Bio: Chad Dawson
13-09.07 - Chad Dawson was born in Hartsville, S.C., and grew up with his four brothers and two sisters. When Chad was just 6, father Rick, who was once a professional himself, moved the family to New Haven, Conn..
Article posted on 13.09.2007
“I think his last pro fight was around the time I was born” Chad said. “He was a full-time fighter but things did not work out like he had planned. At the time, he had about five kids already, so he had to get a job. He did a lot of different things. In South Carolina, where we were from, there really was not much work at the time. That is why we moved up to New Haven and that’s where I’ve lived ever since.”
Growing up in a boxing family, Chad has been a boxer since he could walk. The sweet science came naturally to Dawson, and the influence of his father can still be seen in his style. Born a natural right-hander, Dawson opted to fight left-handed, just like his father.
“When we were little kids, my dad would have me and my brothers box,” Dawson said. “We would have little boxing tournaments, just among us. My father brought me to the gym when I was 10 or 11 years old.”
He picked up his nickname outside the ring when he was a youngster. Always quiet, his friends decided he must be devious. “I was so quiet that everybody always thought I had something up my sleeve. Somebody called me ‘Bad’ Chad when I was about 10 or 12 years old and the nickname just stuck.”
A tall, lanky and athletically gifted boxer, Dawson compiled a strong amateur record of 67-13 and became the U.S. National under 19 165-pound champion. He turned professional on Aug. 18, 2001, with a second-round technical knockout over Steve Garrett at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn.
After reeling off nine wins, Dawson was sent to the canvas in the second round by journeyman Shannon Miller on Feb. 1, 2003. Dawson easily overcame the flash knockdown to win a unanimous six-round decision.
Dawson had a similar experience the following month when former U.S. National junior amateur champion Willie Lee (10-1) scored an opening-round knockdown. Dawson rallied and rocked Lee with a series of punches that caused the referee to halt the bout at 2:38 into the third round at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn.
Dawson capped off a busy 2003 by scoring a technical knockout in the fifth round over former North American Boxing Federation junior middleweight champion Brett Lally (31-11) on Aug. 1, and Dawson captured the World Boxing Council youth middleweight title by scoring a TKO over Dumont Welliver on Halloween.
The only blemish in Dawson’s career came on March 27, 2004, when he faced Aundalen Sloan on the undercard of Vinny Paz’s farewell fight against Tocker Pudwill at Foxwoods. Dawson outworked Sloan, consistently landing the sharper punches before winning a six-round unanimous decision by identical scores of 60-54 on all three cards. After Dawson tested positive for marijuana in the post-fight drug test the result was later changed to a no contest. Dawson also was suspended for 90 days and fined $1,000.
In his next appearance, Dawson successfully defended his WBC youth title by recording a lopsided 10-round unanimous-decision win over previously undefeated Darnell Wilson (8-0-1) at Foxwoods on Oct. 29, 2004. Dawson consistently outworked Wilson, a 1996 U.S. Olympic alternate, and was the more accurate puncher.
Dawson successfully defended his WBC youth middleweight crown for the second time with a seventh-round TKO over former world champion (WBF) Carl Daniels (49-4-1) on Dec. 10, 2004, at Foxwoods.
A career bellwether occurred when Dawson stepped into the ring on Nov. 18, 2005, opposing respected Ian Gardner (19-2) for the vacant North American Boxing Organization super middleweight title.
Headlining for just the second time in his hometown, Dawson steadily pressed forward behind his jab, wore Gardner down, and began landing hard combinations in the fifth and sixth rounds before scoring a knockdown in the eighth round, then three more in the 11th. The referee stopped the fight without a count at 1:12 into the 11th round.
Thirty seconds into the biggest fight of his burgeoning career on June 2, 2006, Dawson found himself on the canvas with his hopes of a world-title shot in jeopardy. Undeterred, he got up and dominated North American Boxing Federation light heavyweight champion Eric Harding and took his crown by scoring a lopsided, unanimous12-round decision win in a SHOWTIME-televised bout showcased on ShoBox: The New Generation.
Dawson punished Harding with a dominant right hand, and caused his opponent to bleed from the lower lip and left nostril. The newly crowned NABF champion landed the hardest punch of the evening with a brutal right uppercut that snapped Harding’s head back in the ninth round.
“We had a great game plan,” Dawson said. “I did not get the stoppage I wanted, but I did work hard for this victory. It feels great to defeat a fighter that I looked up to when I was growing up.”
Less than one minute into the battle of southpaws, Harding caught Dawson with a left hook to the head and sent the unbeaten fighter to the seat of his pants. The taste of leather and mat only increased Dawson’s motivation.
“It was a flash knockdown,” Dawson said. “Harding caught me with a good shot, but it was the only mistake I made all night. Getting knocked down just makes me meaner.”
ShoBox analyst Steve Farhood was impressed with Dawson’s performance and predicted a world-title appearance loomed in his future.
