Tim Starks of The Queensberry Rules reports that Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward has been let go by light heavyweight contender Chad Dawson after just one fight working together, with Dawson's biggest career fight against Bernard Hopkins on tap for October 15.
This is pretty big news, obviously. Here's what Steward had to say on the matter:
Steward said Dawson still might beat Hopkins on raw talent alone, and that he wishes him luck, but that Dawson is hurting his chances of victory.
"Whoever it is, it's not a good idea to be changing at the last minute," Steward said. "This is a very, very serious fight with Bernard. You can’t do that with Bernard. He's got a solid team. You've got to respect him."
I've got two thoughts dominating my mind here.
First off, I don't think that this really lessens his chances at beating Bernard Hopkins. Steward has questioned Dawson's mental focus for the fight to begin with, and I don't think there was any evidence whatsoever in their one fight together that Steward had done Dawson any good. That's not a knock on Steward, either, but it looked like the same old Chad Dawson on May 21 against Adrian Diaconu. I said that then, I still believe it today.
Second is the bigger one: Chad Dawson goes through trainers like they're toilet paper, and if there's any change in perception for this fight -- not in actual chance to win, but in perception -- it's that Dawson isn't going to be good enough to handle Hopkins. People are going to believe he's unfocused, and he might be. He wants to train at home in Connecticut. I think we'll see more people picking firmly and going with Hopkins than we might have before. Dawson has been with Floyd Mayweather Sr and Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and now Steward, and it's just sort of the same cycle he always goes through. He's got some issues outside of the ring and trainers take the hit with him.
I usually don't make concrete picks this early, but I've been a firm believer that Hopkins would beat Dawson since late night on May 21, when everyone assumed that was the next fight. I now believe it more than ever. Chad Dawson won't be ready for what Bernard Hopkins brings. It will be the same Chad Dawson, with a different trainer, and nothing will really change. You don't beat Bernard Hopkins on raw talent alone.