Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward is hard at work at the Kronk Gym in Detroit with his new client, former WBC light heavyweight champion “Bad” Chad Dawson (29-1, 17 KO’s), for Dawson’s upcoming 12-round match-up against Romanian/Canadian light heavyweight contender Adrian Diaconu (27-2, 15 KO’s). The two will meet on the undercard of the May 21 “Dynasty II: Pascal vs. Hopkins” rematch at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and it will be more than a non-title clash of top 175-lb contenders for Dawson. If he wins, Dawson will face the winner of the Pascal and Hopkins in an effort to regain the belt.
Steward, known for his ability to analyze fighters and formulate winning fight plans, says he sees why Dawson is a champion and is currently working to change some technical errors in the style of the 6′ 1″ southpaw. “He’s unbelievable; phenomenal balance. He goes in and out and changes directions very, very well. He’s a terrific positional fighter. A lot of guys are always out of position, but Chad is sensational at getting in the right position to punch. He’s a natural athlete with a track background. A lot of boxers are that way, very gifted athletes.”
As far as weaknesses, Steward says Dawson may be trying too hard to emulate his boxing idol. “He fights closer than he should. We’re working on a problem where he’s dipping down too low. His hero was Pernell Whitaker, who used to like dipping down and ducking and dodging in close. This is something that’s not good for Chad Dawson to be doing. I like my tall fighters to fight tall.”
At Kronk, Dawson is sparring with a wide assortment of fighters. “This week and next week will be our really tough weeks. We’ll probably do about sixty rounds of sparring this next week or so.”
While many experts maintain that Dawson is actually the most skilled fighter on the card that night, main event included, Steward says victory of Diaconu is far from a given.
“He’s a good fighter. He’s very under-rated. He punches well and has good coordination. Plus there will be a big crowd of support for him from the Romanian fans in Montreal. I think his reception from the fans may exceed Jean Pascal’s that night, in fact.”
Dawson is also, once again, working with well-respected conditioning coach Axel Murillo. Steward says that between them, the two men keep the former champion active for most of the day.
“After the gym, he goes home and showers and eats and sometimes likes to go to a movie or go bowling. Three days a week we all go to a fine dining restaurant, normally Italian, and just connect as people and go through strategy. Chad is a very quiet person. The most unique thing about him is he’s into his family like nobody else. He’s 24/7 on the phone with his kids. The man is a very good father. Give him a laptop and a telephone to talk to his kids and that’s all he needs. I don’t know if he goes two hours in any day without communicating with his kids.”