Monday, August 16, 2010

Dawson Sleeps

“I fought my fight.” It’s an interesting phrase, isn’t it? Often it means controlling space and the speed of the action. It’s what a fighter wants. Mastery.

It seemed somehow different on Saturday when Chad Dawson used the phrase after he “fought his fight,” to his first career loss. Jean Pascal is a good fighter and it’s normally an unhelpful modern boxing phenomenon to overeact to one loss, but wasn’t there something fundamentally revealing about Chad Dawson – pound-for-pound contender – on Saturday night?

I joked earlier about Dawson’s non-personality, and I sometimes call him the first comatose titlist in boxing history, but didn’t it feel like that? That’s your title, Chad, don’t give it away.

I had the fight 106-103 Pascal when it was stopped on that gruesome cut. Pascal is a good fighter, though a bit of a spazz. He's not particularly fun to watch and I don't think he'll hang on to that championship long. Bernard Hopkins uses a similar move and lunge technique and it has gotten him far, but I don't think Pascal has the same type of evil intellect to keep it going too long.


Dawson had Pascal dinged at the end, but did you really feel he was going to stop him? I’m thinking here of Chavez chasing down Taylor, Israel Vazquez hammering at Rafael Marquez, or hell, even Librado Andrade flattening Lucian Bute…

Dawson doesn’t have that, or at least didn’t on Saturday night. Which is not to say that he can’t one day become everything he’s capable of, a tremendous champion with a long string of defenses. But it’s hard to imagine he’ll ever be a moving champion, it’s hard to imagine he’ll ever inspire passion. It's entirely explicable that he has zero fans.

Because he only wants to “fight his fight,” and sometimes you have to do more. You have to go where it’s uncomfortable and push. You think the other guy is head butting you? Fine, hit him low. You think the crowd is against you? Send a straight left right through the guys mandible and shut them up.

I say this not as a judgment of his character – because I know I have more Dawson in me than I do Erik Morales – I just think it’s the truth. It’s some of the same frustration I feel when watching Joshua Clottey fight. I feel a little frustrated, but more than that I just feel tired and uninspired.

Boxing is about pushing beyond the possible, Dawson hasn’t even pushed up against it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Nostos, Or How I Came To Love The Blog

I’m back. And as I always say to the highway patrolman when he looks at me funny, “Get bent, honky!”

But really, you can check out my farewell post at The Rumble, here. The Sporting News is killing all of their blogging content and intends to become a waystation for discussions of RBIs and the dime defense. More power to them.

As for me, it’s time to get radical again. The Rumble was fun, but frankly I only get about one good idea a week, and most of them have to do with ways to bring down the mendacious system we live in. As L. Cohen always said, “They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom, for trying to change the system from within.” In some sense I consider this an early parole.

Inspired by some Freedarko friends I have some big ideas for the future; which I won’t expand on too much for fear of disappointing, given my family's somewhat loving nickname for me, “The laziest white boy in America. I’ve already talked with a couple outlets on doing some freelance stuff and you can also keep track of me on my newly acquired twitter. I’m so pithy I hurt my own brains.

But to start things off I thought I’d give a little preview of this weekend’s big fight, Chad Dawson-Jean Pascal. They made this sucker about six months ago, at which point I was incredibly excited, but I’m almost exhausted from the wait.
Almost, but not quite. I think it has some real potential. Dawson is an excellent fighter, well-deserving of his spot on the important lists, but let’s be real here… I might be “the laziest white boy in America,” but Chad Dawson is auditioning for the part of “the most boring black man on the continent.”

And I don’t mean only in the ring. He’s actually not a colossal stinker in there. Yeah, he’s a boxer first, but he’ll rumble when he has to. He simply has zero on the charisma meter, I’m talking nothing here… as in the first certifiably comatose champion in boxing history. So little interest he has garnered that he’s actually going on the road for this fight.

And that’s why he needs Pascal. Jean Pascal is just the sort of loose-limbed French speaking Montrealer (sic) that dreams are made of. He’s powerful and athletic, but reminds me of an MMA fighter, and I don’t mean that in a flattering way. He’s all flail and juke and lunge. The kind of guy who’s liable to head butt the referee by accident.

I have a feeling the styles will mix. I don’t see anyone at light heavyweight who can match Dawson’s science, so you need an opponent of a different sort. A martian using perhaps inferior - but nonetheless effective – technology is capable of disrupting a more mechanistically advanced society.
That’s Pascal’s shot. I think he’ll land some obnoxious wingers and Dawson will get hurt. Dawson has shown some fragility in the past, so he’ll be vulnerable, but… ultimately, I think he’ll make it to the end.

And if it goes the twelve I just can’t see Pascal winning. Dawson is too good. So despite some hairy moments I see Chad Dawson unifying the titles and becoming the Ring Magazine light heavyweight champion. He doesn’t have the personality to fill the prestigious role, but if you’re good enough, it makes up for all the rest.

Chad Dawson UD 116-111 Jean Pascal