Boxer's Rebellion: Chad Dawson Doesn't Listen

Chad Dawson didn't listen to John Scully when Scully trained him before the Andre Ward debacle last year. So we shouldn't be surprised if Dawson ignored Scully before he climbed into the ring with Adonis Stevenson Saturday in Montreal.

Dawson had called his WBC light heavyweight title defense no more than a tuneup. He said he had to Google Stevenson's name to find out anything about him. He dismissed Stevenson as a "bum." Scully, on the other hand, had called it "the riskiest fight in the world out there for Chad right now."

After Stevenson reduced Bad Chad to bad chad with one thunderous left hand that ended the fight 76 seconds into the first round, Dawson could Google Stevenson's name and find something else: the title belt he once owned. Scully had been right.

"Chad is in big trouble, career-wise," Scully said Monday. "TV is boxing today. TV dictates titles. People don't want to see Chad on TV. Mark my words. People will this use as an excuse, a reason to shut him out."

Without a big personality or big knockout punch, Dawson has been neither a ratings bonanza nor boffo box office. Yet there is also no denying the lefty from New Haven is the state's most decorated boxer in many years. He entered the ring Saturday as the lineal light-heavy champ, the successor of Archie Moore, Ezzard Charles, Roy Jones Jr., the successor to greatness.

Yet to watch Dawson, suddenly an old 30, break ranks after the Ward fight with Scully — nobody in Connecticut eats, breathes, loves the sport more than John — and to see what has happened to Dawson in the ring the past nine months is sad, Chad.

Scully said he sat and talked boxing for an hour with Emanuel Steward in Atlantic City the night before Dawson defeated Bernard Hopkins for the WBC title in April 2012. Steward, the legendary Kronk Gym trainer who was working the fight for HBO, also was working with Stevenson. Steward died in October.

"Manny said, 'I've never seen anything like it in boxing, not even with Tommy Hearns,'" Scully said. "He said this guy Adonis spars with people and they complain for five days afterward about how much they hurt. He went on and on about his freakish power. He had to have him spar heavyweights.

"Russ Anber, a good friend from Montreal, trained Adonis for a few years, too, and he said, 'By far, pound for pound, hardest puncher I've ever trained.' Those things along with what Chad had to endure making the weight for Ward and then going through with the fight and being abused, told me he's not going to be ready for this. You don't want to come back from the most devastating loss of your career, mentally and physically, against a guy who hits out of this world. The problem is Chad didn't buy into that."

Dawson believed Adonis was little more than a Google search.

"Mistake No. 1," Scully said. "He dismissed the guy."

Dawson has shown the skill and focus to dismantle punchers before, so here's the argument: Had Ward taken something long term out of Chad, or did Stevenson simply hit a home run punch?

"I think a combination of both," Scully said. "Any time a puncher like Adonis, if he hits you flush like that, you're in some trouble. But I also think Chad regressed mentally and physically from the Ward fight and weight loss. I believe taking a punch is partially mental. You can decide you're going to take a better punch and you will.

"As great as Ward is, punching power is the last thing people associate with him. To get stopped like Chad did [knocked down three times in 10 rounds], your confidence takes a huge hit."

Counting Scully's and Eddie Mustafa Muhammad's two stints, Dawson has gone through 10 trainers in his 12-year career. Hey, Chad, it's time to look in the mirror. Somebody else isn't always to blame. At any rate, Dawson, who returned to Mustafa for the Stevenson fight, hasn't spoken a word to Scully since Sept. 8, the night of the Ward fight.

"Afterward, everybody went to Denny's and got takeout," Scully said. "I haven't talked to him since. I texted him to see if he was OK. I got no response. Nothing. For a regular human being that would be amazing. But he has done this to everybody.

"He said all these great things about Eddie before this fight yet he had told me Eddie was only in it for the money. When he left Eddie the first time, he didn't tell Eddie either. He just left."

Dawson had praised Scully for his work in the two Hopkins fights. So when the Ward fight was made, Scully said he immediately called Dawson's strength and conditioning coach Alex Murillo to discuss the drop to 168.

"I asked him, 'Are you sure we can do this?'" Scully said. "He said no problem, a piece of cake. He gave me all the reasons why. I'm like, good, good."

Before the fight, the Dawson camp kept insisting losing the weight wasn't a problem. It was a problem. Scully, who says he writes down all his boxing experiences, fired away weights and dates as proof:

"We got to Las Vegas [to train] July 7. It was 111 degrees. Chad weighed 182 pounds, good, 14 pounds to lose in nine weeks. Fast forward to Aug 13. Chad weighed 184 and he had been running six days a week. When I saw that, I called [Murillo] and said, 'We should cancel this fight.' He says, 'We're fine. I got it.' Then he got mad and told me to mind my own business.

"Fast forward to Sept 6 at 6:30, the night before the weigh-in. Chad weighed 175. He had less than 24 hours to lose 7 pounds after training nine weeks to lose 7. That strength coach ruined him. I don't know his methods. I don't know what he was feeding him or what supplements he was giving him. But I guarantee you this. If I was training Chad alone, we would have made 168 pounds easy.

"Andre Ward is no worse than the No. 2, maybe No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer, but Chad was already physically devastated. He could have had Eddie Futch, Angelo Dundee and Ray Arcel in his corner, and it wouldn't have made a difference. As a fighter, I know what losing weight in a bad fashion does to you mentally and physically. He went into that fight with nothing. I told Chad that Axel Murillo should be put in prison for what he did to you. Axel still trained him for this fight and I'm out."

Scully, however, insisted it's not the full story that Dawson fired him without telling him.

"When I trained Chad when he was young and then again for the Hopkins fights, it was a pleasure," Scully said. "We clicked. He listened. Training for the Ward fight, I could give you 100 incidents that just wore me out."

The most outlandish, Scully said, was after he had simply posted a picture of Dawson in the gym on Facebook. Later, he could hear Chad ordering his brother to tell Scully to delete the photo.

"I was in my bedroom and they were in the living room, 10 feet away, and Chad couldn't even yell over to me?" Scully said. "That told me he went Hollywood. He was out of control. I tried to have him do certain things we did for the Hopkins fight. He'd say, 'I'm not doing that.' Or 'I'm not sparring today.' Someone like Teddy Atlas would have been all over him. I understand that. It's not me. If you don't respect my position as a coach, I'm not going to fight with you.

"A lot of people were mad at Chad, because they think I got fired. For the record, I would have been out anyway. I made up my mind July 28, I wrote it down five weeks before the fight that even if we win I'm done. Chad changed so much. Even if he wanted me back, I wasn't coming back. I'm not mad at him. It's a wash."

A wash that isn't a clean one for Connecticut boxing.

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