Photos by Sumio Yamada
CHAD DAWSON vs JESUS RUIZ
Chad Dawson looked so good against Tomasz Adamek in February it is difficult to see anyone beating him at 175 pounds. The undefeated southpaw wants the really big fights and is getting impatient. I want to be known as the best. I'll stop at nothing; I put an effort into everything that I do to become the best, he said this week at a press conference to publicise Saturdays title defence against Jesus Ruiz, the Los Angeles-based Mexican, on Showtime on Saturday.
The main event on this show is Antonio Tarvers comeback fight against Elvir Muriqi. It would be nice to think that these showcase fights will set up a showdown between Tarver and Dawson, but things are not that straightforward. Dawson, clearly, would love the fight.
I wish these guys would stop dodging me, Dawson said this week. They all claim to be the best in the division but no one wants to step up to the plate and take me on. I hope Tarver will step up and face me when I beat Ruiz, and stop making excuses. What more will I need to do for him to shut up and put up?
Well, I think it would help Dawson if he had a strong performance and stopped Ruiz. There is no question that Dawson will win the fight barring a so-called act of God it is how he wins that matters.
Ruiz, 33, is a tough guy and he can hit with the right hand, but he has lost every time he has stepped up in class. Julio Gonzalez overpowered him in nine rounds, although that was seven years ago and the only time Ruiz has been stopped. Ruiz was very competitive against the crafty Montell Griffin, a split technical decision loss when the Mexican fighter was cut in a clash of heads. Yet Rodney Toney, a former middleweight who had been stopped in two of his last three fights, outpointed him.
One thing that Ruiz can do is punch. He dropped the rugged Paul Briggs with a right hand in the second round of their fight in Australia but lost a unanimous decision. Normally a pressure fighter, Briggs used more of a boxing style in that fight and seemed a good winner, but the Aussie amazingly took the microphone afterwards to say he thought he had been given a hometown decision. (As I understand it, Briggs believed his corner when as a means of motivating him to greater efforts they told him he was losing the fight.)
That was a good showing by Ruiz even though he lost, but he has boxed only once in the three years since a one-round knockout win over trial horse Rodney Moore, who had been stopped in his last two fights. A reliable southern California source tells me that Ruiz apparently lost motivation and was looking for a manager who would give him the support he felt he needed, and has found one. Ruiz says he is coming to win and that Dawson doesnt know what hes got coming at him. How many times have we heard that?
The reality is that Dawson is a different class to Ruiz. In his last two fights Dawson has seemed to rise to a new level each time, easily outpointing the capable veteran Eric Harding and then making the fight look easy against Adamek.
Although Dawson was down in each of these fights I think he was simply caught off-balance by Harding, while in the fight with Adamek it seemed that he lost concentration in a fight he was dominating. He was definitely buzzed by Adameks right hand but quickly recovered and, watching the fight on Showtime, I did not have the impression that Dawson was in any real danger.
The only chance that Ruiz has on Saturday is to land a big right hand, but I do not think he will be able to do so. Dawson is on home ground in Connecticut, he is working with trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. for the second time, and I expect a statement type of fight from him. This doesnt mean it will be a blowout he has to be a bit careful of Ruizs right hand but I think that Dawsons southpaw sharpshooting can break down the WBC title challenger by the 10th round.