In a battle of talented, world-ranked, southpaw light heavyweights, unbeaten "Bad" Chad Dawson will get what should be his stiffest test as a pro when he meets Eric Harding in the main event Friday, June 2, on "ShoBox: The New Generation'' on SHOWTIME (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast), In the co-feature, undefeated Mario Santiago will box an opponent to be announced in a featherweight bout.
The promising, up-and-coming 6-foot-3 Dawson (21-0, 15 KOs), of New Haven, Conn., by way of Hartsville, South Carolina, is ranked No. 10 by the World Boxing Council (WBC). A former North American Boxing Organization (NABO) titlist at super middleweight and WBC Junior Champion at 160 pounds, Dawson is making his second appearance on "ShoBox." In his debut, he captured the NABO crown with an 11th-round TKO over Ian Gardner on Nov. 18, 2005.
Dawson, 23, is fighting for the second time at light heavy. He is coming off a third-round TKO over James Hearn on March 4, 2006, in Manchester, England.
Harding (23-3-1, 7 KOs), of West Hartford, Conn., by way of Philadelphia, owns a victory over Antonio Tarver and has fought three other former world champions -- Roy Jones, Montell Griffin and Glengoffe Johnson.
The WBC's No. 11 and International Boxing Federation (IBF) No. 9 contender at 175 pounds, Harding, 33, won the United States Boxing Association (USBA) and North American Boxing Federation (NABF) light heavy belts in his last two starts, winning 12-round decisions over Daniel Judah and David Tedesco, respectively.
Santiago (14-0, 9 KOs), of Ponce,Puerto Rico, is making his second "ShoBox'' start. The flashy 25-year-old picked apart world-ranked Cornelius Lock in his network debut, winning the biggest fight of his career by impressive fifth-round knockout on Oct. 21, 2005. Santiago scored an eighth-round KO over Terry Lantz in his last start on March 4, 2006.
The 10-round bouts will be promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, and originate from Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif.