Sharkie's Machine: Chad Dawson Gets Some Redemption in Unanimous Decision Win over Glen Johnson - Boxing Report with Photos
By Frank Gonzalez Jr., exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (Nov 8, 2009) All Photo © Will Hart / HBO  
Congratulations to IBO Light Heavyweight titlist Chad Dawson (29-0, 17 KO’s), for doing what real champions do; they take care of unfinished business. Chad Dawson had the ghost of Glen Johnson sticking in his craw for nearly two years after his somewhat controversial, decision victory over Glen Johnson back in April of 2008. That was a close fight where many felt Johnson had just edged out Dawson on points. It was no surprise that Glen Johnson (49-13-2, 33 KO’s), dubbed, “The Road Warrior,” was denied by the official Judges that night. After that fight, Johnson was adamant about wanting a rematch. When Dawson was asked if he wanted a rematch with Johnson, Dawson said he was, “moving on.” showing no interest in a potentially dangerous rematch with the rugged Glen Johnson.

After Johnson, Dawson went on to beat former titlist, Antonio Tarver twice. The first fight was a nearly shutout win for Dawson, which left no credible reason for a rematch but—but Dawson gave one to Tarver anyway and thought Tarver was a little better in the rematch, Dawson won it in just about as easy fashion as the first time. Nowadays, Tarver is one of the newest commentators on Showtime, where his commentary is often worse than his two fights with Dawson .

Incidentally, back in 2004, Johnson beat Tarver by a Split Decision and then graciously gave Tarver a rematch six months later in 2005, where Tarver got the decision win but then refused to ever fight a rubber match to determine who of the two would be 2-1 against the other. So hats off to Chad Dawson for finally giving Johnson a rematch.

This rematch was nearly a blowout win for Dawson, who laid back from an outside boxing stance and allowed Johnson to come forward and taste his jabs and combinations right before stepping back outside of Johnson’s range. Though Johnson chased him all through the fight, it was Dawson who was able to land the crisper shots all night.

Johnson trained to fight a faster paced fight and even employed the services of IBF titlist Lucian Bute, the Canadian based Super Middleweight titlist, as a sparring partner. It was to no avail though because although Johnson was the aggressor throughout the fight, it was the 27 year old Dawson who landed the most effective punches and with less effort. The southpaw Dawson proved too fast and too fluid for Johnson and even when Johnson scored, his punches didn’t have much pop. Dawson looked relaxed and in control of the action, while Johnson never seemed to shift gears or make adjustments, he just kept coming forward with a pawing jab followed by predictable punches that Dawson most often avoided by blocking or moving. Johnson’s lack of a plan B strategy proved costly.

Though 40 years old, Glen Johnson came in great shape, as evidenced by the continuous pressure he applied to Dawson Saturday night, moving forward for all of 12 rounds at the XL Center, Dawson ’s hometown venue in Hartford Connecticut . But being in shape and being able to score against a top notch opponent with effectiveness, are not one in the same. Johnson did manage to win the final round with a continuous rally, while Dawson was playing it smart to keep away from his desperate opponent, on the verge of a loss.

In the end, there were no knockdowns, no deducted points and neither man looked the worse for wear. Johnson climbed onto the corner ropes to address the fans, who this time, booed him softly, letting him know that, no, he didn’t win the fight. The official scores were 115-113 twice and 117-111 all in favor of Dawson .

Glen Johnson has not enjoyed the benefits bestowed on other top fighters and in spite of his age, he’s still a dangerous proposition for anyone in the division, so it’s not very likely he gets another chance to win a major title anytime soon. His best days are likely behind him. But Johnson deserves recognition for the long years of quality he’s given to the sport of boxing. He’s lost a few decisions that should have gone the other way—but that’s boxing, which survives in spite of itself. Glen Johnson’s a hard working, working class caliber fighter and even in the twilight of his career, he did a lot better against Dawson than most other top guys in the division might have done.

However you slice it, Johnson proved one dimensional Saturday night. He had the stamina, he had the will. He just didn’t do what he needed to neutralize Dawson ’s offense or land cleaner punches. He allowed Dawson to be the counter puncher and Dawson happily accepted.

All is not lost for Glen Johnson; he will make a fine “gate keeper” at the upper echelon of the Light Heavyweight division. But we can’t write him off. George Foreman won a title at 46 years old. So considering how hard Johnson works, who knows? I wish him all the best.

This time, during the post fight interview, when Dawson was asked who he wants to fight; he was quick to say that he wants Bernard Hopkins. He also was receptive to the idea of fighting Jean Pascal, the Canadian based LHW who now holds the WBC strap. Dawson closed saying that this ‘chapter’ is now closed, regarding Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson and that now its time to fight some fresh faces, other top fighters. Dawson was the definition of a “boxer” Saturday night as he made maximum utilization with minimal expenditure. He has matured well as a fighter and will hopefully face a worthy top fighter in his next outing.

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