SAN DIEGO, June 7, 2013 – Canadians love their fights. Sure, the majority take place on ice during hockey games, but it doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate boxing just as much.
The Bell Centre in Montreal plays host to a pair of televised bouts on HBO sure to provide fan pleasing action. “Bad” Chad Dawson (31-2, 17 KOs) of Las Vegas (via Connecticut) meets Adonis Stevenson (20-1, 17 KOs) on his home turf in Quebec for the WBC light heavyweight belt.
Perhaps it’s the Canadian air. Both boxers nearly got sent to the penalty box during the weigh-in on Friday, scuffling with each other before they were seperated. Dawson weighed in at 173.4 pounds; Stevenson at 174.2 pounds.
Dawson, age 30, dropped a weight class to fight Andre Ward in September. It was a big mistake. Dawson got dropped three times before the fight and was soundly thrashed before the fight was stopped. His only other loss was in Montreal to Jean Pascal in 2010. Dawson would love to avenge both in one fell swoop against Stevenson.
Stevenson is 35 years old. At that age, every fight becomes crucial because every loss has more impact. He also got a very late start to his professional boxing career at age 30. He has been helped by fighting mainly at home in Quebec. Originally from Haiti, Stevenson is a powerful boxer and he has stopped his last seven opponents.
Dawson knows what it’s like to fight in front of the other fighter’s home town crowd. He fought Ward in Oakland, Hopkins in Atlantic City, and Pascal in Montreal. But he has also defeated Hopkins as well as Antonio Tarver, Tomasz Adamek, and Glen Johnson twice.
Dawson said at the final news conference this week that he needs to stay smart, pick his spots, and not let him get off first. Stevenson will employ a very different approach. “I am going to jump on him like a hungry, wild dog… I am going to hit him, I am going to hurt him.” This was certainly Stevenson’s demeanor at the weigh-in.
Dawson doesn’t have Stevenson’s power. But he is taller with a greater reach, and if he avoids brawling he should be able to keep out of the way of Stevenson’s worst. Dawson needs to show the judges plenty of activity, and needs to demonstrate that he is in control of the ring and the fight to win a decision. As long as he stays out of Stevenson’s way and doesn’t get goaded into a brawl, he should prevail.
In the televised undercard, Yuriorkis Gamboa (22-0, 16 KOs) from Miami via Cuba and Darleys Perez (28-0, 19 KOs) of Colombia fight at lightweight. This is two weight classes above the division where Gamboa made his name, featherweight. Perez was on the 2008 Colombian Olympic boxing team; Gamboa is another in a long line of Cuban Olympic and amateur champions with a 2004 gold medal and four Cuban national titles.
Perez, age 29, is naturally bigger and stronger than Gamboa. He is also less experienced despite the numbers in the professional record, and he has never faced an opponent with the skills of Gamboa. Still, there are some question marks surrounding Gamboa. He was out of the ring for 15 months, pulling out of a fight in April 2012 with Brandon Rios due to what he claimed were contract problems. He is now represented by Curtis “40 Cent” Jackson. Gamboa came back last December and won a unanimous decision against Michael Farenas, but he took some punishment to get it.
Gamboa weighed in at 134.2 pounds Perez weighed in at 134.6 pounds.
Perez has been sparring with Cuban fighters to get a feel for Gamboa’s style. It’s a serious improvement in the quality of his opponent, and whether he can impose his will through his greater size and power on Gamboa will make for an intriguing fight. He has a chance against Gamboa, but it’s likely a slim one. Sometimes that’s all a motivated fighter needs.
“HBO World Championship Boxing” airs at 10 p.m ET on Saturday, June 8 on HBO, with airings on HBO Latino and replays throughout the weekend.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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