By Phil Doherty
Sometimes the simplest answer is the right answer. Lost somewhere in the hullabaloo surrounding the Bernard Hopkins-Jean Pascal-Chad Dawson triangle lies a very simple, albeit potentially painful resolution. Three is definitely a crowd when it comes to the tangled scenario currently playing out in the light heavyweight division.
Should the WBC-ordered rematch between Pascal and Hopkins come off, “Bad” Chad Dawson-the former WBC, IBF & IBO champion from South Carolina would continue cooling his heels. Can he literally afford to sit on the sidelines again while the 46-year old Hopkins attempts to make history against Pascal one more time?
Dawson’s vocal promoter, Gary Shaw vows to challenge the WBC ruling, claiming his rematch clause for Pascal takes precedence. Yet, in order for that clause to be enforced, HBO would have to pony up approximately $2 million.
To date, they have not confirmed any willingness towards this option. That means you have a former champ available to fight and a network with money to spend. Easy, right?
Wrong. Here’s where things get even stranger- or simpler depending on your perspective. The current undefeated IBF light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud (22-0, 17 KOs) sits at home in Tallahassee with no calls from any network or fellow champion.
The only potential fight this gritty champion sees on the horizon is a mandatory June defense against the winner of the Yusaf Mack (28-3-2, 17 KOs) and Otis Griffin (23-6-2, 9 KOs). That underwhelming bout is scheduled February 4th in boxing hotbed Bloomington, Minnesota.
Doesn’t Cloud deserve better than this? Hasn’t he beaten every opponent placed in front of him? Hasn’t he demonstrated an exciting, come-forward, two fisted style that excites fans despite just 3 televised bouts in his climb to the IBF crown?
Or is he just too good for his own good?
We spoke with Cloud’s outspoken trainer Al Bonanni by phone this afternoon; who confirmed promoter Don King recently reached out to both Gary Shaw and HBO regarding a potential matchup.
Neither party expressed interest according to Bonanni. Emails sent by Bonanni to both Showtime and HBO apparently went unanswered as well. Amazingly, there was also no interest from WBA champ Beibut Shumenov (11-1, 7 KOs) of Kazakhstan, who just missed out on a unification bout with WBO champ Jurgen Brähmer (36-2, 29 KOs).
Brähmer left the country days prior to their January 8th bout citing acute gastrointestinal pain. Now Brähmer and Welshman Nathan Cleverly (21-0, 10 KOs) are in talks to settle the WBO belt.
Bonanni claims Cloud has more than enough “stomach” to make a fight overseas against any one of the three if necessary.
Which brings us back to HBO. We will know by next month which direction the cable giant will go regarding this twisted “trilemma”. Let’s hope they do what seems so incredibly simple and make the Cloud-Dawson fight immediately.
Otherwise, like Cloud, we’ll just have to wait and wonder.