It was a sweet scene to see, the acknowledged number one and two man* in a division getting it on. And the Chad Dawson/Jean Pascal scrap came through, in the drama department, because the 4-to-1 underdog Pascal sprung one of the upsets of the year..at least, in the eyes of the bookmakers. Lots of us thought that at the very least, Pascal (26-1) would exert a level of pressure on Dawson (29-1) that the Connecticut-born Las Vegas resident hasnt seen before.
All of us would have liked to see the sprint to the finish play out, as it was looking like the somnolent Dawson finally got it in round 11, understood that there was no way that if the fight went to the cards, hed get the nod on Pascals home turf. But a clash of heads opened up a gruesome gash on Dawsons right eye, and the ring doc made the right call after he saw bone when looking at the slice. Me, Im guessing that Dawson would indeed have jammed his foot on the accelerator, and stopped Pascal. But well never know..so it only makes sense to do it again. However, that cut will need a good four months to heal, and if I were Team Pascal, Id capitalize on the momentum, and get er done, get a an all-Canuck showdown with Lucian Bute made before risking a return tiff with a possibly reinvigorated Dawson. Of course, TSS-EM thinks Bute is a poor mans Joe Calzaghe, with top tier ring generalship and inside fighting ability that will be much harder for Pascal to solve. So if the Canadian Boxing Super Bowl occurs, we run the risk of Pascal losing to Bute (26-0, booked to defend his IBF 168 pound belt against 35-2 Jesse Brinkley on Oct. 15), and thus smudging the shine of a Pascal-Dawson re-do.
Only Chad Dawson truly knows what the messy situation with his manager, promoter and father did to him mentally, how much that affected his head. It looked to me like conditioning wasnt an issue, but desire was. Never a seek and destroy boxer to begin with, Dawsons reticence against a pitbull like Pascal stood out like Snooki Polizzi in church.
If he allows the truth to sink in, and doesnt get caught up in alibis and excuses, this loss could be just what the kid needs. He doesnt draw in New England, doesnt have the charisma or trashtalking ability to gain buzz, so his greatest attribute is his ring generalship, his knack at not getting hit, and hitting, in that order. But we saw glimpses of what he could be, when he decided to fight, to plant his feet, put combos together, and try to do damage. This loss may well convince him that he needs to do more of that if he wants to do more than sniff the pound for pound top 20 or 10.
Enough from me–heres a new feature well be running at TSS. Since we have the best, most astute, most lyrical commenters out there, I figured well spotlight their takes a bit more heavily on the site. Here are the top five takes on the Pascal-Dawson fight, as determined by me, from the TSS Universe sages.
1) MORTCOLA Chad Dawson is a very gifted fighter. But theres something missing. I think he doesnt like violence – giving or receiving. He likes the movement and the marksmanship. But hes flustered by everything that hits him, whether its hard or not – he reacts. And when he has the chance to tee off, he takes a few shots and then stops. Sure, a rematch is OK by me. But it will take a lot to make me think of him again as a pound for pounder. The main intangible is missing.
2) FEROZ Chad Dawson lacks fire, simple as that. He is the superior talent and had a great corner but he simply did nothing to deserve keeping his belt. The networks and the promoters get most of the flak for boxings woes, but if you ask me its fighters like Chad that are actually the problem. And Pascal for that matter. Archie Moore was right. Someone has to try to knock the other guy out. Boxing, like every other sport with which it contends for audience, is entertainment. People pay to see fighters fight. Chad Dawson is going to have a very hard time getting people to pay to see him if he doesnt light a fire soon…up his a–.
3) BROWN SUGAR What a fight! Im very disappointed in Dawson. Props to the Roast, Deepwater and everyone else who called it correctly. Dawson needed to be first and initiate the exchanges instead of allowing Pascal to steal the show. Boxing is war, not a square dance. Dawson had the opportunity to finish Pascal. But he kept letting the feisty Pascal complete his pitstops before reluctantly taking the attack back to his foe. Dawson has alot to meditate on. The rematch should be a hell of a fight. Just hope Dawson brings his b—s next time…. or channels the ghosts of Americas golden era.
4) THE ROAST Michael Spinks would have KOed both Dawson and Pascal. They would be stretched. It was a good fight. Both fighters should have done more. Dawson seems more talented but so reluctant to engage. That said alot about his fire when Chad said hed get him next time. WTF is that move where he jumps backward like when a little kid tries to hit you in the n–s. That just doesnt look good. I must be getting old. I miss the Spinks Jinx. Saad. Braxton. These men were warriors.
5) IN TOUCH In this case, Dawson did the right thing, fighting a young contender with a solid record. But, through no fault of his own, hes been chasing some old men out there, Hopkins and Calzaghe to name a few. And, not to mention, fighting some old men: Glen Johnson and Tarver times two. Such is the state of this sport. Some of these old cowboys bring more money to the table. And these young, talented fighters are chasing them instead of being their own men. Be great at what you do and they will come to you. Here was a chance for Dawson to show how great he was… unfortunately he failed. But at least he took the step. Well see what a rematch brings. But before that Im interested in seeing Pascal vs. Bute. When have we had two Canadians fighting each other and it drawing interest outside of Canada? This one will! Canadians have something to be proud of… besides their maple syrup and their good nature.
*Not a gimme to rooters for Tavoris Cloud, Jurgen Brahmer or Zsolt Erdei, we suppose. But I am in a Ill take what we can get frame of mind, considering I was 99% off from TSS for the past week, at Bethany Beach in Delaware, visiting family. Tip of the cap to David Avila for more than holding down the fort in my absence.