By Jake Donovan
Chad Dawson still rules the roost at light heavyweight, but is left to prove his worth to the boxing world after last year’s humbling knockout loss at the hands of Andre Ward.
The bout took place at the super middleweight limit, which in hindsight was a foolish decision made by Dawson. While the southpaw had spent the first several years of his career at 160 and 168, his status as a leading light heavyweight since 2006 proved to take a toll on his wiry frame – that and the fact that Ward is simply among the best two fighters in the world today.
Dawson returns home, so to speak, even if traveling to the backyard of opponent Adonis Stevenson. Saturday’s show, which airs live on HBO, takes place at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada, but more importantly at the light heavyweight limit of 175 lb.
More so than the crowd as an advantage for the challenger, weight could prove to be an advantage for Dawson. Furthermore, it could be a disadvantage for Stevenson, a career super middleweight who rises up in weight, giving up a mandatory super middleweight title shot in the process.
Does Stevenson’s power follow him up the scales and find its way to Dawson’s suspect chin? Or will Dawson bounce back strong and prove to still be the best light heavyweight on the planet?
Read on to see how the staff at Boxingscene.com believes this weekend’s big fight will play out.
PREDICTIONS – CHAD DAWSON vs. ADONIS STEVENSON
“I think Chad Dawson will bounce back in a big way with a dominating performance on the road in Montreal against Adonis Stevenson. Dawson will punish the smaller Stevenson in route to what I think should be a 118-110 score but we will see a mixture of 115-113 and 116-112s from the officials that will be influenced by the crowd.”
- Ryan Burton (Dawson by decision)
“Stevenson is a bad-ass super middleweight, but against mid-level competition. Not sure he boasts enough dimensions to conquer the best light heavyweight in the world, a full division out of his own comfort zone, no less. Dawson is due for an emphatic performance, especially after being humbled by Andre Ward. In Stevenson, he has the perfect opportunity to land at will… if he chooses to step on the gas. It says here he will. Dawson by late stoppage.”
- Jake Donovan (Dawson by late stoppage)
“Credit to Adonis Stevenson for taking this fight, but I don't see him as being anything other than a fun, action-friendly fighter who shows very good power when in with moderate opposition. Chad Dawson is not someone who should be considered moderate opposition. We saw Dawson outbox Glen Johnson in their rematch years ago. I don't think Stevenson can be compared even to the aged version of "The Road Warrior." I'll take Dawson by decision or late stoppage.”
- David Greisman (Dawson by UD or late TKO)
“Dawson TKO8 I think he has a few points to prove: (1) He is the 175lb King; (2) Venturing to 168lbs was a mistake; and (3) Stevenson is not on his or the elite level. He gets all three with this fight.”
- Ernie Gabion (Dawson by knockout)
“I like Chad Dawson to work his way towards a decision victory over Adonis Stevenson. I think there will be some moments of danger given Stevenson's ability to punch, but Dawson appears to have the far greater skills.”
- Chris Robinson (Dawson by decision)
“Stevenson catching Dawson for the upset doesn't seem impossible. That said, the safe bet is often the smart one. Dawson appears to just about everything but punch better than Stevenson and one can't assume he's shot off one bad loss. Dawson by a comfortable margin.”
- Cliff Rold (Dawson by decision)
“Being back at 175 will definitely give us the Chad we are used to seeing. I expect Chad to outbox Stevenson but he will ahve some scary moments where we see him hurt/stunned. Stevenson may be coming up in weight but his power will come with him. Power won't be enough as Dawson will weather a couple scary moments and get a clear victory on the cards.”
- Luis Sandoval (Dawson by decision)
“An upset alert is very due here. Dawson has slowly lost his steam in fights against aging or limited (at the elite level) fighters as Hopkins and Diaconu. His loss to Andre Ward was shockingly one-sided as well. At the same time, Stevenson is on a very good roll. And considering his highlight-reel like KO’s (see Jesus Gonzalez fight), and Chad's questionable chin, Stevenson can make one of a bigger surprises this year with a mother of home runs. I expect him to land at least several times at Dawson, and that'll be it.”
- Alexey Sukachev (Stevenson by knockout)
Totals: Chad Dawson 7, Adonis Stevenson 1
The lineal light heavyweight championship between Chad Dawson and Adonis Stevenson airs live from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada on HBO’s World Championship Boxing (Saturday, 10:00PM ET/7:00PM PT).
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox