Source: Dan Rafael
WBC light heavyweight titlist Chad Dawson and his manager, Mike Criscio, have tentatively agreed to travel to Romania to fight mandatory challenger and interim titleholder Adrian Diaconu following a purse bid won by Gankor Promotions, Diaconu's handlers.
You probably recall that Dawson and Diaconu were supposed to fight last fall, but a hand injury caused Diaconu to pull out. With "The Shark" out of action, "Bad" Chad fought and knocked out late substitute Epifanio Mendoza, and in April of this year won a disputed and hotly contested decision against Glen Johnson. That same day, Diaconu outpointed Chris Henry in Romania for the interim title in another good fight.
Speaking with ESPN's Dan Rafael, Criscio still expressed his doubts over the legitimacy of Diaconu's injury last year:
He contends that Diaconu was overweight and made up the injury. But while Criscio said he is unhappy about having to go to Romania for the fight, he said they are willing.
"Chad will go anywhere to fight the guy," Criscio told ESPN.com. "They won the bid. Chad will go out there and beat him, and probably knock him out in four rounds and take the title home. So, if we have to (go to Romania), we have to. He's the mandatory. I'm not happy about it though. I don't want any of my guys to go out of country to fight. But at least Chad's a guy I don't have to worry about. No matter where he goes, he will dominate and win."
Criscio, of course, is talking up his guy, but taken at face value, you have to wonder if he's not getting ahead of himself. Diaconu is a quality fighter and a legitimate contender. The guy he beat, Chris Henry, isn't a bum. And Chad struggled to maintain his stamina against the much older Johnson, who many felt outlasted Dawson and should have been awarded the victory. (I scored the fight, which was a good one, a draw.)
Rafael also notes that neither HBO nor Showtime have any interest in the fight ("They couldn't care less," says Criscio), which I think is too bad, but schedules fill up. Hopefully Don King or someone will step in and get this fight out to American audiences, because it could be a good one. Dawson is a good young titlist and deserves to be seen.
I also get the idea from Criscio's quotes that they're looking for a way out of this. He goes on to later say they'd have no problem giving up the title if they felt the fight wasn't set up fairly, and that they'd simply balk and move forward. He also gets in some shots at Antonio Tarver, saying Tarver has "run from" Dawson three times already. Seems like a tactic to get more demand for that fight, for which Showtime would undoubtedly find room given their loyalty shown to both men.
Personally, I like either fight. Dawson-Diaconu is overdue, and Dawson-Tarver would be a fairly marquee matchup between a rising titlist and a proven player, and it would be the biggest fight of Dawson's career.