by Eric Raskin
Chad Dawson, a light heavyweight for 12 of his last 13 bouts, found out in the hardest way possible that he doesn’t belong one division below. Adonis Stevenson, a super middleweight for the first 20 contests of his 21-fight pro career, is about to find out, possibly in a less-than-gentle way, whether he belongs one division above.
In his most recent fight, Dawson took an enormous gamble and came away, like so many gamblers do, with only a bad-beat story to show for it. He moved down a weight class and fought arguably the best all-around fighter in the world today, super middleweight champ Andre Ward, and whether it was the weight loss or the talent of his opponent that was to blame, Dawson suffered three knockdowns en route to a 10th-round TKO loss. Now it’s Stevenson’s turn to gamble. Though relatively untested, the Quebec-based Haitian is 35 years old and can’t wait around much longer, so he’s hopping up a weight class (after one tune-up bout fought at a catchweight of 173 pounds) and challenging the class of the 175-pound division in Dawson.
The seven-pound difference between the super middle and light heavy limits makes for an interesting driver of discussion, but weight isn’t likely to determine the outcome of this fight. The more impactful contrasts lie in style and experience. Dawson is a battle-tested technician. Stevenson is a knockout artist without a top-10 contender on his resume. It’s not as though Dawson and Stevenson have nothing in common; they’re both southpaws and they both were briefly trained by the late, legendary Emanuel Steward. But aside from those two shared traits, the champion and challenger who will meet at Montreal’s Bell Centre on June 8 are coming at this fight from diametrically opposed angles.
And that is often a formula for explosive collisions.