Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Revisiting Chad Dawson vs Glen Johnson

By Andrew Fruman

With Chad Dawson and Glen Johnson set to renew hostilities on November 7, I thought it would be a good time to look back and score their original meeting. It's been awhile since I saw the fight, and as it was one of my favorites from last year, I decided to just watch and enjoy it first while taking a few notes - then carefully score it on my second viewing.

A couple comments before I get to my scores...

-- My prediction going into the fight was a one sided Dawson victory. Johnson had been doing battle with fellow old timers Antonio Tarver, Clinton Woods and Montell Griffin and my feeling was that his age would really show when matched up with a young fighter of Dawson's class. I thought Dawson would be too quick and too sharp, and while he was quick and sharp, I was very wrong about Johnson's ability to still bring it.

-- After watching some of the messy foul filled scraps in recent weeks, it was a pleasure to see such a clean hard fought fight. Holding? None. Dirty fouls? None. Just two high caliber fighters going at each other. I can't wait for November 7. If Johnson hasn't suddenly got old, we're in for another treat.

Now, let's get to my scorecard...

Round 1

10-9 Chad Dawson

Fast paced round, that Dawson took hold of over the last couple minutes. He landed his jab, and his straight left, and threw some nice combos. While Johnson was outworked, he managed to successfully close the gap, landing his right cross, as well as some nice shots to the body – but still found it difficult to unload thanks to Dawson’s impressive combos getting their first.

Could it have gone the other way? No. Easy round to score.

Score 10-9 after 1 for Dawson.

Round 2

10-9 Chad Dawson

I thought Dawson just edged the round, but not without a fair bit of trouble. He moved nicely, and picked his spots to plant his feet and rip combos, but Johnson still managed to wade through it all, closing the gap, and landing what I thought were the heavier punches - just not enough of them to win the round.

Could it have gone the other way? You can make an argument for Johnson as his shots appeared to be heavier, but I don’t think he landed enough of them to really make a solid case.

Score 20-18 after 2 for Dawson.

Round 3

10-9 Glen Johnson

Dawson started nicely, using his jab and creating some distance, but Johnson eventually got inside and made his pressure pay off with a very strong final minute. He landed some damaging right hands – including a couple in the final 10 seconds that had Dawson in a little trouble.

Could it have gone the other way? No. Despite Dawson’s early edge, the damage Johnson did over the final minute was significant, and clearly outweighs Dawson’s work over the first couple minutes.

Score 29-28 after 3 for Dawson.

Round 4

10-9 Glen Johnson

I had Dawson slightly up after the first minute, but Johnson then came on very strong in the middle, landing the most damaging shots of the round with his right hand. Dawson took them well though, and got back to boxing, outworking, and out-landed Johnson in the final minute, but even during that period, Johnson still got some hard shots through. If forced to pick a winner when it’s this tight – it comes down to what you prefer, the fighter landing more frequently or the fighter landing with more force – and I prefer force.

Could it have gone the other way? Yes. You can make a solid argument for Dawson. And I'd have no complaints with scoring it 10-10.

I’ve got it even at 38-38 after 4.

Round 5

10-9 Glen Johnson

After some some fast paced nip and tuck action, Johnson took over down the stretch landing a number of hard power shots, including a really nice left hook late. Dawson had his moments, but wasn’t setting his feet and ripping combos the way he was earlier in the fight. He’s pecking more with his jab from range, and not throwing with the same authority, while Johnson is commanding his space, steadily moving forward and landing the harder shots.

Could it have been scored the other way? No. It was razor close through the first couple minutes, but Johnson closed very strongly and convincingly took the round.

For the first time in the fight, Johnson’s up on my card – 48-47.

Round 6

10-9 Chad Dawson

Very little meaningful shots landed this round, as Dawson made a concerted effort to stem Johnson’s momentum by avoiding exchanges in favor of boxing and moving. Johnson landed a few nice body shots, but for the most part he found himself unable to get close enough to let rip, while Dawson landed enough jabs and left hands to take the round.

Could it have been scored the other way? Dawson didn’t do a whole lot, but Johnson just didn’t land enough to make a solid case. If half point rounds were an option, this would be a prime candidate.

After 6, I’ve got this one a draw, at 57-57.

Round 7

10-9 Chad Dawson

Dawson built on what was working last round to keep Johnson at a comfortable distance, but added a bit more offense. He had a very nice stretch in the middle of the round, where he caught Johnson coming in with some sharp shots. Johnson had a few good moments in the last 30 seconds, but so did Dawson, who looked like he’d got some of the confidence from earlier in the fight back.

Could it have been scored the other way? No.

Dawson’s back in front, 67-66.

Round 8

10-9 Chad Dawson

This was a closely fought round, that I needed to watch an extra time before making my mind up. Both fighters worked hard and landed their share, but I felt that Dawson was doing the better work. He was just landing a little more, and a little cleaner.

