By John J. Raspanti
For most of us, doing a good job is a pride thing. We strive to be the best we can. If we make a mistake, we apologize, get chewed on by the boss a little, and make a point of not screwing up again.
It’s not that simple if you’re a professional boxer. One loss can set your career back—or possibly end it.
There was a time when losing wasn’t the end of the world.
In 1944, Eddie Booker stopped future light-heavyweight champion, Archie Moore in the eighth round. Four years later, one Leonard Morrow knocked out Moore in the opening stanza. Moore avenged the loss a year later. In 1952, he captured the championship—a title he would hold for 10 years.
Ezzard Charles suffered the same fate as Moore in his 32nd fight as a professional in 1948. Hard-punching Lloyd Marshall finished the soon-to-be heavyweight champion in round eight. Charles beat the legendary, but over-the-hill, Joe Louis in 1950 to win heavyweight championship honors.
Charles’ rival and future champion Jersey Joe Walcott was stopped in round six by Tiger Jack Fox in 1937. Walcott would go on to knock out Charles in 1951 to capture the heavyweight title.
Former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson has won 34 of 38 fights, with 19 knockouts. He’s defeated the likes of Carl Daniels, Tomaz Adamek, Glen Johnson, Antomio Tarver, and future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins, but it’s the losses that most fans remember.
On March 4 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Dawson will face top-ten contender Andrzej Fonfara.
Four years ago Dawson foolishly dropped down in weight to challenge super middleweight titleholder, Andre Ward.
Ward carved up Dawson with ease, dropping him twice and winning by stoppage. Nine months later, Dawson traveled to Canada to meet hard-hitting underdog, Adonis Stevenson. After a few seconds of sizing each other up, Stevenson fired a left cross. The blow sent Dawson crashing to the canvas. The former champion beat the count, but referee Michael Griffin waved off the contest.
In the blink of an eye, Dawson had gone from a world champion to an afterthought.
Fonfara was riding high when he stepped into the ring last year to fight virtual unknown Joe Smith Jr. having defeated Nathen Cleverly and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. His spirited albeit losing effort against Stevenson gained the Polish native a strong following. A rematch was being discussed.
That discussion ended when Smith caught Fonfara with a powerful right hand. Fonfara collapsed, beat the count, but couldn’t continue.
Fonfara, 29, will be fighting for the first time with former "Trainer of the Year" Virgil Hunter, in his corner. The change has helped Fonfara mentally, but not if his loss to Smith is still on his mind.
“If you’re thinking about it, about ramifications of losing, you already lost,” said former two-time titleholder Aadamek to Przemek Garczarczyk of fightnews.com.
Dawson has won his last two fights against lessor competition. It’s debatable where his confidence is right now.
A loss for either would be devastating.
Everything is on the line.
So, who lives to fight another day?
Fonfara appears to have more left in the gas tank. It says here he sends Dawson home with the final loss of his career.
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