Hand injury to Dawson postpones bout

Updated: February 18, 2009, 10:31 AM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Light heavyweight titlist Chad Dawson suffered a right hand injury Tuesday, forcing him to withdraw from his March 14 rematch with former champion Antonio Tarver, promoter Gary Shaw told ESPN.com.

Shaw said that the diagnosis was ligament damage and that Dawson was in a soft cast, unable to train for about two weeks.

"It's not a break, it's a ligament," Shaw said. "In two weeks, he'll be able to go back into training. The question is when can HBO give us another date for the fight?"

Dawson, who has fought on Showtime the past few years, was due to make his HBO debut in the sequel with Tarver, 40, who had a contractual rematch clause in his contract after losing a lopsided decision and his 175-pound belt Oct. 11. They were due to meet in Las Vegas at The Palms resort, the same casino that hosted the first fight.

Shaw said that Dawson, 26, suffered the injury sparring with Akinyemi "AK" Laleye, a participant in this season's edition of "The Contender" reality series. He and Dawson are both managed by Mike Criscio.

"I'm bummed. I really wanted Chad to get back in the ring to show his wares and move on," Shaw said. "I'm sure Chad is pretty upset too. I'm sure HBO is pretty bummed out. Chad should be ready to fight as early as mid-April."

In the first meeting with Tarver (27-5, 19 KOs), Dawson (27-0, 17 KOs) dominated the fight, dropped him in the 12th round and won on scores of 118-109, 117-110 and 117-110.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.

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