Sharkie's Machine: Dawson Beats Tarver by a Mile

klitschko12.10.08 - By Frank Gonzalez Jr., photo by Tom Casino: Former IBF/IBO titlist Antonio Tarver (27-5, 19 KO’s) met the future of the Light Heavyweight division Saturday night in Las Vegas and his name is Chad Dawson. Dawson (27-0-1NC, 17 KO’s), who now holds three title belts in the WBC, IBF and IBO titles is about as close to being a unified champion as one can be in pro boxing these days.

Dawson didn’t just beat Tarver, he took him to school, out-boxing Tarver and capping things off in the twelfth round with a knockdown, when a Dawson left hand set Tarver off balance and his glove touched the canvas in trying not to fall. The final scores were 118-109 and 117-110 twice, all in favor of “Bad” Chad Dawson, who was just too good—for Antonio Tarver..

This was the busiest I’ve ever seen Antonio Tarver, he was the aggressor most of the fight and threw far more punches than I’ve seen him throw in a long time, as he was forced to fight every moment of every round. Dawson countered very well and may have been moving backwards a lot but was always controlling the action. After 12 rounds, there was no blood, no cuts and no mice under eyes or swollen faces. Both fighters looked fine after 12 rounds were completed but minus any blood or bruises of proof, this was a one sided blow-out in favor of Dawson, who was the faster and stronger of the two.

In the lead up to this fight, Tarver typically did a lot of talking and Dawson got annoyed listening to Tarver run his mouth about how great he is and how he’s the best LHW in the world and so on and so forth, ad nausea.

As Dawson demonstrated by the end of the night—talk is cheap.

Arguments can be made that Dawson won every round except for the sixth, where Dawson gave the round to Tarver by going into total defensive mode to show Tarver that he couldn’t hit him or hurt him—even with Dawson not punching back. He gave Tarver the opportunity to prove his boasts but Tarver came up real short. If you could win a round by being the better defender, Dawson would have won that sixth round too.

For all his talk, Tarver simply didn’t have enough to keep up with the far busier Dawson, who certainly landed more punches all night. I thought Tarver actually stole the third round with a good late rally that backed Dawson up some. But in every round, Dawson beat Tarver to the punch, defended pretty well and controlled the tempo of the action. Both showed good defense but since Dawson threw more, he landed more. Tarver had a few moments where he’d score a couple of shots or block something from Dawson but for the most part, this fight was all Chad Dawson.

There were some interesting little ironies, like Tarver’s rants outside the ring and Chad being the talker throughout the fight inside the ring, taunting Tarver and showing who the better fighter was, without a doubt. Dawson’s self assuredness was too powerful for Tarver to unravel. The ‘Force’ was with Dawson big time Saturday night. Outside the ring, Dawson tends to be the stoically quiet type. He doesn’t brag about himself and really does his talking in the ring, like dignified champions do.

I thought it was kind of silly having the wives interviewed together before the fight. Was it supposed to be a question of whose wife looked better? It must’ve been a quiet ride home for the Tarver’s, after the way Dawson owned him in the ring, leaving little for Tarver to talk about, except to admit the truth, that he gave it his best but Dawson fought the better fight.

At 39, Tarver is still a decent fighter, much as he’s always been. Just because he beat a past his prime Roy Jones Jr. doesn’t really make Tarver a legend. Light Heavyweight has not been a particularly deep division for a long time. Though I must confess how much I enjoyed watching Tarver put Jones to sleep in their second fight. For that, I’ll always remember Tarver with special respect.

I thought Glen Johnson won a close fight against Chad Dawson last April. I didn’t like Dawson’s answers during that post fight interview, where he avoided answering if he would fight Johnson again. I think that if Dawson believes that he is the best in the division, he’d do well to fight a rematch against the very deserving Glen Johnson. Johnson has a tune up caliber fight set for next month. Should he win that fight, a rematch with Dawson would make for an exciting and highly anticipated rematch, sure to fill the seats at whatever venue is lucky enough to sign that fight.

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Article posted on 12.10.2008

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