The once mostly ignored super middleweight division is experiencing a rebirth on SHOWTIME. Earlier this month on Nov. 5, Jeff Lacy scored a booming knockout over Scott Pemberton on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING. Now, super middleweight southpaws “Bad” Chad Dawson and Ian “The Cobra” Gardner will put their contender status on the line in a 12-round battle Friday, Nov. 18, on “ShoBox: The New Generation.” In an entertaining co-feature, Benjamin Flores will oppose Daniel “Azuquita” Jimenez in an eight-round junior lightweight bout.
SHOWTIME will televise the Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, doubleheader from the Greater New Haven Athletic Center in New Haven, Conn., at 11 p.m. ET/PT (tape delayed on west coast). The telecast represents the 68th in the popular “ShoBox” series, which debuted on SHOWTIME in July 2001.
“Credit Dawson for fighting a difficult and awkward opponent such as Gardner, a mobile and quick southpaw,” SHOWTIME expert analyst Steve Farhood said. “And Dawson is doing so in front of his hometown fans, who he will want to impress. Gardner has beaten Kuvanych Toygonbayev on ‘ShoBox’ and proved just how elusive he can be.
“If Dawson overpowers Gardner, he will make a loud and far-reaching statement. Jeff Lacy needs solid American opposition. Allan Green emerged last week, and Dawson is looking to do the same.”
Dawson (18-0, 13 KOs), of New Haven, Conn. by way of Hartsville, S.C. is trained by Dan Birmingham, who also trains Lacy. Dawson said he is familiar with Gardner and is confident he will expose “The Truth” in the ring.
“I do not think he is much of a fighter,” Dawson said. “He has an awkward style and has defeated a lot of people with that style. While everybody looks at the stupid stuff he does in the ring, I am just going to be on top of him. I will not give him a chance to do his thing. He will be out of there by the fifth.”
In the toughest test of his career, Dawson routed “ShoBox” veteran Darnell Wilson on Oct. 29, 2004, and won by the scores 100-90 twice and 98-91.
In another solid performance, Dawson, a physical specimen at 6-foot-3-inches, registered an impressive seventh-round TKO over former World Boxing Association (WBA) light middleweight champion Carl Daniels in Mashantucket, Conn., on Dec. 10, 2004.
Dawson followed that up with a fourth-round TKO over Efrain Garcia on April 1, 2005, in New Haven, and a third-round TKO over Ronald Brodie in his last outing on Aug. 6, 2005, in Tampa, Fla.
Gardner (19-2, seven KOs), of New Brunswick, Canada, is moving up from middleweight to 168 pounds for his bout against Dawson on Nov. 18.
“The weight jump will not make a big difference because Dawson is not a big puncher,” Gardner said. “I am a better boxer and have better hand speed. I am looking to out-speed him and win the fight. I am not a super middleweight, but I can beat this guy regardless of weight.
“I am not taking Dawson lightly, but he has not fought the level of opposition I have. This fight will be a chess match that I can see going the distance.”
One of Gardner’s two losses came earlier this year in a 12-round decision to World Boxing Council (WBC) No. 3/WBA No. 5/IBF No. 6 middleweight contender Artur Abraham on Feb. 12, 2005, in Berlin, Germany.
In Gardner’s lone “ShoBox” appearance, the Canadian brawler upset Toygonbayev with a 10-round split decision on Sept. 2, 2004, in Kansas City, Mo.
Flores (11-0, four KOs), of Sinaloa, Mexico, brings a crowd-pleasing style and undefeated record into the biggest bout of his career.
“This is going to be a real fun fight,” Flores said. “Jimenez is a good fighter, but this is my chance. I will come out tough and be the aggressor.”
During an accomplished amateur career, Flores compiled an 86-7 record. Since turning pro, he has sparred hundreds of rounds with world-ranked featherweight Rocky Juarez.
Jimenez (13-1-1, eight KOs), of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, lost his first pro start, boxed to a draw in his second and has won 13 consecutive bouts since. The hard-hitting Jimenez has stopped seven of his last nine opponents, including his past two.
“I probably won my first two fights,” Jimenez said, “but I cannot change the past. Flores will be my biggest test so far, but I feel so good and strong in training now. I know I will knock him out.”
Nick Charles will call the action from ringside, with Steve Farhood serving as expert analyst. The executive producer of the telecast is Gordon Hall, with Richard Gaughan producing.
For information on “ShoBox: The New Generation” and SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts, including complete fighter bios, records, related stories and more, please go the SHOWTIME website at http://www.sho.com/boxing