The "Iceman” Looks at a Good Run with “Bad” Chad Dawson

The "Iceman” Looks at a Good Run with “Bad” Chad Dawson
By Jason Gonzalez (Aug 23, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
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John Scully
For the third time in just 11 months, the man known as “The Iceman,” John Scully, currently prepares his pupil, WBC light heavyweight champion “Bad” Chad Dawson for battle. On September 8, Scully is expecting his charge to execute the blueprint he has devised as both trainer and fighter invade hostile territory in Oakland, California. The challenge that lies before Scully and Dawson isn't an easy one. The task: defeat the world's best super middleweight, Andre Ward, in his own backyard. Whoa! But to some who follow the sport of boxing, it may sound just like any other obstacle an elite fighter may encounter when attempting to climb the professional ranks. As complex as this may sound, it’s even harder to achieve. The 28-year-old Ward hasn't tasted defeat in 16 years. As if that wasn't impressive enough, within a two-year span, Ward defeated the best fighters at 168 pounds, earning him top honors in Showtime's “Super Six World Boxing Classic” tournament as well as being named 2011's “Fighter of the Year.” But the buck doesn't stop there; Dawson, a legitimate 175-pound fighter, is moving seven pounds south.
 
“It’s real interesting, you know,” said Scully. “It’s no secret that I am a fan of the fights. I watch footage, films and tapes of fights all the time. And I mean all of them. I have seen [Bernard] Hopkins fight a ton of times. I have seen [Andre] Ward fight a ton of times as well. 90% of the time, I am watching through the eyes of a fan. Whenever you are watching as a fan, you rarely see the mistakes that the fighters are making. But the other 10% of the time, I am watching as a trainer. When I watch the fights with a different pair of glasses, it’s amazing how you see and notice all of the errors that the fighters make. I know that Ward is a rough and tough kind of guy. You hit him low, he will hit you low. He is also very hungry but at the same time, he is very flawed and believe me when I tell that he can be beat. I am very confident that we can exploit the flaws that we see the night of the eighth.”
 
Although unbeknownst to most in the “Sweet Science,” the tandem of Scully and Dawson has existed  for quite some time. The pair truly embodies the phrase “through thick and thin.” The Connecticut homies have known each other for nearly 20 years; Scully and Dawson both worked together both in the amateurs and in the pros. Undeniably, there were some bumps along the road, resulting in a divorce between the two, but life truly came full circle.
 
“I have known Chad since he was 11 years old,” said Scully, 45, a former fighter himself. “At the time, I was working with another group of amateur kids, so I wasn't training Chad then. The kids were from outside of New Haven (where Dawson is originally from). Periodically, the group of kids would get together, specifically when traveling. I would drive them around from tournament to tournament. This is how I met Chad. I would interact with him during these trips. When Chad was older and weighing between 156 and 160 pounds, Chad and I would work together. At the time, he was working with a guy by the name of Brian Clarke. Chad and I would spar. After working with Clarke, Chad began working with Gaspar Ortega. Shortly after they split up, Chad began working with me. We were together from the beginning of 2004 to the middle of 2005, a year-and-a-half.”
 
So what caused the separation?
 
“At the time that Chad and I worked together, he was being managed by Lou Mayo and he was being promoted by Jimmy Burchfield [of CES Boxing],” the trainer said. “Chad decided to part ways with Mayo. The only problem was that Mayo owned the gym that I was based out of - which was the gym Chad worked out in. It became a very awkward situation and, not to mention, a conflict of interest. I had a bunch of other guys that I had an obligation to. Logistically, it just didn't make sense. From Hartford (where Scully is originally from) to New Haven is an hour and 20 minutes, round trip. I couldn't do that every day. It wasn't going to work, so it was best that we parted ways.”
 
In the six years in which Scully and Dawson were estranged from each other, Dawson continued to move forward with his career. From mid-2005 to early-2011, Dawson worked under the guidance of three high-profile trainers, Floyd Mayweather Sr., Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and Kronk guru Emanuel Steward before reconciling with Scully, in lieu of the first fight with Hopkins. There is no question that the triad of Mayweather, Mustafa Muhammad and Steward represent pugilistic aptitude multiplied by a one hundred thousand trillion. However, there was still this harsh resentment of Dawson by the masses. It was perceived that Dawson, now 30 years old and 31-1 (17) with two no-contests, was failing to maximize his full potential, professionally. Many of the writers were pointing fingers at Dawson for changing trainers more often than people change their underwear. The public determined that Dawson's originality was slowly but surely being stripped. It was believed these trainers were trying to turn Dawson into something that he wasn't.
 
“Overall, Chad regressed from the fighter he once was with me,” assessed Scully. “When we got together again in 2011, clearly the boxing skill and talent was still there. But there were certain changes that were evident in his style that may have done him more harm than good. What makes Chad Dawson “Bad” Chad Dawson is the fluid movement, athleticism, his ability to slip punches, as well as his combination punching. In an attempt to sell Chad to the masses as an exciting fighter, people were trying to turn him into the next Tommy Hearns, the southpaw version. That's not who Chad is. Fighters are who they are. You are either a puncher or a boxer. You can't be both. It’s black and white. You can't carbon copy a Tommy Hearns; he was a puncher. But we are willing to sacrifice one-punch knockout power, to be able to land a group of punches on our opponents chin, then slip away. Chad would not be able to do this if he were looking to knock guys out with one shot.”
 
With Dawson going back to his “roots,” it appears the restoration of harmony between trainer and fighter was as smooth a transition as could be. But at this stage in both Scully's and Dawson's careers, one could surmise that the pair is going to stick it out together till the very end.
 
“The transition was the easiest thing you could imagine,” Scully recalled. “Chad gives all of himself to you; he is open to learning new things. And mind you, this was after not seeing him for a long time. When we linked up again, keep in mind that he was already rich and famous. He was also a world champion. After working one round of pads with him, I immediately knew that he was still the same guy – which, all in all, surprised me.”
 
Continuing, in regard to working with Dawson for the remainder of his career, Scully commented, “I would assume so. Success always brings about happy feelings. I can't find a reason to not stay together but boxing is a funny business though. You never know what’s going to happen from one day to the next, which is why I take it day by day and not look into the future too much. You know, after the second Hopkins fight, Chad autographed an 8”x10” photo for me. He also gave me his trunks from the fight. Who knows? That could be a good sign.”

THIS ARTICLE PROVIDED TO DOGHOUSE BOXING FROM MAXBOXING.COM.
 
Questions and comments can be sent to “Jay Gon” at bklynqueenzmpire@aol.com.
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