By Jake Donovan
Even with a championship belt around his waist and the scent of pound-for-pound credentials, Chad Dawson’s career has always served as the proverbial man without a country. The supremely talented light heavyweight served among the best in his division for the past seven years, but was never able to capture the imagination of viewing audiences.
Now without a championship belt after a shocking 1st round knockout loss to Adonis Stevenson in the challenger’s adopted homeland of Canada, Dawson finds himself at a major crossroads in his career.
The soft-spoken southpaw wasn’t in much of a mood to reflect on his second straight loss, which came nine months after a one-sided 10th round stoppage at the hands of Andre Ward last September. That particular moment was chalked up to an ill-advised drop down to super middleweight, where the unbeaten Ward reigns as the divisional king.
There was little to defend of Saturday’s result, which came against a career super middleweight moving up in weight and lacking a career-defining win. All it took was literally one punch to change that, as Stevenson landed a counter left hand to put Dawson down and nearly out.
“It was a punch I didn’t see. He caught me and that was it,” Dawson (31-3, 17KO) said matter-of-factly after watching his 14-month reign come to a crashing halt.
The obvious question now is where his career goes from here. Next month will see the Connecticut native turn 31 years old, and with limited options at 175. Two fights with Bernard Hopkins produced his lineal championship, though did nothing to raise his marketability value.
His two fights since last April’s win have done nothing at all to raise any further interest in his career. That both came via vicious stoppages leaves many concerned that what is left is a finished fighter.
Dawson didn’t seem particularly concerned about that becoming the case.
“I didn’t feel any different,” Dawson said of his physical state at the time of his second consecutive knockout loss. “He caught me with a good punch and that was it. He caught me with a good shot.”
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