By Ian S Palmer
Former Light Heavyweight Champion Chad Dawson of America and Andrzej Fonfara of Poland will both be trying to get their careers back on track when they meet at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York this Saturday, March 4th. Fonfara was stopped in just 152 seconds by Joe Smith Jr. last June while Dawson stopped Cornelius White in the fourth round in his last contest in April of 2016. There’s a 50/50 chance this 10-round bout will be shown on CBS in North America and BoxNation in the UK as it’s on the undercard of the Danny Garcia vs Keith Thurman world welterweight unification contest.
The 34-year-old Dawson has a mark of 34-4 along with 17 Kos to his name. At one time he was regarded as the best light heavyweight in the world and holds wins over the likes of Antonio Tarver, Tomasz Adamek, Bernard Hopkins, and Glen Johnson. He won his first world title back in 2007 and has fought in over 100 championship rounds since then. However, Dawson is 3-3 in his last six outings. He was stopped by fellow American Andre Ward in September of 2012 after 10 rounds down in the super middleweight division and was then stopped in 76 seconds by WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Adonis Stevenson in June of 2013.
In addition, Dawson dropped a 10-round split decision to Tommy Karpency in October of 2014. He’s won two in a row since then over Dion Savage and White. Dawson won’t win this fight though unless he lets his hands go. When he does, he’s generally pretty accurate with his punches and is more effective than when counterpunching. Dawson stands 6-feet-1-inch tall and has a 76.5-inch reach. He turned pro back in 2001 and has fought 255 rounds since then. He’s not really a powerful puncher as he possesses a current knockout ratio of 48 per cent.
The 29-year-old Fonfara, who fights out of Chicago, will climb through the ring ropes with a record of 28-4 along with 16 Kos. He’s 9-2 in his last 11 outings with just two defeats in the past seven years. He stands just over 6-feet-2-inches tall with a reach of 77 inches so is slightly bigger than Dawson. His two losses in the past 11 bouts came at the hand of Smith in Chicago last June and to Stevenson in Montreal, where he lost a spirited unanimous decision in May of 2014. He looked very impressive in 2015 when he stopped Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. after the ninth round and beat Nathan Cleverly by 12-round unanimous decision.
Fonfara’s other losses were by second-round TKO to Derrick Findley in 2008 as a middleweight and to Eberto Medina by five-round unanimous decision in 2006. Fonfara isn’t really a slugger, but has pretty good power. He isn’t afraid to brawl even though his chin isn’t the most solid at light heavyweight. He can take a good shot though and has proved to be a tough customer to deal with. Fonfara owns a knockout percentage of 48 per cent and has 161 rounds under his belt since turning pro in 2006. His biggest wins were over Chavez and Cleverly and he’s also beaten the likes of Gabriel Campillo, Tommy Karpency, Glen Johnson, Byron Mitchell, Anthony Russell and Samuel Miller.
Dawson is the more talented boxer here and in his prime he’d definitely be the favourite. However, he’s well past his peak now and it’s hard to tell how dedicated he is or if he’s fighting for the paydays. Either way, he’s going to have to continuously throw punches to keep Fonfara off of him. If Dawson can take his best shots it could be tough for Fonfara to outbox him. This is tough to call since Fonfara could be a little gun shy after being stopped so quickly by Smith in his last outing. However, if Fonfara can consistently land his big shots he should eventually wear Dawson down and win by a close decision or late stoppage.