Sharkie’s Machine: Chad Dawson’s Questionable Decision Win over Glen Johnson
By Frank Gonzalez Jr. Exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (April 13, 2008) Photo © Tom Casino/SHOWTIME  
In the toughest fight of his career, Chad Dawson remained unbeaten after what looked like his first professional loss. It was a close fight, where the momentum shifted from moment to moment within the 12 rounds they fought. Glen Johnson put on his typical, workmanlike performance and split the first half of the fight in terms of rounds but did more damage and won most of the last six in the second half of the fight. Though Dawson was considered the power puncher, it was actually Johnson’s punches that had more authority in this fight.

Lets go backwards here and start with the post fight interviews after Dawson got the nod 116-112 on all three official score cards to win by Unanimous Decision and the crowd booed to show its dissatisfaction with the official decision.

Interviewer: Do you think you were able to execute your plan tonight?

Chad Dawson: “Yeah, we wanted to come out and box. I out boxed him and out pointed him and we did that.”

Interviewer: I have to say, this looks like it was the toughest fight of your career. Would you agree with that?

CD: “It definitely was the toughest fight of my career. I give Glen Johnson all the credit in the world. He came out, fought like a true champion. His name is the Road Warrior and he fought like a warrior but I executed my game plan, put rounds in the bank and I came out and I did that.”

Interviewer: Did he hurt you at all? In the third round, you looked like you were stunned.

CD: “Yeah, he’s a strong fighter. He caught me with a few good shots. But like I said, I trained too hard for this fight and you know, I came out victorious in a unanimous decision.”

The interviewer turned to Glen Johnson.

Interviewer: Glen, that was a tremendous fight, congratulations, you look better than a lot of 39 year olds out there. What do you think about the young champion? I know he said that you’re the Dean of the Division. Were you impressed by this young fighter?

Glen Johnson: “He’s a good fighter—but not good enough to beat me. Everyone here in the audience saw it and everybody that’s watching HBO, I’m sorry; I mean, Showtime, saw it. I can’t believe at my age, at 39, they would rip me off like this for a young, talented young guy who has the world in his hands in the future. I’m on my last legs, going for my future, trying to pay my bills just like he do, but I work hard and I win the fight and I deserve it. I don’t understand how people find it in their hearts to do what they did to me, time and time again. I love people and I try to put my trust in people and they continue to let me down. The Judges…America needs to protest what’s going on in boxing today. If this is how it has to be for people to be successful…it’s not about boxing and using your skills and win the fight it’s about politics and who you know. It should be abolished!”

Interviewer: All right well, do you want a rematch?

GJ: “Of course I want a rematch (behind Johnson, his corner man says, “They won’t give him a rematch!”) but I shouldn’t have to get a rematch on this side of the fence. I should get a rematch from the side of the winner because that is what I deserve. And he knows and his promoter knows I tell everybody, I tell Showtime that if I win the fight I give him a rematch like that. I’m afraid of nobody. I fight every man in the world. I never duck or hide from anyone. I fight it all off. Look at this? (Showing how flat his glove was after fighting) I fought my heart out and they still have the nerve to rip me off! He (Dawson) should protest it!”

The interviewer turned back to Dawson.

Interviewer: I think you both fought your butts off tonight. Would you take a rematch?

Chad Dawson: “Like he said, I’m a young, talented fighter, you know, and I’m looking forward…maybe if he went home and watched the fight he’d see that I landed more punches, landed more shots but like I said, I’m looking to fight the best. Glen Johnson was one of the best. I took care of business, its time to move on.”

Interviewer: Are you planning on staying in this weight class or do you think you’ll move down to 168?

CD: No, I’m going to stay at light heavyweight, this is my calling, if there’s no other fights for me at LHW, maybe I’ll go down to 168. I’ll just talk to my promoter Gary Shaw and see what’s on the table next.

Interviewer: So, you’d rather move on to somebody else than to fight Glen Johnson again?

CD: “I mean, like I said, I’m a young guy, I’m looking forward, like he said, I got the whole world in my hands. He fought a great fight. It was a great fight but I executed my game plan, I came out and boxed, I landed more punches, better punches. He’s a great fighter, I take nothing away from him but I did my job.”

Interviewer: We had talked in our fighter meetings about your chin; you were sort of frustrated that people said you have a weak chin. Yet that did seem to be the place where he hurt you tonight.

CD: “He caught me with some good shots. But I didn’t go down, I stood right there. He caught me with some good shots but hey, I stood up to him. I’m there.”

