This Week's Boxing Notebook

May 14, 2009

Here is a recap of some of the top happenings surrounding the sweet science:

Dawson Bests Self-Proclaimed "Rematch King" Tarver

Connecticut's Chad Dawson successfully defended his IBF and IBO light heavyweight titles Saturday night, outpointing former champ Antonio Tarver by unanimous decision in a rematch of their first fight last October.

The undefeated Dawson improved to 28-0 (17 knockouts) with the win, but admittedly looked lackadaisical at times in holding off the 40 year-old Tarver.

To his credit, Tarver was more active in letting his hands go throughout this second fight. However, most of this activity was mere window dressing, as he simply did not have enough moments of effective offense, save for a few impressive flurries in the middle rounds, and later in eighth and ninth rounds.

Although Tarver was the busier fighter, throwing 749 punches to Dawson's 677, "Bad Chad" was more accurate, as evidenced by the 62-14 advantage he held in body connects. Overall, Dawson landed 88 more total punches than Tarver, and connected on 31 percent of his punches, while Tarver connected on only 16 percent of the punches he threw.

Dawson won by scores of 116-112, 117-111 and 117-111 from the three judges, and said after the fight that he will still be looking to make more big-money, big-name fights in the future.

The 26 year-old even indicated that he would be willing to look southward at the super middleweight division, if need be.

Unlike their bout last fall, when the fast-handed lefty dominated Tarver en route to an obvious unanimous decision victory, Saturday's fight produced some good back-and-forth action, mainly due to Tarver's surprisingly aggressive high punch output, which at times, had Dawson looking somewhat confused.

Although he was clearly never hurt or in serious danger of losing the fight, Dawson will certainly have to hone and improve his skills in the ring if he hopes to make noise among the true pound-for-pound greats.

Dawson himself acknowledged after the fight that improvement will be needed regardless of who he faces next, as another performance like the one he put forth on Saturday would likely equal his first career loss.

"I know I didn't have my best night," Dawson admitted to media sources. "I don't know how much of that had to do with Tarver having a good night or what, but I will just get back in the gym and continue to improve."

Despite the lopsided outcome in their first meeting, the loquacious Tarver came into the fight confident that he would win the rematch.

Tarver had also previously lost to Eric Harding, Roy Jones Jr., and Glen Johnson earlier in his career, only to avenge all three losses in rematches.

After the fight Tarver, nicknamed the "Magic Man," believed he had proven that he still had some magic left in his hands, as he pieced together some successful combinations in the middle rounds that showed those in attendance that he was not going to be an easy opponent.

"I don't feel like a loser up here tonight. I truly don't," Tarver said following the fight.

"I just fought 12 hard rounds against a young undefeated champ, and I was in it every round. I let my hands go, and when I let my hands go, I can compete with anyone in the world. I showed that tonight."

He definitely surprised Dawson's camp, as both Dawson's trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and his promoter, Gary Shaw commented on how the fight played out a lot closer than they had anticipated.

Tarver indicated that he did not plan on hanging up his gloves, and envisioned himself fighting a few more fights, provided the money was right.

Pavlik Fight Postponed

Fans of Youngstown, Ohio native and reigning middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik will have to wait until later in the summer to see their man in action again, as it was announced last Friday that Pavlik's scheduled title defense against Los Angeles' Sergio Mora would be postponed indefinitely due to Pavlik's struggles with a staph infection.

Pavlik received stitches in his hand following a mishap, and while the cut was healing, it subsequently became infected, leading to the current malady.

Pavlik's promoters at Top Rank will reportedly look to reschedule the bout for a late summer date at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.

Pavlik (35-1, 31 KOs) is coming off a dominant ninth-round knockout of Marco Antonio Rubio on February 21. The victory was his second defense of the middleweight title that he wrested from Jermain Taylor back in 2007.

Mora (21-1-1, 5 KOs), who won the first season of "The Contender" reality series, has been inactive since losing his junior middleweight title to Vernon Forrest by unanimous decision in September.

Mora is essentially Pavlik's second consecutive "bounce back" opponent, as the young champ is still trying to regain his stride since being completely dominated by ageless wonder Bernard Hopkins in a non-title bout at 170 pounds.

Fearless Pacquaio Scoffs at Swine Flu Pandemic and Celebrates in Philippines

Current pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquaio was greeted to a true hero's welcome upon returning to his native Philippines on Monday. In his first visit to the country since he KO'd Britian's Ricky Hatton to take the IBO light welterweight title belt on May 2, Pacquaio was greeted by massive crowds, all gleefully cheering the boxing star as he rode in a convoy through some of Manila's many impoverished slums en route to the presidential palace and a government-declared national celebration.

Filipino Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, on the advice of the World Health Organization, had previously urged Pacquiao to postpone his homecoming and observe a self-quarantine for five days because of the spread of the swine flu virus to Los Angeles. Pacquiao had been resting in Los Angeles following his bout.

But Pacquiao defied the advice, saying he and his entourage did not have flu symptoms. He flew home last Friday and shook the hands of well-wishers, then drove to Quiapo church in downtown Manila where a mob of fans awaited and cheered him wildly.

Pacquaio's unexpectedly dominant performance over Hatton has set off huge celebrations across the impoverished Asian nation, where the 30-year-old has created a phenomenally fanatical following that has helped to bridge the divide between the country's rich and poor. In fact, Pacquiao's amazing rise from poor street vendor to worldwide celebrity has already made him the subject of at least one upcoming feature film.

During Monday's parade procession, the proud Pacquiao enthusiastically waved as children strained to get a closer look at their idol while throwing punches in the southpaw stance that is his trademark.

The parade was reportedly cut short so that Pacquiao could go to the Malacanang Palace, where President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, along with her Cabinet and members of the Congress, showered him with praise, confetti, and various gifts, including a special made-to-order cake emblazoned with the Philippine flag.

Pacquiao and his party were even serenaded by three tenors who covered a few of the fighter's own songs. Then, in one of his signature return gestures of gratitude that have endeared him to so many, Pacquiao presented his IBO light welterweight championship belt to Arroyo.

Ever the showman, Pacquiao demonstrated why he also may have a bright future in politics one day. When Arroyo asked whether Hatton had hurt him during their scrap, Pacquiao smiled and mischievously replied, "Not so much." Pacquiao then added dramatically, "He could not take the punch of the Filipino nation," and raised his left fist to rousing applause.

Pacquiao has already unsuccessfully run for a congressional seat in his homeland, but is said to be planning another attempt next year. Judging by the roll he's on lately, in a year's time he will be probably be known as "Congressman Pacquiao."

By Kweku Turkson
Staff Reporter for

1 comment:

  1. kenny george, peyton manning, kellen winslow, and now pavlik. this staph infection thing is no joke man.

    pavlik is only holding the belt temporarily until paul williams feels like having it. ghost needs to step up and fight p-will, the game's true p4p great!


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