HOW HE DID IT: Adonis Showed Ring Smarts, Not Just Power

BY Lee Wylie ON June 10, 2013
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275px-AdonisChad Dawson's career took a serious nose dive this past Saturday night in Montreal after Adonis Stevenson knocked him out in the very first round and claimed the lineal light heavyweight title.

A little under a minute into the fight, Stevenson (now 21-1 with 18 knockouts) connected with a stiff left cross that sent Dawson (now 31-3 with 2 no contests and 17 knockouts) crashing to the canvas. Although Dawson managed to beat the count, referee Michael Griffen correctly deemed him unfit to continue and signalled for the end.

In this brief analysis of a very brief fight, I'd like to breakdown what Adonis Stevenson did that allowed him to take advantage of a serious hole in Chad Dawson's game and score that stunning first round knockout.

A lot can happen in under a minute!

Neutralizing and establishing the jab

As I'm certain anyone reading this will be aware, the jab is an essential part of any fighter's arsenal. Quite simply, there is no greater weapon in boxing. Needless to say, if a fighter can successfully take away his/her opponent's jab while establishing their own, chances of them winning will increase dramatically. In the very short time the fight lasted, we saw Stevenson consistently countering Dawson's jab.

Chad Dawson vs Adonis Stevenson 1

Here, Stevenson performs an outside parry and counters Dawson with a short right hook on the chin.

Stevenson continued to counter Dawson’s jab with a right hook along with a jab of his own.

Chad Dawson vs Adonis Stevenson 2

Here is Stevenson countering Dawson’s jab on three separate occasions. By taking his head off line, Stevenson connects with his right hand and forces Dawson (whose head remains central) to miss with his.

Stevenson also had success landing his jab to the body.

Chad Dawson vs Adonis Stevenson 3

Here is Stevenson targeting Dawson’s body with the jab.

The body jab is an excellent weapon to use against reactive fighters like Dawson who tend to overreact by lowering their guard in order to compensate. Attacking one target for a period of time before shifting the attack to a different target is excellent strategy (Floyd Mayweather is a masterful at it).

The knockout

By consistently landing his jab to Dawson's body, Stevenson was able to lay down the ground work for the knockout left cross.

Chad Dawson vs Adonis Stevenson 4

In the knockout sequence, Stevenson circles right (which he did for best part of the fight), feints low (as if to throw a body jab), blinds Dawson with a non-contact jab and then connects with a left cross. Notice how Dawson has overreacted to Stevenson's level change (feint). Also, take a look at Stevenson's body alignment in relation to Dawson's as he shoots his left cross. When moving from the jab to the cross in combination (one-two), a fighter should move his lead foot out to the lead side. By doing this in conjunction with throwing a blinding jab to serve as a distraction, Stevenson was able to bridge the gap and secure a dominant angle of attack without telegraphing his intentions.

An intelligent fighter should always study his opponent in search for any habits prior to the fight, making note of any patterns that seem recurrent in their tactics. It is my belief, that while Chad Dawson was rumored to have called upon Google to learn more about his opponent, Stevenson had done his homework and studied Chad Dawson extensively. Going one step further, I believe Stevenson may have seen something specific in Dawson during his fight with Andre Ward.

Whenever his opponents launch an attack, Dawson nearly always tries to counter them with a lead right hook. By attacking Dawson indirectly (either by feinting or by targeting the body before attacking up top), Ward was able to sneak his left hand in past Dawson’s low lead arm as he was winding up his hook.

Chad Dawson vs Adonis Stevenson 5

Here is Andre Ward taking advantage of Dawson as he attempts to launch a counter right hook. The low lead of Dawson exposes him to attacks coming in from his right.

Another look at the knockout shows Dawson trying to land the exact same counter right hook against Stevenson.

Chad Dawson vs Adonis Stevenson 6

Notice Dawson’s poor lead hand position as Stevenson connects with a left cross. Because Stevenson is a hard hitting southpaw whose main threat was coming from his more potent rear hand, the low lead hand of Dawson was a recipe for disaster.

Because of the nature of the knockout, Stevenson’s punching power will likely garner most of the headlines. But as was the case with Lucas Matthysse the other week, I’ve come away finding myself even more impressed with Stevenson’s ring acumen and ability to maximize his punching power –using good footwork, feints and a varied jab—by knowing how to first set his opponent up. 

Comment on this article

Radam G says:

Nice breakdown, but IMHO the ref was totally wrong. He should've given Dawson a chance to continue. It is not right to speculate about what coulda or woulda happened. It is prizefighting hurt business, not prizefighting stopping or speculation of severe harm. Hurt and harm come with the territory of the hurt business/legal mayhem.

