Chad Dawson outboxes Miami’s Glen Johnson

Posted on: January 9th, 2012

Glen Johnson’s 20-month pursuit of Chad Dawson and an elusive rematch of their disputed first fight finally ended Saturday night.

Johnson, a Miami resident, had a second opportunity at Dawson, who won the first bout with a unanimous decision, although Johnson and many fans believed he was the winner.

Intent on proving the judges erred in the first fight, Johnson counted on the formula that has made him one of the top light-heavyweights in the world. But relentless pressure doomed Johnson in the rematch — just as it nearly finished him in Tampa.

This time, Johnson found a different fighter who was unwilling to stay within his punching range. Dawson instead used superior boxing skills, connected the sharper punches during most of the 12-round bout and won another unanimous decision at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn.

“I wanted to outbox him and use my legs,” Dawson said. “I had youth on my side.”

Johnson’s 40-year-old legs and reflexes proved futile in breaking Dawson. The taller and younger Dawson, 27, landed frequent combinations and maintained the pace with a lead right jab.

“In the last fight, [media reports] were saying I lost steam the second half,” Dawson said. “I didn’t let it happen this fight. I outboxed him. Used my jab. Used my speed.

“I outclassed him.”

Although Dawson’s performance seemed as if it warranted a wider margin on the scorecards, judgesDuane Ford and Michael Pernick had him winning 115-113. Judge Glen Feldman scored the fight 117-111.

“Dawson’s whole game plan was to run from the start,” Johnson said. “My whole fight plan was to put pressure and try to go to the body early and try to run him out of gas late in the fight.”

Johnson (49-13-2) was not as outspoken with the rematch’s verdicts as he was after the first fight.

“It’s not for me to decide. I thought I fought a good fight,” he said. “I can’t do anything about it.”

Dawson (29-0) looks forward to new opponents now. His past four fights consisted of two bouts each with Johnson and Antonio Tarver. The Connecticut native further solidified claims as the best fighter in the 175-pound class.

“This chapter in my book, Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver, is closed,” Dawson said. “Now it’s time to move on and fight some new faces and reclaim my spot at the top.”

Don’t expect Johnson to fade fast from the light-heavyweight elite, despite Saturday’s loss. But his future hinges on securing additional marquee bouts.

“I have to wait and see if there are opportunities that make sense,” Johnson said.