It was a peculiar situation in a sport where abnormal things happen with amazing regularity. The showcase fighter on the HBO Championship Boxing televised card on Saturday, August 14 wasn't the WBC light heavyweight champion who arrived to the ring at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada to raucous applause from his hometown fans. Rather it was the man who traveled from the United States who entered the bout with an undefeated record.
Chad Dawson, widely favored to win the contest, went in front of crowd partisan to local favorite Jean Pascal in search of the kind of victory that could land him even bigger paydays against even bigger names than Pascal.
Well, let's just say that not everything went according to script for Dawson, who now has a record of 29-1 (17 KO's). After an accidental head butt caused a terrible cut to spew blood from Dawson's right eye in the 11th round, referee Michael Griffin stopped the fight and the frame was counted when the judges went to tally their scorecards. When the scores were read, they correctly stated that the 28 year-old Pascal won via a technical decision (scores of 108-101, 106-103, 106-103) to improve to 26-1 with 16 knockouts.
Fellow Quebec star Lucian Bute, thought by some to be the top super middleweight in the world and whom was sitting at ringside, was talked about as a future opponent for Dawson-as was Bernard Hopkins. Now it looks like a fight that would be huge in Canada could take place between Pascal and Bute. Dawson has a rematch clause, so look for him and Pascal to face down one another at some point. Bute has a fight slated against Jesse Brinkley at the Bell Centre on October 15 and should get the nod in that bout impressively.
The southpaw Dawson was getting the better of Pascal in the 11th as he was finally able to open up with sustained flurries and at one point he froze Pascal in his tracks with a punishing shot. Pascal didn't go down, however, and fought on until the accidental butt occurred.
Over the first few rounds of the fight, Dawson most assuredly was not getting the better of Pascal, who was able to use his style of moving around then coming forward in spurts consisting a fast punches which landed from unpredictable angles.
Dawson, who was calm, almost too calm throughout the fight, got things going his way in the fourth round when he worked the jab to both the body and head of Pascal. After a close fifth round which went slightly to Dawson, he won the sixth as well in another round that was a close one to call.
Pascal got the fight back toward his liking in the seventh as he landed the more telling shots and he also captured the eighth frame. He was having a big round in the ninth as he pummeled Dawson along the ropes only to have the tables turned later in the round when Dawson was working him over with a variety of punches. Still, it the ninth belonged to Pascal. Dawson looked a bit worn in a 10th round that Pascal put into the bank.
In this corner, Pascal won the fight seven rounds to four rounds (106-103). It's a step back for sure for Dawson, but he's still very much in the game. In fact, he could be in another meaningful fight in relatively quick fashion.