Get Your Stroll On: Chad Dawson W12 Glen Johnson

Chad Dawson easily outboxed Glen Johnson over twelve rounds last night at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut, to earn a leisurely unanimous decision before a crowd of 5,230. Scores were 115-113, 115-113, and 117-111.

It was a nondescript bout. Johnson, now 49-13-2 (33), rarely connected with anything significant. Although he applied considerable pressure in the fifth, sixth and twelfth rounds, Johnson was unable to mount a consistent attack and was more or less outclassed from bell to bell.

Dawson, whose record improves to 29-0-0-1 (17), was in command throughout, but it was never particularly exciting. A restless crowd began jeering intermittently during the 5th round and after the 10th the booing became a crescendo. After seeing Alfredo Angulo demolish Harry Yorgey in the semi, perhaps the crowd expected similar excitement in the HBO main event. If so, they were unfamiliar with the basic ingredients of the Bad Chad cocktail: Take 1/3 “brilliant,” mix with 2/3 “ho-hum,” add plenty of crushed ice, and muddle; a dash of bravura is never included; garnish with an opponent at least 10 years older.

Hartford, with the second highest poverty rate in the United States, may want to rethink dropping hard-earned–and hard to come by–shekels on prize fights in the future. As it is, the XL Center, with a capacity of 16,500, was less than one-third full to see two Alphabet Soup title conundrums and a mythical “P-4-P” entrant showcase his skills. Dawson, fighting out of New Haven, roughly 35 miles south of Hartford, has drawn fewer than 8,000 fans for his last three bouts combined. “It was important to put on a show for my hometown fans,” Dawson said after the decision was announced. No doubt he was misquoted.

It may not have been particularly scintillating, but Dawson fought with measured skill. With his nifty footwork, pinpoint jab, and supersonic hand speed, Dawson rendered Johnson, 173.5, helpless for long stretches of each round. He also retreated consistently and occasionally turned his back to skip away from Johnson. At times Johnson resembled an Astroland bumper car trying to chase down a Formula 1 auto. He was two or three steps behind at every turn and rarely put together a combination worth noting. His left hook was completely neutralized and the right hand that had staggered Dawson repeatedly in their first fight barely got through more than a handful of times.

Between rounds Johnson listened as his trainer, Orlando Cuellar, exhorted him to take risks and intensify his work rate. But Johnson could not comply and plodded on as round after round slipped by, each one a mirror image of its predecessor. In the fifth round Dawson seemed, like much of the crowd, to momentarily lose interest in the fight and allowed Johnson to reach him with an occasional shot, but there was little power behind his blows. Dawson, 175, rattled Johnson with a combination in the 9th and paused an instant from his Ring-Around-the-Rosie routine to exchange hard shots with Johnson in the 10th. Although Johnson, Miami, Florida via Jamaica, tried turning up the pressure, Dawson returned to form over the last six minutes of the bout and kept him at bay with movement and his southpaw jab. Scattered boos greeted the final bell.

Ironically, the scores last night were closer than they were for the first fight when Johnson did everything to Dawson but lock him in a Peruvian necktie. Two of the three judges, apparently, think plodding after a skittish boxer is in itself some sort of virtue.

After the fight Dawson told ringside analyst Max Kellerman that “The Glen Johnson, Antonio Tarver chapter is closed. Now I can move on and fight some new faces, and reclaim my spot at the top.” He then expressed an interest in fighting Bernard Hopkins.

Topics: Bad Chad Cocktail, Boxing, CHAD DAWSON, GLEN JOHNSON, Hartford, Light Heavyweights

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  • JDL

    “He then expressed interest in fighting Bernard Hopkins”…Of course. Bernard is an old man. That’s all it seems Dawson is willing to fight. Then again, the light heavyweight division is full of old men at the moment that refuse to retire for some reason. Hopefully he’ll fight Pascal or someone at least within 5 years of his own age…asking that he fight a younger opponent would be too much to ask apparently.

    By the way, could it have been any more obvious who the HBO fighter was? All four at ringside were singing his praises…even went as far as say how he was dominating a minute and a half into the first round. It’s hard to figure out who’s the play by play guy, who’s the color commentator & who’s the expert commentator when they’re all a mark for Dawson (or any other HBO fighter). Please bring back Merchant!

    Great article as usual. Keep them coming.

  • JDL

    In a way it’s not Dawson’s fault, I guess. If they paid me millions of dollars to fight people with little to no chance of beating me, I’d do it. The light heavyweight division isn’t very deep right now. He seems like an OK guy and like you said he is talented. Hopefully one day they’ll put him in against a guy who can truly test him. Possibly the only way to do that, at the moment, would be to go down to super middleweight. Gary Shaw says he’d like to move him to Heavyweight one day…that’s laughable.

  • carlos-acevedo

    If Dawson ever fights Hopkins all the boxing experts will gather in a meadow, hold hands, and sing “Hallelujah–”off-key, of course. Joey Giardello and Joey Archer never got pats on the back for beating an elderly Sugar Ray Robinson, but, with context out the window, Chad Dawson somehow becomes a “P-4-P” stalwart by whipping a slew of old men and never looking good in the process. What is the counter argument? That Johnson and Tarver were rated. So what? Joe Louis was #1 contender before he was whipped by Ezzard Charles and he was still ranked in the top 10 when Marciano brutally–and pitifully-knocked him out. Just because a division is so weak that forty-somethings can still perform capably is no reason to overrate fighters who beat them. As it is, Hopkins has fought exactly ONE light heavyweight since losing back-to-back fights to Jermain Taylor. Johnson is tough to beat at any age, but, like many fighters today, he entered the ring at a distinct disadvantage. By the way, Chad Dawson has NEVER faced an opponent younger than him.

    To make matters worse, Dawson is not a risk taker. A few times he literally turned his back on Johnson and fled. People criticize Floyd Mayweather for being boring, but Dawson makes Mayweather look like Frank “The Animal” Fletcher. He was booed by his own home crowd! Seriously, I don’t want to hear about how boring Yuri Foreman is or how boring Daniel Santos is anymore. No one is paying them millions of dollars to square dance with 40 year-olds.

    Dawson is a talented fighter, but sooner or later he is going to have to face a 3 to 1 underdog whose long odds are determined by skill alone and not by decrepitude. In the end, it doesn’t matter–Dawson will get paid no matter how boring he is or who he fights. HBO will guarantee that. There is no logic anymore in who gets paid and who doesn’t. Ratings, gates, performance–no matter, we will overpay you, anyway!

    As far as HBO goes, you’re right, Jim Lampley has not been a blow-by-blow announcer in years. He was so disappointed that he could not shill for Angulo as much as he wanted because of a quick KO, that he decided to do so during the middle of the Dawson-Johnson bout!!!