Dawson-Tarver II benefits from delay

Losing several weeks of training to a hand injury isn't a good thing, but ultimately it might have been a blessing for Chad Dawson in his light heavyweight rematch against Antonio Tarver on May 9.

Dawson, the IBF and IBO world champion, beat Tarver soundly to win a 12-round unanimous decision Oct. 11 at the Palms. Dawson honored the rematch clause in Tarver's contract, and the two were to have fought March 14, but the bout was postponed when Dawson suffered ligament damage to his right hand.

Since the fight was pushed back, though, positive developments have occurred.

Promoter Gary Shaw cut a deal to move the fight from the Palms to the Hard Rock Hotel, where it will be held in "The Joint," the newly refurbished venue with seating for 2,900 and none further than 125 feet from the ring.

Also, HBO has decided to televise the fight live along with a replay of the May 2 junior welterweight fight between Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton. That will give Dawson-Tarver II a potentially wider audience, and HBO will have plenty of opportunities to promote the latter fight during the Pacquiao-Hatton live pay-per-view telecast.

"(The hand injury) was frustrating," Dawson said Tuesday. "But you have to look at the big picture. I was nervous about the HBO date, but we kept HBO. And I have more time to prepare for Tarver."

Dawson (27-0, 17 knockouts) said his hand is fine and he's eager to get into the ring.

"I like staying busy," he said. "I want to fight more than twice a year."

Shaw said HBO's willingness to show the fight helped keep ticket prices within reach. The most expensive is $250, but others are priced at $75, $50 and $35. Tickets are on sale at the Hard Rock and through Ticketmaster.

"Las Vegas is hurting, and I think you need to be sensitive to the economy and the people of Las Vegas," Shaw said. "It's up to us to do the right thing and make it affordable for the fans who want to see a world championship fight."

• SECOND CHANCE -- Sterling McPherson admits his first attempt as a fight promoter last year didn't go smoothly. But he has vowed to make changes, and the Nevada Athletic Commission appears ready to give him a second chance.

McPherson plans to promote a card May 15 at the Palms. He promises to arrive at the venue on time, make sure the fighters' checks are in the hands of the commission and that there will be no delays, all of which plagued his July 8 venture at the Las Vegas Hilton.

The card was delayed for more than an hour because McPherson arrived late and didn't have the checks to the commission the required 90 minutes before the first bell.

"It was a very trying time that night, and I take full responsibility for my actions," McPherson told the commission at a meeting Tuesday. "I have revamped my company since July 8, and there won't be any more incidents."

Commissioner John Bailey said: "To say there were some glitches that night was an understatement. We hope it was just an aberration."

• WRIGHT-WILLIAMS OFFICIALS -- Veteran Las Vegas referee Joe Cortez will work the middleweight fight between Winky Wright and Paul Williams on April 11 at Mandalay Bay. The judges, all from Nevada, will be Jerry Roth, Robert Hoyle and Adalaide Byrd.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@ reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913.


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