By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Andrzej Fonfara got the knockout he seemingly needed Saturday night to beat Chad Dawson.
Chicago’s Fonfara appeared to be down on the scorecards, but stopped Dawson in the 10th and final round of their light heavyweight fight on the Danny Garcia-Keith Thurman undercard at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Fonfara dropped a tiring Dawson with about 2:15 left in the ninth round, but Dawson was able to get to his feet and make it to the end of the round.
The former lineal light heavyweight champion wasn’t as fortunate in the 10th round.
Fonfara (29-4, 17 KOs) drilled him with a straight right hand early in the 10th that knocked Dawson off balance and into a neutral corner. Dawson attempted to cover up, but Fonfara swarmed him and landed several power punches to Dawson’s head that prompted referee David Fields to stop the bout 38 seconds into the 10th round.
Dawson disputed the stoppage, yet clearly was hurt when Fields intervened.
“Chad Dawson has had a great career and gotten some huge wins,” Fonfara said. “That definitely helped him tonight, but he didn’t do anything to surprise me and he never hurt me.”
Dawson boxed well through six rounds, when his advantages in hand speed and the ability to land combinations were obvious. He seemed to start tiring in the seventh round, however, and Fonfara continued to pressure him.
“I heard the scores were not in my favor,” Fonfara said regarding the scorecards at the time of the stoppage. “Right now I can’t say whether or not I agree with them. I thought I was winning the fight, but I’d have to go back and watch closer.”
His victory over Dawson (35-4, 19 KOs, 2 NC) marked Fonfara’s first fight since Long Island’s Joe Smith surprisingly stopped him in the first round June 16 in Chicago.
“I knew after my loss to Smith that a lot of people had come out to see me,” Fonfara said. “Some people were disheartened with that loss, but I know a lot of people made the trip to see me again tonight. I just want to thank all of my fans back from Chicago and here in New York, and I can’t wait to come back even stronger.”
Before Saturday night, Dawson hadn’t fought since stopping Cornelius White in the fourth round 10½ months ago in Mashantucket, Connecticut. The 34-year-old Dawson dropped to 3-4 in his seven fights since the southpaw from New Haven, Connecticut, out-pointed Bernard Hopkins by majority decision in their April 2012 rematch in Atlantic City.
“I knew I was winning the fight,” Dawson said. “I didn’t agree with the stoppage. [Fields] was early. The knockdown [in the ninth round] was a push also, but he caught me on my way down. I have nothing to hang my head about.
“I was comfortable the whole fight. I think I did a lot to confuse him. He didn’t expect me to box the way I did. I put on a good performance until the stoppage. I knew I was ahead.”
After another loss, Dawson doesn’t think he’ll fight again.
“I think I’m leaning towards retirement,” Dawson said. “I’ve had a good career. I have nothing to be ashamed of.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.