Boxing


What Next For Dawson And Tarver?

Chad Dawson10.05.09 - by James Slater - As was widely expected, IBF light-heavyweight champion Chad Dawson widely out-pointed former champ Antonio Tarver once again in last night's return fight that no-one wanted to see in the first place. Not quite as dull as last October's clash between the two 175-pounder's, last night's bout in Las Vegas was no good fight either. So, what now for "Bad" Chad and "The Magic Man?"

For the 40-year-old Tarver, retirement seems the only logical option. In the past, Tarver was able to do things differently in a second fight with a guy who had topped him previously, and extract his revenge. But not any more. Well preserved he may be at age 40, and in no way a shot or damaged fighter either, Tarver must still know he has to walk away while - relatively speaking, at least - he remains an elite level fighter. The last thing Tarver wants is to carry on and become a stepping stone for up-and-comers. We all know it's happened to greater fighters than Tarver in the past.

Is "The Magic Man" - who scored his finest victory when he won a shocking second-round destruction of all-time great Roy Jones Junior in 2004 - a future Hall of Famer? Though back-to-back losses to Dawson and, before that, comprehensive points losses at the hands of Eric Harding and Bernard Hopkins, go against him, Tarver will probably get the call anyway.

Antonio avenged the loss to Harding (as he did his points loss to Glen Johnson in yet another rematch), he was never close to being stopped his whole career and he has those two wins over a faded, but still great Jones on his resume - with his win over the teak-tough "Road Warrior" another notable victory to boast about. My guess is Tarver gets the call from Canastota in five years or so, IF he hangs 'em up now, of course.

As for the 26-year-old and peaking Dawson, his future is harder to predict. Just how good is the unbeaten southpaw? And will the marquee names he wants wish to fight him? After last night's tepid victory, Dawson and his team called out Hopkins and, hoping to entice him out of retirement even now, Joe Calzaghe. Neither fight has more than a slim at best chance of happening. Why? Well, to put it bluntly - and though there are undeniably other factors involved (I.E Dawson is a tricky, fast-handed lefty) - Dawson is a boring fighter! Talented no doubt, the 28-0(17) boxer has good wins over guys like Tomasz Adamek, TarverX2 and Johnson on his record, the problem is he has not excited the fans whilst scoring any of these victories.

As such, last night's bout with Tarver played out in front of a small live audience. Will Dawson ever become as marquee name a fighter as the men he hopes to fight? The bottom line is fans love to see KO's and/or wars - and if they can't get that they'll settle for a master class. Dawson has yet to give us a master class, he has only given us two stoppages from his last seven fights, with neither stoppage coming against a top quality foe, and wars just aren't Dawson's thing. Added to Dawson's problem when it comes to getting real fan support is the fact that a high number of people feel old warrior Johnson deserved the decision after their April, 2008 12-rounder. Ironically, this fight, which Dawson won by UD, was one of his most thrilling fights. However, it was primarily due to the attacking of Johnson that the fight was memorable, it must be said.

It's unlikely Hopkins will want to face Dawson any more now than he did before last night's fight. Targeting the easier-to-hit and more exciting Carl Froch down at super-middleweight (or maybe at a catch-weight), B-Hop likes the idea of that fight a whole lot more than he does the idea of taking on Dawson in a chess match affair. And as for Calzaghe coming back; forget it.

Dawson admitted after last night's win that he, 'must do better.' It's not his fault he is no all-out slugger who thrills the fans with his reckless abandon and stunning KO power; Dawson is just not that type of fighter. He never will be. Who will fight Chad next? It's tough to say, but it's unlikely to be a star name. The unbeaten and dangerous Tarvoris Cloud, though a risky fight for Dawson, would probably be a good idea. Cloud, who has called Dawson out, would perhaps make the champion fight, and that could result in a fan-friendly fight, which is what the paying fans want more than anything else at the end of the day. For this same reason a return with Johnson wouldn't be a bad notion, nor would Dawson's taking on the man he was supposed to fight a while ago in Adrian Diaconu (providing "The Shark" can get past Jean Pascal in June).

There are fights out there for Dawson, but it just so happens they are not the fights he himself wants. As much a victim of his own talent as he is of being a dull performer, Dawson should probably get used to having to take whatever fights he can get.

Article posted on 10.05.2009



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