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.


Briks said...

Right on, Shoe. I was expecting more out of Dawson. I thought that even though he was boring outside the ring, he still had more inside of it. He proved me wrong though. God, I was so frustrated watching that fight. I didn't even care who won, but the way Dawson was fighting drove me nuts. He was CLEARLY more talented than Pascal. As Steward pointed out late in the fight, Pascal (like Roach said about Clottey) has a techinically good defense, but not an actually good defense because he can't counter. He can cover up and block shots, but he will wait his turn to fire back. You know how to combat that???? Never let him get his turn. Thats what Pac did to Clottey, and thats what Dawson easily could have done to Pascal. Why didn't he? I don't know. Maybe he wasn't properly conditioned (he did get outworked at the end of the first Johnson fight and dropped late by Adamek), maybe he doesn't have the ring intellect to put the puzzle together. But there is obviously something lacking there, and it's not physical ability.

Speaking of Clottey, just wanted to let you know that your piece on Clottey was my favorite of all your works at The Rumble. Wish it would have been included in the top 10.

Briks said...

Actually, that piece was at the Mas. Sorry for my mistake. Either way, one of my faves.

shoefly said...

Thanks, Briks, that's one of my favorite pieces too.

I think your take on the fight was right on. The other frustrating thing was that Pascal's lunges were so easy to counter. Dawson landed a couple beautiful hooks, including one that stood Pascal straight up... but they were so infrequent.

Really obnoxious fight. I could see Bute cranking Pascal with his big uppercut after those lunges.

Briks said...

Oh, yeah, I think Bute handles Pascal with relative ease. Did you see the grin on Bute's face after the result was announced? He's going to get a monster payday to fight in possibly the biggest event in his country's boxing history for the Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight championship against a guy he is probably sure he can handle. It doesn't get much better than that.

JB said...

I finally watched this fight. Dawson's defense is flawed. He allowed Pascal's lunging attack to hit him flush way too many times. Like you said Briks Pascal was not punching back when Dawson was throwing his hands. But Dawson too often gave Pascal a break for no apparent reason. He just backed off of him. If I didn't know the outcome of this fight I would have been extremely frustrated watching this. Instead I was disappointed that he let Bute off the hook with his dismal performance.

KevinW said...

To me, Dawson was lazy and overconfident. In the tenth and eleventh Chad outclassed Pascal, but why did it take so long? He could have easily knocked him out in the second half of the eleventh or the twelfth had it gone that far, but it didn't.

Bute-Pascal should be fun.