“Dawson was just too fast, too eager and too poised for Harding,” Farhood said. “The light heavyweight division is conquerable. I would not hesitate to put him in with one of the world champions.
“My dream is to become a world champion and have a different lifestyle for me and my family,’’ Dawson said. “I do not want to just be the best champion. I want to be one of the best ever. I am not talking just fighting wise, but by being a good guy.”
Dawson’s dream of competing for a world title would come true in his next fight, but not against a fighter many would look forward to facing, undefeated WBC light heavyweight champion Tomasz Adamek (31-0, 20 KOs).
Adamek won his title in a war against Australian Paul Briggs, which became a 2005 Fight of the Year candidate. Few expected the two could do it twice, but the second fight in 2006 was another all-action brawl that Adamek again won by a close margin.
“Dawson’s a regular guy,” the obviously unknowing Pole said at a pre-fight press conference announcing the fight. “He will be a tough opponent, hungry to take my title. It’s not going to happen. I will stop him.”
Dawson posed a huge threat to the brawling Adamek, matching up favorably with about the same height and reach while possessing slick boxing skills and being left-handed. The two met in a SHOWTIME Championship Boxing-televised match from Kissimmee, Fla., on Feb. 3, 2007.
ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael raved, “this is a dream match between Adamek, one of boxing’s most exciting champions, and Dawson, one of the sport's most talented rising stars. It's a fight that should bring a smile to the face of every fight fan who knows what a good match is all about.’’
Dawson gave Adamek fits from the opening bell, peppering him with his jab, seemingly at will. Dawson’s confidence grew as the rounds progressed, and he began landing left hands with the ease with which he had been scoring with his jab.
Dawson appeared to be cruising to a lopsided decision after scoring a knockdown in the seventh round when two events collided that changed the complexion of the match: Dawson’s corner began to urge their man to score a knockout while Adamek’s trainer Buddy McGirt told the heavy-handed Adamek he was going to stop the fight if he didn’t start to try to land his vaunted right hand.
This turned out to be a prescription for disaster for the younger, less experienced challenger when Adamek landed his trademark right hand, sending Dawson to the canvas in the middle of the 10th round. Dawson rose up on wobbly feet, and Adamek had his chance to rip victory from the jaws of defeat, but Dawson showed that he, too, had become a veteran fighter.
The Pole stalked his prey for the remainder of the round in hopes of scoring a knockout, but Dawson survived the round, went back to the boxing style that had served him so well in the earlier rounds and finished the fight. Dawson won a lopsided unanimous decision by scores of 116-110, 117-109 and 118-108.
“Chad was quicker than I was tonight,” Adamek said after the fight. “He was the fastest I have ever seen. “He survived after I knocked him down in the 10th. I thought I was going to get him.
“I was prepared for the southpaw but I prefer conventional fighters. Dawson didn’t always want to fight like I do.” He added: “I was not knocked down in the seventh round. I was tripped.”
Dawson complimented Adamek in victory.
“I do most of my talking in the ring but I give Adamek credit for agreeing to the fight. He caught me with a good punch [in the 10th round] and it was a flash knockdown. I got back up and I went back to the game plan.”
“When I switched trainers before this fight [from Dan Birmingham to Floyd Mayweather Sr.], I knew it would be for the best,” Dawson said. “It paid off. We had our differences but we buckled down. Floyd Mayweather is the best trainer of all time.”
Adamek trainer Buddy McGirt offered his analysis after the fight.
“I knew Chad was a good fighter. When Tomasz threw punches in bunches, he knocked Chad down. Tomasz was waiting, trying to counter-punch. You can’t do that with a fast guy. You have to throw punches in bunches.”
Mayweather offered these observations of his new charge.
“I really thought Adamek won one or two rounds only. Chad was dominant from the start.
“I liked Chad’s speed but I didn’t like his combinations. When he had him hurt, he could have finished him. He needs to press more and pick his shots, then really dig in.”
Dawson is promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, and managed by Mike Criscio of New Haven. Criscio was the one who suggested new trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. to Dawson.
“We were talking about trainers and when I mentioned the Mayweather name and Dawson reacted,” Criscio said. “He said, ‘Let's get him.’ This guy has forgotten more than most trainers around today will ever know.
“I like Floyd's old-time style and so does Dawson. Mayweather is going over all of Dawson’s mechanics and smoothing things out defensively and offensively. Mayweather is making Dawson an all-around better fighter.’’
In his most recent appearance, Dawson made the first successful defense of his title, scoring a sixth-round TKO over Jesus Ruiz on June 9 in Hartford, Conn.
There will be another fresh face in Dawson’s corner when he faces his mandatory challenger Adrian Diaconu on Sept. 29. Previous trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. has been replaced by the veteran Eddie Mustafa.
“BAD” CHAD DAWSON
Undefeated World Boxing Council Light Heavyweight Champion
Born in Hartsville, S.C., on July 13, 1982, now residing in New Haven, Conn.
Height: 6’ 3” – Weight: Light Heavyweight (175)
Record: 24-0, 16 KOs
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