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Dawson-Tarver II hardly a decadent dessert

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Antonio Tarver and Chad Dawson will meet again this Saturday in a rematch that has sparked little interest. (Photo by Mary Ann Owen / via <a href="http://www.fightnews.com/wp-content/uploads/3179tarvdaws001.jpg">www.fightnews.com</a>)
Antonio Tarver and Chad Dawson will meet again this Saturday in a rematch that has sparked little interest. (Photo by Mary Ann Owen / via www.fightnews.com)

Not all the big fights can be winners, and sometimes the best (like Hatton-Pacquiao) turn out in some ways to be duds. Sometimes the less anticipated (like Cunningham-Adamek) turn out to be Fight of the Year candidates.

With the boxing world still riding the high of Manny Pacquiao's stunning defeat of Ricky Hatton this past Saturday, there's still a lot to talk about. The futures of those fighters are of great interest to all of us.

Yet the calendar turns, and so must our attention to less glamorous affairs, if you want to be frank about it. This Saturday on HBO, IBF/IBO light heavyweight titlist "Bad" Chad Dawson moves over from Showtime for a rematch with former world champion Antonio Tarver.

For those that haven't followed the recent happenings of either man, this might seem a decent enough fight. The rematch was originally scheduled for March 14 but moved back to May 9 because of an injury to the 26-year old titlist. Tarver, now 40, is still among the division's top fighters.

But here's the rub: This is a rematch not of a competitive fight, but of an easy domination by Dawson, the type many expected would happen as Tarver ages less than gracefully inside the ring.

I scored that bout 119-108 for Dawson, who knocked Tarver down in the 12th and final round. Official judges' scorecards were barely closer: 118-109 and 117-110 (twice).

It was interesting to see Dawson, who had struggled with Glen Johnson previously, decimate Tarver, the veteran who has been in the ring with all of them, from Johnson to Jones to Hopkins. We saw Dawson mature into a potentially great fighter against a still-crafty veteran.

But once was all we needed to see. Twice? Most are going to pass.

HBO is not really at fault here. Any good network would want a young star with the potential of Dawson on their network, and in the hopes of making a better fight for him down the road, they accepted this rematch, which was exercised by Tarver as a probably (hopefully) last shot at glory. The fight is a business decision -- they take this one, they show Chad Dawson, they use up the last bit of Tarver's star power, and they move on to bigger and better things.

But if Hatton-Pacquiao was the boxing meal of the year for many who may now want to tune in to see the next "big" fight, Dawson-Tarver is not going to be the dessert they may have wanted. A good slugfest, a more important fight, a more intriguing fight would have been better. But this is the only dish on the menu. Take it or leave it.

Of course there are big fights after this one, including some great stuff in June (Cotto-Clottey, Klitschko-Haye, a nice Boxing After Dark doubleheader on the 27th), and all of that will serve, in some ways, as an appetizer for Mayweather-Marquez on July 18.

It's just not worth getting anyone's hopes up. Chances are you're going to see Chad Dawson spank Antonio Tarver for a second consecutive time this Saturday.

The silver lining? Dawson's a young fighter in whom it's more than worth taking an interest. He's Money Mayweather's favorite fighter (apart from Money Mayweather, of course), and so far he's been the real deal.

We'll have more on this fight and both fighters in the coming days, so stay tuned.