by Scotty L, Predictem.com Boxing Handicapper
When: Saturday, July 14, 2010
Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Ontario, Canada
TV: HBO at 10:30 pm (EST)
Weight Class: WBC Light Heavyweight Championship: 12 Rounds
Chad Dawson, 29-0 (17 KOs), New Haven, Connecticut Vs. Jean Pascal, 25-1 (16 KOs), Montreal, Ontario, Canada
Fight Odds: Chad Dawson (-450), Jean Pascal (+325)
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Analysis: An excellent matchup takes place on HBO this Saturday as Chad Dawson takes on Jean Pascal for the real light heavyweight championship. Bernard Hopkins has a claim to the top spot, but with Dawsons greater activity and multiple wins over fellow division stalwarts, he is clearly the man at 175 pounds.
Jean Pascal is nothing to sneeze at, as he is a tough and talented fighter who will enjoy a boost fighting in his hometown. He is the WBC champion, having solidified his credentials with 2 wins over top-ranked Adrian Diaconu. He lost to super-middleweight titlist Carl Froch in 2008 in Nottingham, but has looked better since moving up to light heavyweight, scoring 4 wins in a row.
Dawson is the real deala young undefeated champion with infinite potential. Some fans tend to equate excitement with excellence. Dawson might be the most thrilling fighter in the world, but what he does well are not the kinds of things that jump out to a viewer. He has a way of nullifying his opponents, rendering their best weapons moot. He is a converted southpaw with great physical gifts, including height and reach. His offense is much more seamless than most converted southpaws, as his punches flow more naturally than other turned-around righties.
Pascal did well against the more squat and hooking fighter in Diaconu. Dawson presents a completely different set of challenges. In fact, Pascal might have to adopt the role of the pursuer. He needs to get inside with his gigantic reach disadvantage. He will be forced to fight in a very high-energy and draining style, just to be in a position to do damage. Dawson, a proficient counterpuncher, will be able to hit Pascal before his opponent is even in position. For a boxer like Dawson, having enough room to operate is a large advantage.
When Dawson lets his hands go, there is no doubting his ability. His hands are fast and slashing, and from the southpaw stance, he can hit with punches you dont even see. His workrate is high. A 9-year pro at 28 and no discernible wear on his body, Dawson is a young veteran who is clearly in his prime.
While there is a certain dynamic quality to Pascal, he has yet to distinguish himself as the type of fighter to threaten Dawson. While Bad Chad may be vulnerable to certain styles, Pascals style does not immediately appear to be one of them. Troubled by Glen Johnson in their first fight, Dawson has more or less had his way with a stellar group of light heavyweights, including Tomasz Adamek and Antonio Tarver. Perhaps ultra-aggressive brawlers bother Dawson, but Pascal hasnt shown that sort of gung-ho, let it all hang out style that Johnson was capable of employing that night.
Pascals best weapon might be his hometown crowd. In Montreal, they really embrace their championship-level fighters. In addition, there is always the possibility that an officiating snafu could rear its head. It has happened before in Montreal, not to impugn the commissions righteousness, as it occurs everywhere. At the very least, Pascal will have wind pumped into his sails by the crowd. This, combined with the high stakes, could enable the talented Haitian-born titlist to hypnotize his body to perform better than he ever has.
Scotty’s Pick to Win: If ever there were someone who deserves to be a substantial favorite over a fast, energetic, and confident hometown titlist like Pascal, it is Dawson. Pascal has the speed, toughness, and moves to make it tough, but that might be the limit of his success.
Perhaps Pascal has matured. The Froch loss was the type of setback that might make him a better fighter in the long run, as his subsequent appearances have demonstrated. At the end of the day, Dawsons total package of skills will be too much for Pascal. A wide decision for Dawson seems like the probable outcome. Lay the 450 on Chad Dawson to win