By Jason Pribila – Brooklyn: A few weeks ago promoters wasted the moniker “Skill vs Will” on the circus also known as Jones vs Gunn. That title perfectly summed up the crossroads fight between Andrzej Fonfara (29-4, 17 KO) and Chad Dawson (34-5, 19 KO).
It seemed like only yesterday that Chad Dawson was the lineal light heavyweight champion. He was one of the few fighters to clearly defeat Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins, but his reign and career were derailed when he was stopped by current champion Adonis Stevenson.
No one ever questioned Dawson’s boxing skills. However, several pundits and even some trainers questioned his will.
On Saturday night, in an empty Barclays Center, Dawson faced his polar opposite in Fonfara. Long before the PBC went live on CBS, Dawson and Fonfara were scrapping in the equivalent of a win or go home bout.
Early on Dawson couldn’t miss with his straight left. He was rarely stationary as he avoided Fonfara’s telegraphed attack.
Midway through the fight there became a feeling as if Dawson’s sand was quickly running out of the hour glass. He seemed to be battling the clock even more-so than his opponent. He legs seemed to be betraying him by the moment.
Fonfara continued to be the aggressor, but he wasn’t landing anything that judges reward.
In Round 9, Dawson ducked under a combination. Fonfara appeared to land a punch to the back of Dawson’s head, which was ruled a knockdown. Fonfara attacked, but Dawson seemed to have his wits about him as the round came to an end.
Fonfara had momentum, but he also needed a knockout to win as the final three minutes began to tick off the clock.
“I hit him with a left hook to the side of the head. Once I hit him with that, I knew that I had him hurt,” Fonfara said after the fight.
"I hit him with a left hook to the side of the head. Once I hit him with that, I knew that I had him hurt”
At that moment Fonfara moved in for the finish. Dawson wasn’t taking anymore punishment, but his legs weren’t exactly stable. Unable to escape the corner, the fight was waved off, and Fonfara had a career-saving come from behind victory.
Dawson on other hand, almost seemed relieved to call it a day.
“"I think I’m leaning towards retirement”, Dawson admitted. “I’ve had a good career. I have nothing to be ashamed of.”
He certainly had a great career. However, some will be left to wonder if he ever reached his full potential.
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Olympian Richardson Hitchins won his professional debut in front of his hometown crowd. He used fast hands to blow away over-matched Mario Perez (1-1). Like most Olympians, it will take Hitchins several bouts until he’s matched against the competition that he faced on his journey to the Olympics.
Serguy Lipinetc (12-0, 10 KO) remained undefeated as he finally caught, hurt, and finished the game Clarence Booth (14-3, 7 KO).
Lipinetc is all offense, and while it took him a while, once he hurts his foe he knows how to finish. He remind me a bit of Ruslan Provodnikov. Let’s hope he is a bit better at head movement as he continues to face better competition.
Jason Pribila is a full voting member of the BWAA. He could be reached for questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on twitter.com @PribsBoxing