Tall and sinewy like a basketball player whenever Chad “Bad” Dawson fires a punch it’s always surprising to hear the impact he creates.
Sometimes it’s the only noise you hear because Dawson doesn’t talk much.
The low-key Dawson from New Haven, Conn. defends his WBC light heavyweight title against ring-tough veteran Jesus “Chuy” Ruiz (19-4, 17 KOs) of Mexico on Saturday June 9, at the Connecticut Convention Center. It will be televised on Showtime.
Dawson (23-0, 15 KOs) rarely yells or even grunts. Most of the shouts come from Floyd Mayweather his trainer and a man of many wise words.
“Chad looks sharp, his punching is harder and his defense is better,” said Mayweather who works hands on with Dawson in the Las Vegas gyms. “I’m expecting for him to win this fight.”
Mayweather works with several other fighters but Dawson is his tallest fighter who has an arm reach that’s surprising. In one instance while Dawson’s trainer works the mitts a left hand to the body runs astray and tagged the 54-year-old trainer solidly. The action is stopped for a minute until Mayweather recoups. Then back again they work on the combinations.
“He’s punching stronger and stronger,” Mayweather says of his charge.
Facing the WBC light heavyweight titleholder is Mexico’s street tough Ruiz, a fighter who loves to engage in punch-outs. That’s when he’s happiest when fists are flying and it’s anybody’s fight.
When Ruiz gets in the ring you can expect a human locomotive. If you stand in his way he will run you over. It’s the mobile guys that give him trouble or someone that has a very big punch. His nickname used to be “Choo Choo” but he didn’t like it. He prefers Chuy to Choo Choo though the latter nickname is appropriate.
“I have been waiting for this opportunity for my whole life,” said Ruiz, 33, during a telephone press conference. “I’ve watched a lot of Mr. Dawson’s fights. I think he is a great fighter and we will put on a big show.”
In the last six years Ruiz took four years off interspersed with a few fights in between the layoffs. Last November he jumped in the ring against veteran Rodney Moore and dropped him with a right hand to the body. A few seconds later another right hand forced Moore to collapse to the floor in agony, just 1:20 into the first round.
Ruiz still has rocks in his fists but he won’t brag about it.
“I’m working to win each round and to connect with hard punches to his body,” said Ruiz, who lives in Long Beach but formerly lived in East Los Angeles. “I am going to try to connect with my hard punches.”
It’s going to be a meeting of two different styles.
Since working with Mayweather, the long-armed Dawson has been polishing up his defense and speed. It’s a trademark of Mayweather that his fighters enter the ring ready to defend themselves against all styles. Offense is important, but defense is too.
“We’ve been working together for a little while now. He’s getting better,” says Mayweather, who trains other fighters such as Joan Guzman, Oscar De La Hoya, and Anthony Hanshaw who is getting ready to fight Roy Jones Jr. next month. “He’s doing what he has to do to win this fight.”
Dawson, 24, captured the WBC world title last February against Poland’s Tomasz Adamek. Though he thoroughly out-boxed the former champion he was knocked down late in the fight. He got up to win the fight by unanimous decision in Kissimmee, Florida.
“That is my best performance,” Dawson says. No brag, just fact.
Ruiz strongest performance came against a fellow Mexican fighter seven years ago in East Los Angeles when he faced former WBO light heavyweight title-holder Julio Gonzalez. At the time both fighters were undefeated and still raw. For nine rounds the two sluggers exchanged homerun punches in a toe-to-toe war that had the fans inside the tent roaring. But Ruiz was hurt and the fight was stopped at the end of the ninth round.
The native of Guanajuato, Mexico still believes he could have won that fight. No matter, he is now fighting for the WBC green belt.
“Every boxer in the world dreams of the WBC title,” Ruiz says. “I was born in Mexico and we want the green belt.”
Dawson expects to figure out Ruiz and win in front of a crowd in his home state.
“Hartford is just about 40-45 minutes away,” said Dawson whose hometown is New Haven. “The most important thing is me going into the ring and doing my job and leaving the ring with my title. Of course I want to impress the fans.”
Inside the ring, all anybody we’ll hear is the impact sound of punches.