Thursday, March 11, 2010

Haitian-Canadian Jean Pascal to fight American Chad Dawson in August

Haiti's Jean Pascal (born in the still recovering Haiti) is the WBC light-heavyweight champion, while America's Chad Dawson is the WBC's interim champ at 175-pounds. Now, on August 14th, in Montreal, Canada, the two 27-year-old's will clash to decide who the "real" WBC king is at light-heavyweight.

A most exciting fight on paper, picking a winner from this one is no easy thing. Pascal, 25-1(16) but unbeaten up at light-heavyweight, is an aggressive-minded warrior type who, as he proved in his sole pro loss to Carl Froch, loves a good old fashioned slug fest and has the type of chin needed to be able to fight in such a way.. 4-0 as a 175-pounder, Pascal is coming off a repeat points win over Adrian Diaconu, the man he beat to claim the WBC crown he now wears. It was in this December 2009 return with "The Shark" that the Canadian suffered a shoulder injury; which is the reason the Dawson fight will not happen until August. Rest assured, though, a fully fit Pascal, who can box as well as slug, is more than capable of testing Dawson like no other fights has; perhaps he is even capable of beating "Bad Chad."

Of course, Dawson, 29-0(17) is a southpaw, and a clever one at that. As far as I can see, Pascal has faced just one lefty in the past three years or so (winning a November 2006 UD over Jermain Mackey of The Bahamas). It's entirely possible Dawson, the better boxer of the two, will be able to confuse the Canadian with his stance and with his slick approach. But if Glen Johnson could force Dawson to fight a different type of fight than he is usually accustomed, then it's likely the younger Pascal can do the same thing.

You can expect Pascal to try and put the heat on Dawson right from the opening bell in August (remember, Dawson has been down early in a fight before now), and we may see a fight as great as we did when the southpaw went to war with "The Road Warrior" in their first, April 2008, meeting. If, however, Dawson is intent on boxing a smart fight and not getting dragged into a dog fight type of affair, Pascal could meet the same fate Johnson did in his rematch with the man from Connecticut, when he was contained, subdued and clearly out-pointed.

Something tricky that Dawson faces, though, is the fact that his name and appeal have failed to grow as a par-per-view attraction because he is seldom in exciting, fan-friendly fights - or so the knock on him goes. And come to think of it, maybe I've given Johnson a little too much credit by saying he forced Dawson to fight his fight in April a couple of years ago - maybe Dawson, realising the fans were demanding action from him, fought the way he did that night on purpose. If this is the case, Dawson got away with it against the then 39-year-old - but will he pull off a win if he fights a war with Pascal?

I think the August fight will very probably bring out the best in Dawson. Having craved a big fight for some time now (one with Bernard Hopkins remains at the top of his wish list), the fact that Dawson is willing to go to Pascal country for this fight shows you how hungry and determined he still is; not to mention how he feels secure in his own abilities as a fighter. Like Pascal a former super-middleweight, Dawson has proven himself as a light-heavyweight, even more so than has the once-beaten Pascal. Both men have met some good/very good fighters in their time (wins over Johnson (X2), Antonio Tarver (X2) and Tomasz Adamek for Chad - those two wins over Diaconu for Jean) and both are probably at their peak (unless there are any ill effects from the shoulder injury Pascal suffered recently).

Both men will want this win like nothing else and we can expect a big effort from both fighters. I feel Dawson, the taller man by a few inches, will box AND slug in this one, giving Pascal chances as he does so. But in the end, I see "Bad Chad" pulling off an entertaining, somewhat close, decision victory.

Then, maybe Bernard Hopkins will see Dawson as a big enough name for him to get it on with later in the year (if he's beaten Roy Jones in April!)

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