Interviewer: What are you thinking of the fight after yours. Antonio Tarver and Clinton Woods? Predictions?

CD: “I’m going to shower up and then come watch that fight. Predictions, I have a prediction but may the best man win.”


How often do we hear the fans in the audience booing an official decision? Usually when the decision is clearly the wrong one. How can thousands of fans be wrong and three people seated at ringside be right?

Are there reasons why Judges lean towards one fighter over another, even when the guy their leaning towards is taking the most punishment or losing the more rounds? Scoring a fight is subjective and I’m sure we all have opinions on this matter.

If you can win by knockout, does that not assume that in a decision, whoever did the most damage would logically be considered the winner? How do you score a round when one guy lands a few more but the guy who landed less did more damage? It’s totally subjective to how you perceive what constitutes winning a round in boxing. I’m not a professional judge but I use the criteria they espouse; clean punching, defense, effective aggression and ring generalship.

Boxers win without question when they score a knockout. But any fight that goes the distance is subjective to the decisions of the official Judges. Who are these people? What are their qualifications? Who pays them? Why aren’t they accountable for questionable decisions that can ruin the career of a fighter who really won but goes home with a Loss and a demoted stature?

The Fight:

Round One
Dawson’s best round, where he was able to land more punches and keep Johnson under control to a good degree.

Round Two
Johnson landed some good shots and Dawson showed he could take them. Dawson was tentative but came on a little late in the round. Johnson scored to the body and face often with his somewhat awkward style of infighting. Dawson scored with a nice up and down combination. Johnson answered with shots to the body. The second round was too hard to call as both had some good moments.

Round Three
Johnson pressured Dawson backwards. Dawson landed some good body shots. Johnson rallied and scored, Dawson rallied and scored. Johnson literally stunned Dawson with a big right hand near the end of the third round that saw him looking vulnerable to a knockout. Very good fight!

Round Four
Dawson was able to get his legs back under him by popping his jab and moving as he managed to score well. Johnson scored well too, as he applied pressure and kept Dawson moving backwards. Johnson’s best successes were on the inside. A close round that could’ve been scored even.

Round Five
Dawson made adjustments to box on the outside. He worked his jab and combos. He scored some but Johnson did a great job of blocking most of Dawson’s shots while managing to score some of his own. That too could’ve been scored even.

Round Six
Johnson was in control of the tempo of the fight, pressing Dawson and landing the cleaner shots while forcing him to fight on Johnson’s terms. The crowd booed as Dawson appeared unwilling to exchange and more willing to run.

Round Seven
Dawson was committed to boxing from a distance. He looked a bit weathered and didn’t have much pop on his punches. Both landed some good shots but Dawson started to pick up the pace and landed the cleaner shots.

Round Eight
Johnson came on strong and backed Dawson up. Johnson landed a straight right. Dawson landed a nice uppercut. Dawson boxed better and landed more.

Round Nine
They mixed it up and both scored in spots. Johnson was sitting on his punches better than Dawson who looked to be losing power. Johnson landed some good combinations to the body and head.

Both guys had great corner-men giving them the right advice. Both fighters listened well to their corners. Dawson’s corner’s advice was to box outside and Johnson’s corner’s advice was to land something that would hurt his opponent.

Round Ten
Dawson boxed outside and popped his jab. His punches had lost their steam but he was using his legs to keep away from come forward Johnson, who caught Dawson with a big right that staggered Dawson, who held until the ref broke them. Johnson went for the finish but Dawson was able to make it out of the round.

Round Eleven
Johnson was still trying to finish from the tenth round as he aggressively pursued Dawson, scoring well but not enough to fell Dawson, who showed a pretty good chin, considering how often he was getting tagged. Johnson was scoring repeatedly until Dawson rallied in the final moment and both scored.

Round Twelve
Both guys showed tremendous heart as they went at it. Dawson scored a nice upper cut, Johnson went after him. Dawson basically ran away as the crowd booed loudly in disapproval.

Its clear to me that Glen Johnson was correct in his statements. It IS about who you know (who’s your promoter) more than skill in winning a fight. I feel bad for both guys because in a way, both guys won. Dawson won because he showed that he can take punches and make adjustments to stay in a fight that isn’t going his way. Johnson showed that at 39, he still has what it takes to win against the (perceived) best fighters in the division.

Clearly Dawson has no interest in any rematch with Johnson, which sucks because they both deserve a rematch. But apparently, deserves got nothing to do with it.

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