International Boxing Organization
International Boxing Organization


Chad Dawson successfully defends IBF and IBO
light heavyweight titles, outpointing Tarver

Dawson unanimously outpoints Tarver

LAS VEGAS - Chad Dawson successfully defended his IBF and IBO light heavyweight titles Saturday night, unanimously outpointing Antonio Tarver in a rematch of their October fight.

The undefeated Dawson, who looked lackadaisical at times in fighting off several impressive combinations from the 40-year-old Tarver, had winning scores of 116-112, 117-111 and 117-111 from the three judges.

Unlike their bout last fall, when the fast-handed left-hander dominated in a 118-109, 117-110 and 117-110 victory, Saturday's fight at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino produced plenty of back-and-forth action from start to finish.

"He put up a hell of a fight," said Dawson, 28-0 with 17 knockouts. "He definitely took me off my game. My hats off to Antonio Tarver."

Dawson landed most of significant punches in the final four rounds, including a flurry of punches at the end of the ninth round - arguably his most impressive round.

Tarver was the clear aggressor, throwing 749 punches to Dawson's 677. But the 26-year-old Dawson had a 62-14 advantage in punches that connected with the body and connected on 31 percent of his punches. Tarver only landed 16 percent of his punches.

"He pushed the fight and took my off my game plan," Dawson said. "He threw a lot of punches, but I was catching most of them."

Gary Shaw, Dawson's promoter, said Tarver gave his fighter everything he could handle.

"I don't know how everyone else felt but I was scared in every round," Shaw said.

Dawson, who was in the first fight of a two-fight contract with HBO, said he doesn't know who he will fight next. An ideal possibility is Bernard Hopkins, but Shaw said there has been little contact with Hopkins' camp.

"I will fight whoever they throw in front of me," Dawson said. "I'm glad I got this rematch out of the way so I could get the fights I deserve."

Regardless of the next opponent, Dawson knows he needs to improve. Another performance like Saturday could equal his first loss.

"I know I didn't have my best night," Dawson said. "I know it wasn't it my best performance. I don't know how much of that had to do with Tarver having a good night."

Despite the lopsided outcome in the first meeting, Tarver was confident he would win the rematch. He had also lost to Roy Jones Jr., Glen Johnson and Eric Harding during his career, but avenged all three loses in rematches.

He was almost right. Tarver, nicknamed the "Magic Man," believes he proved he still has some magic left in his hands.

Tarver, a significant underdog, pieced together successful combinations especially in the earlier rounds the showed the veteran champion wasn't going to be an easy opponent.

"I don't feel like a loser up here tonight. I truly don't," Tarver said. "I fought 12 hard rounds and I was in it every round. Let my hands go, and when I like my hands go, I can compete with anyone in the world. I showed that tonight."

He definitely surprised Dawson's camp.

"You showed tonight what a champions heart is made off," Dawson's trainer, Eddie Muhammad, told Tarver in the post-fight news conference.

Hopkins said he isn't sure what the future holds, but could easily see himself returning.

"I just went 12 rounds and feel great," he said.

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