Chad Dawson Gives One Away Against Jean Pascal

Last Saturday was supposed to be the night that Chad Dawson cemented his status as the top light heavyweight in the world. Dawson must have left his cement truck in Connecticut. In a fight that was ripe for the picking, Dawson sat back and let Jean Pascal steal a victory in front of Pascal’s hometown Montreal fans.

Jean Pascal started out strong in the fight with Dawson, but it only seemed like a matter of time until Dawson would find his rhythm and take control of the fight. Surprisingly, Dawson, a 4-1 favorite, never got into his groove until late in the fight where it would prove to be too little too late. Pascal fought in spurts throughout the rounds but it proved to be enough to earn the judges’ favor as Dawson did little in return.

Dawson abandoned his cautious approach in the ninth round, after Dawson himself had been rocked in the two rounds prior. Jean Pascal found himself in trouble in the ninth round as Dawson finally decided to get more engaged in the fight. After another Pascal round in the tenth, Dawson mounted a rally in the eleventh and had Pascal hurt. On the brink of a dramatic finish, an accidental clash of the heads caused a cut over Dawson’s left eye. The ring doctor decided the fight was over and it would prematurely head to the scorecards. Jean Pascal would receive a unanimous technical decision victory, handing Chad Dawson the first loss of his career.

This was not the beautiful ring tactician that we’ve become used to seeing from Chad Dawson. There were plenty of moments where Dawson could have stepped up and taken the rounds just by being Chad Dawson. By using his jab more and throwing combinations, Dawson wouldn’t have found himself in such dire straits as the fight came to a close.

Dawson has never shown to be the type of warrior that will be carried out on his shield. He’s a skillful boxer, that for some reason, didn’t show off his skills on Saturday night. And after his trainer, Eddie Mustafa, pleaded with Dawson to bring his inner warrior out it was too late. Dawson became a victim of the desperation that he caused himself. Jean Pascal was announced as the winner. But Chad Dawson lost this fight.

Chad Dawson can exercise a rematch based on a clause in their contract, but much of the post-fight talk centered around Jean Pascal squaring off with fellow Canadian Lucian Bute. Dawson is prone to long layoffs between fights, so it would be logical to think that Dawson may wait for the Pascal rematch while Montreal salivates at the prospect of Pascal-Bute. Whether it’s this year or the next, Chad Dawson will surely exercise that rematch clause.

One fight that Chad Dawson can kiss goodbye after Saturday’s performance: Bernard Hopkins. Granted, Hopkins never seemed genuinely interested in facing Dawson, but as recently as the day before the fight, Hopkins alluded to a potential bout with Dawson should he get by Pascal. Since Dawson didn’t survive his bout with Pascal, Hopkins has yet another excuse to add to his list.

With Bernard Hopkins disinterested in fighting at 175 pounds, the light heavyweight division is wide open. By using “To be the man you gotta beat the man” logic, Jean Pascal has every right to lay claim to the top spot in the division. Some others, however, may have something to say about that.

Undefeated IBF champion Tavoris Cloud has been calling out Chad Dawson for years and this may be his best chance of landing the fight, if Pascal opts to go on with the Bute fight. Cloud, a recent victor over Glen Johnson, packs a powerful punch and will undoubtedly force Dawson to fight.

German-based Juergen Braehmer is another belt-holder at 175 pounds, should Dawson choose a championship route as his quickest to redemption. While Braehmer is relatively unknown in the United States, so is Chad Dawson. A trip to Germany may provide the best opportunity for Dawson to not only get his belt back, but a nicer payday than a Cloud fight could present.

Regardless of what the future holds for Chad Dawson, he has a lot to prove in his next fight. If he comes out with a convincing win, then he can chalk up Montreal to an off-night. If he struggles, then perhaps Bad Chad isn’t quite so bad after all.

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