Daniels' First Defeat In a Bout Not For a World Title
Rising pro "Bad" Chad Dawson, 16-0 (11), scored the biggest win of his young career Friday when ringside doctor Anthony Alessi ruled former WBA junior middleweight champion Carl Daniels unable to come out for the eighth round of their scheduled 10-round bout.
Dawson, fighting in his first main event at Foxwoods Casino, did everything right before the bout was stopped. The 6'3" southpaw middleweight kept the more experienced Daniels at the end of a stiff right jab all night and mixed it up with power shots to the body and head. Dawson's most impressive punch of the night was the right hook to the ribs. The 21-year-old controlled the fight all night long and used his height and reach advantages to great effect. Daniels was never a serious threat and found it very difficult to land anything significant.
He was dropped in the sixth round after getting tagged with a combination to the body followed by a right hook to the head. When Daniels got to his feet, Dawson, 160, began firing away, but referee Steve Smoger ruled Daniels, 160, was hit with a low blow. Daniels used some of his five-minute recovery allowance to clear his head from the knockdown that preceded the low blow.
Dawson picked up the tempo in the seventh, and snapped Daniels' head back on a couple of occasions. When the round was over, the ringside doctor went to his corner and ruled Daniels was in no shape to continue.
Dawson, of New Haven, CT, was elated with notching a victory against a man whose only prior losses had come in world title fights against Bernard Hopkins, Laurent Boudouani, Julio Cesar Vasquez and Terry Norris. "Bad" Chad dropped to the mat after the fight was stopped and began doing push-ups in the middle of the ring.
"After the first round, I knew I had it in the bag," said Dawson. "I broke him down. That was the plan. I was too fast and too strong for him. I hurt him with body shots."
Daniels' record dropped to 49-5-1(31) with the defeat. Dawson, on the other hand saw his stock rise with the TKO victory.
"He was a veteran. Going into the fight, I looked at it like, he is a veteran. No matter the outcome, I knew I would learn something."
What did Dawson learn?
"I learned I'm a master boxer," said Dawson. Dawson's promoter, Jimmy Burchfield, who was Vinny Pazienza's longtime promoter, said after the fight: "He's the closest thing to a left-handed Tommy Hearns that I've ever seen. He's got the power. He's got the speed. He used the whole ring. He chopped this guy down."
Despite having less than 20 fights under his belt, Dawson told a group of reporters after the fight that he's ready to face middleweights rated in the top ten.
Dawson has made a big turnaround as of late. In October he defeated the previously undefeated Darnell Wilson, who was the real 1996 Olympic alternate to David Reid (a Connecticut fighter, not named Chad Dawson, claims he was the Olympic alternate to Reid, but USA Boxing officials have confirmed this not to be true). Dawson won a 10-round unanimous decision over Wilson after a seventh-month layoff, due in part to failing a drug test. However, with his troubles behind him and renewed discipline, Dawson won't be taking any extended vacations anytime soon.
He has a new trainer/motivator in John "Iceman" Scully, a former world title challenger who has been with Dawson since the Wilson fight. Scully, a former sparring partner to Roy Jones Jr. when Jones was in his prime, was impressed with the young fighter's performance on Friday against a seasoned veteran.
Chad just went 10 rounds for the 1st time two months ago," said Scully, "And against Daniels, Chad didn't just beat him, he beat him every second of every round."
Daniels' last defeat was nearly three years ago, against middleweight king Bernard Hopkins, and much to the surprise of everyone who watched that fight, Daniels lasted far longer than anyone expected. Since the Hopkins fight, Daniels defeated Nicholas Cervera, who went into the Daniels fight with a 34-2-1 record. Daniels would have walked out of the ring with the NABF middleweight title had he made the contracted weight for the bout.
Despite his youth and relative lack of experience, Scully doesn"t think Dawson is speaking too soon when he says he's ready for guys rated in the top ten.
"His style and his size and his range, he's going to [do what he did to Daniels] with a lot of guys," said Scully.
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