Could it have been scored the other way? Yes, this was definitely another candidate for a 10-10 round. Considering I gave the previous really tight one to Johnson, giving this to Dawson evens it up. Not that I’m trying to even it up – but just pointing out that at this stage, I don’t think either man has been given any breaks on my card.

Dawson’s now got a bit of a cushion, up by 2 points, 77-75.

Round 9

10-9 Glen Johnson

Johnson came out strong, and had some good moments early – landing several hard shots over the first minute. I thought he had a slight edge over the next 60 seconds as well, before Dawson started putting things together towards the end of the round.

Could it have gone the other way? Not in my opinion, but I should mention that at the midway point of the round, Al Bernstein and Steve Albert seemed to think the round was very close - and you can make an argument that Dawson had the edge the rest of the way.

After 9, I’ve got it 86-85 for Dawson.

Round 10

10-9 Glen Johnson

Dawson was doing very nicely, until he got hurt with a looping right hand with about a minute left in the round. Johnson pressed his advantage, landing a number of solid shots over the final 60 seconds in what was the best period of the fight for either man. It must be said that while Johnson won the final minute big, Dawson fought back gallantly during Glen’s assault.

Could it have gone either way? No. Johnson’s onslaught over the final minute easily won him the round.

We’re back even on my card, 95-95.

Round 11

10-9 Glen Johnson

This was a hell of a round, with Albert proclaiming half way through that it was "Vasquez-Marquez...only bigger." Maybe we didn't see the same kind of sustained violence as with those little warriors, but this was a terrific round in a very good fight. Johnson just landed the harder, more effective shots and enough of them that even though Dawson had a gutsy rally at one stage, it wasn’t nearly enough to turn things in his favor.

Could it have gone either way? No.

Johnson’s back out in front, 105-104.

Round 12

10-9 Glen Johnson

Good steady work through the full 3 minutes from Johnson. Dawson had a couple decent moments in the middle of the round, but for the most part looked like he was content to play it safe until the final bell.

Could it have gone either way? No. This was one of the more one sided rounds of the fight.

After 12, I’ve got Johnson winning 115-113.

Somehow, all 3 judges had it 116-112 for Dawson. I’ll be blunt. Those are garbage scorecards. Okay, so Dawson up by 4 points is out of the question, but can I see an argument for him winning the fight?

Going over my card, there are 2 rounds which I think are really questionable – rounds 4 & 8. I gave Johnson round 4 and Dawson round 8. Giving both to Dawson, makes it 114-114.

Rounds 2 and 9 were also reasonably close. I gave round 2 to Dawson, and round 9 to Johnson. Could Round 9 have gone to Dawson? Maybe, but I think if building a case for switching one of those rounds, I'd be able to do a better job for Johnson in round 2.

So yes... it's possible to have Dawson up 7-5. But, I think when a fighter is commanding the space, backing his opponent up, landing the heavier punches, hurting the other man... to give the other guy the benefit of the doubt in all close instances is questionable. Even giving Dawson every close one, that's still only 115-113. How those judges came up with 116-112 is crazy. I'll say it again (with caps for good measure) those were GARBAGE cards.

115-113 for Glen Johnson. Maybe a draw. That's how I saw it.

Now bring on the rematch!

e-mail Andrew Fruman


Lee Payton said...

We should do this more often. Everyone from experts to the casual fan is far too lenient when it comes to poor judging. It's expected and accepted, which is totally messed up.

It's gotten to the point where any kinda close round can be scored either way. Putrid.

No one cares about getting it right anymore. I've said this before, but just because you CAN score it a certain way doesn't mean you SHOULD.

It is the job of the judge to pay attention and know the damn criteria!!

Good boxing judging isn't just throwing one's hands in the air after every round that wasn't obvious.

Well done, Andrew. The sad thing is we could do this damn near every weekend. The state of judging in this sport is pathetic.

I should say that I've not scored the fight and didn't have strong feelings one way or another when the decision was announced.

I do trust Mr. Fruman's score though.

Mark Lyons said...

I scored it a draw. Agreed that 8-4 was going too far. Chad will make the rematch a clearer victory.

mpar1 said...

I also had it 7-5 Johnson on my first viewing of the fight. I'm a fan but something tells me Glen won't look so impressive next Saturday night.

LatinoPorVida said...

The first time I watched Johnson vs Dawson I had scored it a clear win for Johnson.

However after watching this fight over and over again I had it a much closer fight in favor of Dawson.

Yes Johnson pressed the action from start to finish. Yes Johnson hurt Dawson but it just wasn't enough. Dawson landed the cleaner punches and defended pretty well not letting most of Johnson's punches land clean dead on.

In regards to the rematch I got a strong feeling Dawson's going to win by UD. Even if let's say it's a close fight Dawson wins since he's fighting in his hometown. I sure hope I am wrong I'd prefer Johnson to win. Johnson has been robbed of too many victories in the past he deserves to win.