s always bad. And that is not always a good (or bad) thing. Let me explain…
The Wrong Kind of Bad
Dawson is frustratingly gifted. He looks like a great boxer should look. He’s tall, fast and technically sound. He’s got good power. He appears to have a high ring IQ. He’s usually the better athlete in the ring in any given fight. He’s a southpaw.
He has all the parts of what should make a really great fighter, but something’s missing. It’s hard to place, but anyone that has seen him fight knows it. He doesn’t appear to be the sum of his parts. In fact, he actually appears less than the sum of them.
Call it whatever you want. To some, he appears lethargic. To others, he seems to run out of gas. Some say he gets flustered too easily. Others, that he’s bored. Whatever it is, there is just no denying it. It’s like he gives rounds away – even when he’s winning.
To be fair, he’s only had one loss, but that fight may very well be the perfect example of it. Dawson came into the fight as the favorite, but seemed to shrink in the moment of it all to the crude but passionate Jean Pascal. Where it looked like Dawson would be too much for Pascal to handle, in the end it was Pascal leaving the ring with his arms raised victorious while Dawson and his fans were left scratching their heads.
The Right Kind of Bad
A motivated Chad Dawson may very well be the baddest light heavyweight on the planet. When he brings the fight to his opponent, he looks like one of the best fighters in the sport regardless of weight class. The problem is that he doesn’t do enough of it.
Dawson has beaten some really good fighters already in his relatively short career. He handed Tomasz Adamek his first loss as a professional, eeked out a close decision against Glenn Johnson and dethroned Antonio Tarver for the light heavyweight crown. For good measure, he chased Joe Calzaghe into retirement, who by that time, was ready to go out on top rather than face the young, imposing challenger.
At some point in every one of his victories, Dawson looked like one bad dude. He worked the jab, stayed on top of his opponent with quick combinations and just looked like the better fighter. It’s times like that when he’s a total bad ass. It’s times like that when he looks unbeatable.
Time Will Tell
The good news for Dawson is that it appears he has the ability to correct whatever it is that’s keeping him from living up to his potential. Whether its apathy, lethargy or just old fashioned conditioning, theoretically, he can right the ship.
The bad news is that he inexplicably fired arguably the best trainer in boxing, Emanuel Steward, just weeks before his next fight.
Whether or not that will work out for him in the long run remains to be seen, as does how he’ll fare this Saturday night against one of the most brilliant technicians of all time, Bernard Hopkins.
If Chad Dawson is the wrong kind of bad, he (as well as the fight fans who pony up the dough for the PPV card), is in for a long, frustrating night. But if he’s the right kind of bad, he is just the type of fighter that can make Hopkins look real old, real fast.
Only time will tell which kind of “bad” Chad Dawson is remembered for, but a victory of Bernard Hopkins would go a long way to making sure it’s the one he wants.
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