The fight has been two years in the making, and now, it’s on. The light heavyweight division’s top young dog, WBA 175 pound champion Chad Dawson, will glove up against current IBF champion who maintains that he’s still the cream of the LH crop, Antonio Tarver. The bout, scheduled for Saturday, October 11, will air on Showtime Championship Boxing. The cable net sent out a release trumpeting the showdown. They could have added a sentence or two that this fight serves notice to rival HBO that Showtime, with its roster of dramas, and now its boxing coverage, is no longer seen as a distant second to HBO, not in the least.
NEW YORK (July 14, 2008) – Building upon its tradition of delivering the most evenly matched and significant fights in boxing, SHOWTIME Senior Vice President and General Manager, Sports and Event Programming Ken Hershman officially announced today the fight that boxing pundits and fans have been waiting for. World champion Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver (27-4, 19 KOs) and undefeated “Bad” Chad Dawson (26-0, 17 KOs) will face off in a battle of light heavyweight kingpins on Saturday, Oct. 11 live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
“There’s been a ground-swell of anticipation for this fight for more than a year,” said Hershman. “Two of the pound-for-pound best going toe-to-toe—this is what SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING is all about. Tarver-Dawson is yet another example of SHOWTIME delivering on our promise to televise the most meaningful and competitive match-ups in the sport.”
Tarver, the former undisputed light heavyweight world champion, is the only man to stick two losses on the professional resume of future Hall of Famer Roy Jones, Jr.
After registering a definitive unanimous decision over the defending IBF 175-pound champion Clinton Woods on April 12 on SHOWTIME, Tarver is back on top of the deep light heavyweight division.
Dawson, of New Haven, Conn., is out to prove that he is the man to be at light heavyweight. A ShoBox alum with speed, coordination and power, Dawson is considered by most industry insiders to be the next star of the star-studded division.
“SHOWTIME has had the opportunity to present Chad Dawson on his rise from unknown prospect to world champion,” Hershman said. “Now he’ll face a legendary and highly confident fighter in Antonio Tarver, who may be fighting the best he ever has. It’s a compelling fight on many levels.”
On the same night Tarver was dethroning Woods, Dawson successfully defended his WBC title against the hard-hitting and aggressive Glen Johnson. Albeit a difficult fight for the young champion, Dawson won the unanimous decision and showed his mettle against a heavy-handed adversary.
After the fight, Tarver had some choice words for Dawson in front of a packed media center at the St. Pete Times Forum.
“Chad Dawson would be easy pickings now,’’ Tarver said. “He’s not the fighter now that he was before this fight (against Johnson). He’s a wounded duck.”
Tarver continued, “Dawson took a lot of hard punches against Johnson, but there is a difference between getting hit by Glen Johnson and getting hit by me.
Dawson had this to say: “Johnson is a warrior and we trained for that,’’ Dawson said after winning by scores of 116-112 on all the scorecards. “Glen is a great fighter. But I did my job and now it’s time to move on and fight the big names and the best fighters.
Upon agreeing to the Tarver fight, a clearly agitated Dawson added: “It’s about time he stepped up to the plate. He has finally stopped making excuses and it’s time we settle this. After this fight, I’m going to perform my own trick – I’m going to make the Magic Man disappear.”
“Just like Roy Jones, Glen Johnson, Montell Griffin and Reggie Johnson, Dawson is going to become another world champion with a big ‘L’ on his record from me!,” Tarver said.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING announcers Steve Albert and Al Bernstein will call the action from ringside with Jim Gray serving as roving reporter and Karyn Bryant as special correspondent. The executive producer of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING is David Dinkins, Jr. with Bob Dunphy directing.
For information on SHOWTIME Sports Programming, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries, complete telecast information and more, please go to the new SHOWTIME Sports website at http://www.sho.com/sports.