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Chad Dawson, Glen Johnson bring big boxing back to Hartford

Chad Dawson and Glen Johnson's November rematch will be the first major title fight at Hartford's XL Center in 20 years. (Photo via <a href=""></a>)
Chad Dawson and Glen Johnson's November rematch will be the first major title fight at Hartford's XL Center in 20 years. (Photo via

The November 7 rematch between Chad Dawson and Glen Johnson has found a home: Hartford's XL Center. Dawson, a Connecticut native, "insisted" he return to Connecticut to fight.

“The sole reason we are coming to Hartford is that Chad Dawson wanted to fight in Connecticut,” Shaw said during g a press conference Wednesday to promote a world light heavyweight title fight between Dawson and Johnson on Nov. 7 at the XL Center. “We could have made more money in Vegas or a California casino. But it’s time we came back to Hartford to promote “Bad” Chad Dawson.”

It will be the first major world title bout at the XL Center, formerly the Hartford Civic Center, in 20 years. Marlon Starling made a welterweight title defense in September of 1989 at the Hartford Civic Center. Dawson did fight at the Connecticut Convention Center a couple of years ago, but even with Antonio Tarver on the card, it was not a moneymaker, according to Shaw. But Dawson, 27, wanted to give Hartford another shot, and XL Center officials bent over backwards to bring what will now be a World Boxing Council title fight to the capital city.

“I really think I owe it to the people of Connecticut to come back and fight here,” Dawson said. “People from my hometown can come see me. These are hard economic times. People can’t afford to fly out and see me in Vegas.”

Man, it's not every day this type of nobility is seen from a boxer. To do something so courageous, so inspiring as fight in Connecticut when you're from says a lot about the men the Chad Dawson and Gary Shaw truly are.

OK, in all seriousness: I'm really glad this fight will be somewhere that somebody will actually want to watch it. Shaw can spin this however he wants, but the fact is, money or not, Dawson's two wins over Antonio Tarver in Las Vegas may as well have not happened. The two fights combined drew less than 2,000 fans, as Dawson has no name outside of Connecticut and Tarver isn't a draw anywhere but Florida. Egos got in the way, because those fights belonged in Vegas about as much as Paul Williams-Winky Wright, another empty house for an allegedly major fight in recent months.

Dawson-Johnson I, for the record, took place in Tampa, paired with Tarver's fight with Clinton Woods in April 2008.

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