Chad Dawson finds himself in a battle as the IBF light heavyweight champion prepares for his May 9 rematch against Antonio Tarver.
His battle? Boredom.
Dawson was so convincing in beating Tarver in a 12-round unanimous decision Oct. 11 at the Palms that he has to come up with ways to motivate himself for their rematch, this one at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel. He thinks he might have found a couple of ways to push through the drudgery of his Las Vegas training camp.
“I want Bernard Hopkins,” Dawson said Monday during a workout at Johnny Tocco’s Ringside Gym. “I want to be the pound-for-pound champion, and he’s the only light heavyweight left out there now that (Joe) Calzaghe retired. But for me to get Bernard, I’ve got to beat Dawson again.”
His other motivation?
“I’ve always wanted to fight on HBO,” he said. “This will be my first time, so I want to look good.”
Dawson said his left hand, which was injured in training in February and caused a postponement of the initial April 11 rematch date, is fine. He sparred 10 rounds Monday, four with Aaron Williams and six with Dewey Cooper, and hardly broke a sweat.
“I’m ready to go,” said Dawson (27-0, 17 knockouts). “The game plan is to pick up where we left off the last time.”
Dawson said if he can’t get Hopkins in the ring, he’d consider dropping down to 168 pounds.
“Hey, I’ll go where the fights are,” Dawson said. “If nobody wants to fight me at 75, I’ll go down to 68.”
• PACQUIAO-HATTON UNDERCARD — The main undercard fight for Saturday’s Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton fight will have Humberto Soto defending his WBC super featherweight title against Benoit Gaudet. Gaudet (20-1, seven KOs) replaces Steven Luevano, who was injured in training and had to pull out of the fight.
Soto (47-7-2, 30 KOs) is coming off a fourth-round TKO over Antonio Davis on March 28.
Top-ranked junior middleweight James Kirkland puts his 25-0 (22 KOs) record on the line against Mike Walker (19-1-2, 12 KOs) in a 10-round middleweight bout.
Also scheduled on the undercard are Russian middleweight Matt Korobov (4-0, four KOs) and Cuban junior middleweight Erislandy Lara (4-0, three KOs). The first bell for the 10-bout card will be at 2:45 p.m.
• DOUBLE NEGATIVE — Pacquiao and Hatton passed their random drug tests, which were administered April 7 by the Nevada Athletic Commission. Both fighters will be tested again before they enter the ring Saturday as well as immediately after their fight.
• PLAZA FIGHT CARD — Boxing returns to The Plaza on May 8 with junior middleweight Ishe Smith (20-3, nine KOs) facing Brian Mihtar (10-1, nine KOs) and Las Vegas lightweight Sharif Bogere (6-0, three KOs) meeting Marcos Herrera (6-0, one KO).
Tickets are $20, $35 and $55. The card will begin at 7 p.m. in The Plaza’s upstairs ballroom.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@ reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913.