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Dawson hits new level to level Tarver

Text and photos by Chris Cozzone

If you’ve already beaten someone, if you got to do it again, do it with a knockout.

That’s the goal in mind for “Bad” Chad Dawson when he steps into the ring May 9 at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas.

In what will be his HBO debut, Dawson, 27-0 (17 KOs), will be rematching Antonio Tarver, 27-4 (19 KOs) for a pair of light heavyweight belts—one major, one minor.

“I’ve had to push myself because I beat him so easily the first time,” said Dawson, following a workout at Johnny Tocco’s Gym in Las Vegas, earlier in the week.

In the first fight, Dawson one a lopsided unanimous decision over Tarver, with scores of 118-109 and 117-110 twice. The win was so convincing, nobody expected to see a rematch.

“I couldn’t get the fight I wanted,” admitted Dawson.

“I wanted Bernard Hopkins and Joe Calzaghe. Well, Calzaghe, he’s retired, and Hopkins? He’s not saying anything.”

Dawson hasn’t given up on Hopkins yet, but in the meantime, he’s got Tarver, again.

Before their fight last October, the trash talking began months before their October fight date.

This time around, it’s been quiet.

“He didn’t say much this time,” said Dawson of Tarver. “But what could he say?

“He’s taking a page from my book, this time, and has learned to keep his mouth shut. Or, he knows what’s gonna happen.”

For the rematch, Dawson promises a faster, stronger version of the boxer who effortlessly decisioned Tarver last fall.

“I’m stronger, more aggressive, and I’m taking the win to a new level this time,” he said.

“This time, it’s about showcasing my talent. It’s about making that pound-for-pound list.”

In preparation, Dawson has been sparring with cruisers and heavyweights, including Aaron Williams and Dewey Cooper.

“I know Tarver’s definitely training his hardest, so I have to be ready,” said Dawson. “He’s living for the opportunity of an upset, but this time I’m going to a whole new level.”


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