Wuzzy referees should be banned. Fighters are like cops, soldiers and war correspondents. They take risks of becoming fatalities for small or big bucks. Those who cannot handle these realites should just stick with Big-Screen watching of Rocky Balboa jive. Holla!

the Roast says:

I agree with you Radam. That Ref, whoever he was, could have stopped the fight if Dawson took another hard shot or two. Dawson might have held on or clinched or took a knee or whatever. Now we will never know. Dawson was the Champ and he went into the other guys hometown and he gets a quick stoppage? Other Champions may think twice about fighting in hostile territory - unless the money is too good to pass up.

Carmine Cas says:

From a fighter and fan standpoint the ref should have given Dawson the champ at the time, the benefit of the doubt and let him fight on. As stated previously he could have attempted to survive; clinch, take a knee, lean on the ropes, etc. However part of the ref's job is too protect the fighter, Chad was clearly out on his feet, and he didn't help is case by leaning back on ropes when the ref instructed him to come forward. That's what stopped the fight.

stormcentre says:

Yes, agreed. The referee could have let Adonis whip Chad into mince meat for our sakes - pun intended.

Got to admit. I didn't see the 1st round KO coming. I would have thought Dawson would at least get to round 8, if not a points win/draw.

Radam G says:

Hehehehe! That was funny, Storm -- no pun intended. What about letting the ref let Superman Adonis whup SuperBad Chad into Swiss cheese? Holla!

Radam G says:

It is a myth that the ref is suppose to protect the fighter. The fighter is responsible for protecting himself "at all times." The ref's job is to enforce rules. Wow! Myths are told so long until they are applied as reality. Holla!

amayseng says:

Chad looked more frozen than Austin powers in his cryogenic state.


He couldn't respond and fell back into the ropes when asked to step forward.

The only hope he had was to snap out of it in the 3 seconds it would take

Adonis to get to him to knock his head off.



And btw Radam,

rocky 3 was fantastic. When I was 7

Ha.

Carmine Cas says:

Either way Dawson's fumbling back into the ropes was a clear indication he was not fit to continue in the eyes of the ref and to many others. He didn't look good, I would have loved to see more but his legs didn't him any favors

Radam G says:

Holla at Friday's Showtime's Shobox. Nick Brinson stumbled and bumbled five times worse than Dawson. But the ref reffed and didn't bytch halt the match. Jorge Melendez and team are still bytch crying that the ref should've halt the bout. Holla!

amayseng says:

I watched that.

Good scrap

the Roast says:

Smoger would have let the fight go. Do you Sallys remember when the great Thomas Hearns got dropped by Iran Barkley? Hearns got to his feet with his hands at his waist leaning back against the ropes. Richard Steele asked if he was ok and the Hitman said nothing. Steele waved Iran back in. Thats how a Champ goes out boys. I hope the Ref for this weekend's JuanMa-Garcia fight isn't on his period.

stormcentre says:

It is a myth that the ref is suppose to protect the fighter. The fighter is responsible for protecting himself "at all times." The ref's job is to enforce rules. Wow! Myths are told so long until they are applied as reality. Holla!



The ref is there - particularly in Top Rank and GB fights - to protect the promoter's purse/interests.

Dawson's defence has, IMHO, always been a bit suspicious, predictable and/or relaxed. Wylie has that (inference) right. But it is Dawson's lack of effective/constant aggression that, when combined with the aforementioned defensive lapses, creates problems for him.

Most guys with a suspicious, predictable and/or relaxed defence that make it in boxing; are boxer/fighters that stay busy and aggressive so that it's not too easy for their opponents to capitalise on their defensive weaknesses. Ricky Hatton. Manny Pacquiao .. . etc, etc.

stormcentre says:

Yep, Smoger is alright in my books too.

Seems down to earth and knows why the guys are in there - it's not a tickling contest

Carmine Cas says:

Smoger would have let the fight go. Do you Sallys remember when the great Thomas Hearns got dropped by Iran Barkley? Hearns got to his feet with his hands at his waist leaning back against the ropes. Richard Steele asked if he was ok and the Hitman said nothing. Steele waved Iran back in. Thats how a Champ goes out boys. I hope the Ref for this weekend's JuanMa-Garcia fight isn't on his period.


Steve Smoger is the man

amayseng says:

Smoger would have let the fight go. Do you Sallys remember when the great Thomas Hearns got dropped by Iran Barkley? Hearns got to his feet with his hands at his waist leaning back against the ropes. Richard Steele asked if he was ok and the Hitman said nothing. Steele waved Iran back in. Thats how a Champ goes out boys. I hope the Ref for this weekend's JuanMa-Garcia fight isn't on his period.


"Sally's".

Ha.

I know how often are die hard fans wanting to stop

the action from a devestating ko or intense exchange

in a title fight?

Radam G says:

Hehehehe! That was COLDHEARTED, Storm! C'mon, don't say that a ref or two is on the take for Golden Boy Punks -- I mean -- Productions and Top Rank.

Good one, the Roast! Your comedy is coming back and rising! "Sallys?" What about Susies. Hahahaha! Holla!

stormcentre says:

Just having fun RG

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