Chad Dawson takes on Jean Pascal this Saturday night in a light heavyweight fight at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Pascal will be putting his WBC title on the line while Dawson will be defending his IBO belt. The fight will be televised by HBO with coverage beginning at 10:30 pm ET.
Chad Dawson vs. Jean Pascal
Money Line: Dawson -450; Pascal +325
WBC/IBO Light Heavyweight Title
Chad Dawson (29-0, 17 KOs) is the cream of the crop in the light heavyweight division. He has decent power, exceptional speed, and offers up the southpaw style that throws another wrinkle in his opponent’s gameplan. Dawson showed power until his latest step up in competition. Despite not taking a loss, Dawson has failed to stop any of his top-level opponents such as Glen Johnson, Antonio Tarver, Tomasz Adamek, and even Eric Harding. What Dawson lacks in power he makes up for in speed. Bad Chad is perhaps the fastest fighter of all the 175-pounders. If anyone is close, however, it would be his opponent this Saturday night, Jean Pascal. It will be Dawson’s first fight with someone under 40 years of age since 2007.
Jean Pascal (25-1, 16 KOs) is an all-around athlete. Prior to committing himself full-time to boxing, Pascal was active in both ice hockey and soccer; Not many that can mix that combo together. Pascal will be looking to prove that he is the faster man than Dawson, as Chad likely has Pascal topped in the power department. The hometown crowd will certainly be on the side of the underdog, creating a frenzied atmosphere in the Bell Centre. Jean Pascal is undefeated as a light heavyweight, going 3-0 since losing to Carl Froch at 168 lbs in 2008. In his last bout, a 2009 decision over Adrian Diaconu, Pascal complained that his shoulder popped out three times during the fight. That is something to keep an eye on this Saturday.
Paul Magno: This is tougher than expected. Chad Dawson is a legit pound-for-pound fighter and Jean Pascal is far from the p4p list, but this will be a very tough stylistic match-up for Dawson. Pascal is a very well-rounded fighter and nearly as athletic as Dawson. This is something that “Bad” Chad has never been up against before. Pascal’s one major flaw is that he can be lured into a brawl, thereby negating his athleticism. We can be sure that Dawson will not be engaging in any brawls on Saturday. Dawson can also lose focus at times and that will likely result in Pascal stealing some moments, especially in front of his hometown fans. Having said all that, though, Dawson is still the overall better fighter and should win, but he’s going to have to be damn near perfect to do it.
Corey Willinger: After Bernard Hopkins’ less than scintillating performance against a washed up Roy Jones Jr., it’s nearly safe to say that Chad Dawson is the best light heavyweight in the world. Nearly. He has a big opportunity to prove it on Saturday against a top level fighter in Jean Pascal. Pascal was a very good but not truly elite super middleweight. In Dawson, he’ll find himself up against the best fighter he’s ever faced, and that includes Carl Froch, who Pascal gave a tough, close fight back in 2008. The disparity in talent will make itself apparent by the fifth or sixth round as Dawson begins to take over with his superb boxing ability. Chad could score a late stoppage, but the fact that he hasn’t put anyone down in several years (combined with a nine-month layoff) suggests he won’t be able to do it to the hard-nosed Pascal either. Dawson by decision, 117-111.
Trent Pusey: It seems both are similar in speed with Dawson holding an edge in power. Unless Pascal proves to be far quicker than Dawson, the only true edge he may hold on Saturday night is the crowd. And trust me, it will be an advantage. Montreal fight fans are some of the best fans in the world. If Dawson loses focus, as Paul alluded to above, the crowd will play a large part in keeping him off his game. For me, this fight boils down to Chad Dawson hitting Jean Pascal with harder punches than Pascal hits Dawson with. Dawson may need to be perfect to win, but Pascal will need to be beyond perfect with a dash of luck. I see Pascal starting well but fading late, giving Dawson a 115-113 victory.
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