There are many signs pointing to an upset, but despite my penchant for liking underdogs, don’t ask me to navigate around the big favorite in next Saturday’s HBO feature.
Yes, the ’dog will benefit from being at his adopted home, where he is undefeated. Yes, the ’dog is a gritty, popular campaigner whose straight-ahead style is easy to cheer and is usually worth a round or two.
The chalk is unbeaten, but despite 17 knockouts on his 29-0 record, is not really a major league puncher. Plus, he was decked in consecutive fights which means his last line of defense can not be considered as impregnable as you might like when laying 5-1 odds.
But while chapeaux may be doffed for the titled underdog, Jean Pascal, my tete tells me that the pick must be Bad Chad Dawson in this WBC light-heavyweight championship bout from Montreal.
The defining factor here should be class. Dawson, last I looked, occupies the No. 8 spot on my list of 10 top pound-for-pound boxers.
He has height and reach advantages, which when added to his quick hands and feet – and southpaw stance – make him the boxer in this matchup.
And Pascal, with 16 knockouts on his 25-1 pro record, is not necessarily the puncher. Oh, he could get lucky. Dawson was dropped in consecutive fights, in the first round by the veteran Eric Harding in 2006, and late while taking the WBC title from Tomasz Adamek the next year.
But though seriously hurt by Adamek, who has since moved on to win a cruiserweight trinket and is now campaigning as a heavyweight (by this time next year, he probably will have been knocked out by one or both of the Klitschko brothers), Dawson quickly regained his composure to outbox the Polish slugger the rest of the way. As long as there are no Bob Fosters or Michael Spinkses around the division, Dawson should not be too challenged.
He confirmed his class with two unanimous points victories each over such 175-pound stalwarts as Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver. In each case, his second go-round was a lot easier than the first. At 28, Bad Chad is becoming Real Bad.
His problem, and by extension, the sport’s, is that he is not well-known enough to carry a card, not even in his home town of New Haven. That’s because there are no big fights for him to soak up.
That’s too bad because he is not the kind of boxer that often turns off the less sophisticated fans. He is fun to watch.
NOTES: If Diaz is going to drop out of boxing for law school, he would be advised not to aim for defense attorney… I gave Diaz one round – the 12th for bravery – which means Jerry Roth giving the challenger four rounds is another example of how the formerly best judge in Nevada ain’t what he used to be. Or maybe I’m not… Naturally, Bob Arum is not interested in a third meeting of his cash cow, Manny Pacquiao, and Marquez, favoring instead to reward Antonio Margacheato with a payday… Dandy Dan’s Freaks on espn.com are jumping all over Floyd Mayweather Jr. One asked, "Which came first, Mayweather or the egg?"
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