By Rick Reeno
There was a mixed reaction to Chad Dawson's first round TKO loss to Adonis Stevenson (21-1, 18KOs). Last September, Dawson (31-3, 17KOs) took a very big risky by draining himself to move down in weight for a high stakes fight with super middleweight king Andre Ward. Dawson's decision proved to be a disaster, as Ward dropped him three times and finished him off in the tenth of a one-sided fight.
After the loss, Dawson was the first to admit that he shouldn't have dropped down to 168. Most insiders expected a different kind of Dawson on Saturday, when he traveled to Montreal to defend his WBC light heavyweight championship against Stevenson, who was moving up in weight to take the opportunity.
Instead, Dawson was drilled in a single round when Stevenson landed one of his big shots to the side of the head. Dawson went down hard, he beat the count, but it was obvious the boxer was badly hurt and the referee waved it off at 1:16.
Some wonder if Dawson damaged his body by going up and down in weight - in the same manner as Roy Jones Jr., who was never the same after moving up to heavyweight to beat John Ruiz, and then a few months later dropping 25-pounds for a fight with Antonio Tarver at light heavyweight.
Virgil Hunter, who trains Ward, was shocked with the news of Dawson's quick defeat.
"They say Stevenson could punch and if he catches you with a punch he could knock you out. You would think Chad would know that and approach the fight the way he's supposed to, by boxing him and feeling him out. It's going to be tough [to come back from this] and my heart goes out to him. He has a family and he's still young, so I hope that he can get his career back on track. My heart goes out to anybody in a situation like that. He does have age on his side. But I am very surprised [at this outcome], I'm very surprised," Hunter said.
Dawson's status peaked in 2012, when he unseated Bernard Hopkins for the WBC title.
Hopkins' trainer, Naazim Richardson, never believed Dawson would recover from the beating he took from Ward - and he was confident Stevenson would close the show early.
"I said that would happen. I said Stevenson would stop him and I said it would happen early too. I'm not surprised at all," Richardson told BoxingScene.com.