Upcoming light heavyweight championship challenger Chad Dawson is confident that he and trainer Emanuel Steward have clicked ahead of Dawson's fight with Bernard Hopkins on October 15. This from Keith Idec:
"I’ve only been with him for four, five months. Everything is going great right now. I’m happy, he’s happy. ... He wants the knockout, but at the same time he wants you to look good doing it. He likes boxer-punchers. That’s what we’re trying to turn me into. He wants me to be more aggressive. I know I have to be aggressive in this fight. That’s something that I have to do. I will do anything I have to do to win this fight."
While Steward does work well with fighters who can set up power shots and pump a great jab, we've also seen Steward befuddled, angered, and frustrated with his own fighters many times in the past. The initial worry with Dawson, who has a sort of lackadaisical attitude, was that Steward was working with another Jermain Taylor, a fighter with raw talent and athletic gifts who just doesn't take direction well.
But while Dawson wasn't exactly eye-popping in his May 21 win over Adrian Diaconu, there was nothing particularly wrong with the way he fought. It's not exciting, but Dawson never has been exciting. The biggest knock was in most ways it just looked like the same old Chad Dawson. At times he seemed to stick with the Steward game plan, but at other points he seemed a bit adrift, and strayed back into old trappings. That's the toughest thing to break, old habits.
While Dawson is right that trainer-fighter relationships take time, there's also the fact that Dawson has been through a ton of trainers -- and good ones -- in his pro career, and that frankly, he doesn't have any more time to get things right with Steward. He's facing the biggest fight of his career next, and it's sort of make or break for him. The other side doesn't have this sort of issue, as Hopkins and Naazim Richardson are a well-oiled machine still going strong. Dawson and Steward need to be fine-tuned and at their best quickly, because this fight is only two months away.