Bout vs. Garcia stopped after four rounds
Middleweight “Bad” Chad Dawson received a hero’s welcome Friday night on his way to a fourth-round TKO of Efrain Garcia at New Haven’s City Wide Field House. It was Dawson’s first pro fight in his hometown. Although not a major bout like the world title fights that take place farther north in Connecticut at the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun Casinos, the energy level inside the Hillhouse High School arena, was just as high.
Dawson, 17-0 (12 KOs), with 1 no-contest, regularly fights at the casinos further north from New Haven, but Dawson’s promoter, Jimmy Burchfield, of Classic Entertainment & Sports Inc., had always promised “Bad” Chad he would put on a fight in the fighter’s hometown.
It takes more work to put on a fight at a high school than a casino but Burchfield took pleasure in the challenge. He said after Dawson’s victory: “The last time I had this feeling was when we brought Vinny Pazienza (who hails from Rhode Island) to the Providence Civic Center to fight Joe Frazier, Jr. We had 15,185 people there.”
The City Wide Field House is nowhere near the size of the Providence Civic Center (now called the Dunkin Donuts Center) but Dawson proved, like Paz, he can bring out the hometown fans in droves. There were 4,528 in attendance for Dawson’s New Haven debut and 700-plus people had to be turned away at the door due to orders from the fire department.
The 6’3” Dawson’s long arms made it almost impossible for Garcia, 17-5-1 (11), to mount any serious attack. Seeing that Garcia, 160, was not likely to be a threat, Dawson, 160, often smoothly switched from fighting at long range to ripping Garcia with great combinations to the body. In the second round, Dawson nailed Garcia with a big straight left. He capped off the stanza with a multitude of vicious body shots. Garcia did not respond with anything similar but he did raise his hands as if to say, “That didn’t hurt me.”
Dawson, trained by former world title challenger John Scully, opened up the third round with a right hook that snapped Garcia’s head back. While Dawson had advantages in height, speed and power, he stayed calm and never tried to rush a knockout. After snapping Garcia’s head back, he went back to boxing from long range, but in the fourth, Dawson rocked Garcia a number of times with lead left hands and quick combinations.
When the fight was halted between the fourth and fifth rounds, the crowd went wild. It didn’t matter that ring announcer Joe Martinez incorrectly announced Dawson, who holds the minor WBC youth middleweight title, as the “WBC champion of the world.” To New Haven boxing fans, Dawson, rated in the top-15 by the WBC, is their world champion. Dawson is rated #14 by Boxingtalk.
“Not a lot of promoters would put forth the effort to make an event like this happen,” said Burchfield. “At the casinos, it’s easy. You don’t have to worry about the marketing, advertising, the rooms, setting up the ring and so on.”
Burchfield is proud of the fact the Dawson card drew a bigger crowd than many of the boxing shows at Mohegan or Foxwoods.
And he points out, “At the casinos, they give half the tickets away (to the casino regulars).”
One of Burchfield’s other fighters, 2004 U.S. Olympian Jason “Big Six” Estrada, 248, notched the second win of his pro career with a first-round stoppage of Jerry Lee “Ruff House” Simpson at the 2:35 mark. Simpson, 222, fell on his back after a big left hook and remained in a prone position well after the 10-count. Estrada raised his record to 2-0 with one knockout.
Among the 4,528 inside the arena were former world champions Vinny Paz, Marlon Starling, ex-heavyweight champ Tony “TNT” Tubbs, Peter Manfredo, Jr., who is currently on NBC’s hit series, “The Contender,” Frank Stallone (Sly’s brother) and retired junior welterweight Micky Ward, who finished his career with three exciting battles against Arturo Gatti. There was also some eye candy courtesy of RoundCardGirlz.com.
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