Vegas camp lets Dawson focus on foe

Whenever Chad Dawson needs peace and quiet, he packs his bags, leaves his hometown of New Haven, Conn., and heads for Las Vegas.

Peace and quiet? Here?

It’s not so crazy. When Dawson is away from family and friends, the WBC light heavyweight champion says he can better focus on his next fight — in this case, an HBO-televised title defense against Jean Pascal on Aug. 14 in Montreal.

As his local training camp winds down this week, Dawson said he is on track for a great performance in two weeks.

“I’m really anxious to get back in the ring,” he said Thursday after sparring 12 rounds at Tapout Gym.

Dawson (29-0 with 17 knockouts) hasn’t fought since Nov. 7 when he scored a 12-round unanimous decision over Glen Johnson, repeating the result from their 2008 fight. Dawson said he would like to fight more often, especially in Las Vegas, where he handled Antonio Tarver with ease at the Hard Rock Hotel in May 2009. But few fighters want to challenge Dawson, and he said he is becoming more selective in picking opponents.

“I’m done chasing fighters,” Dawson said, referring to Bernard Hopkins, who has refused to fight him. “I want to call the shots.”

Pascal (25-1, 18 KOs) will be fighting in his hometown. But Dawson said he has a plan to combat that.

“I feel like I have all the advantages,” Dawson said. “But he’s fighting in his hometown, and we know we have to go into the fight with the mindset we have to knock him out. I usually don’t say that, but in a situation like this, you can’t leave anything to chance.”

■ GAMBOA-SALIDO ON AGAIN — IBF featherweight champion Orlando Salido is back in as the next opponent for WBA champion Yuriorkis Gamboa on Sept. 11 at the Pearl at the Palms.

The two were originally scheduled to fight last month, but the matchup was called off because of a stubburn cut Salido suffered against Cristobal Cruz on May 15. Gamboa moved on to a Sept. 11 fight against Elio Rojas, but Rojas hurt his right hand and shoulder during training last week, so Salido in back in.

Also on the card, Anthony Peterson (30-0, 20 KOs) and Brandon Rios (24-0-1, 18 KOs) will fight in a lightweight title eliminator bout.

■ LOPEZ-MARQUEZ TICKETS — Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday for the Sept. 18 featherweight title fight between WBO champion Juan Manuel Lopez and Rafael Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden.

“It will be the biggest fight of my career,” said Lopez (29-0, 26 KOs).

He last fought in Las Vegas in December 2008, stopping Sergio Medina in the first round to retain his WBO super bantamweight title.

■ PETER TRIES AGAIN — Heavyweight Sam Peter, who trains locally, couldn’t take the WBC title from Vitali Klitschko when they fought in 2008. Now he’ll try to win Wladimir Klitschko’s IBF and WBO belts Sept. 11 in Frankfurt, Germany.

Peter (34-3, 27 KOs), originally from Nigeria, aligned himself with Top Rank late last year and is coming off a second-round TKO over Nagy Aguilera on March 12. Klitschko is 54-3 with 47 KOs.

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

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