- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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Former light heavyweight titlist Chad Dawson is under new stewardship -- Emanuel Steward's, to be exact.
Coming off a career-worst performance in an 11th-round technical decision loss to champion Jean Pascal in August, Dawson has hired Steward as his trainer.
Steward, who has worked with dozens of champions during his Hall of Fame career, replaces Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. Steward also trains heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto, among others.
"I have always been a big fan of Chad's and I think he will bring excitement back to the light heavyweight division and to boxing," Steward said Thursday. "I am not interested in winning decisions. I'm concussion crazy. I only want Chad to win by knockouts and I know that's what he wants to do, too. HBO's investment in Chad is going to pay off big dividends and his stock will be a strong buy in 2011, especially after he destroys Pascal in their rematch."
Dawson had a rematch clause in his contract after losing to Pascal on his turf in Montreal. They were both permitted to take interim bouts. Dawson elected to not take one, but Pascal did and fought to a controversial draw with Bernard Hopkins on Dec. 18.
Next is supposed to be the Pascal-Dawson rematch, although it remains up in the air until Gary Shaw, Dawson's promoter, and Yvon Michel, Pascal's promoter, receive an offer from HBO, which televised the August fight. According to Shaw and Michel, HBO would need to offer the same or more as it did for the first fight.
If HBO doesn't, Pascal would not be obligated to a rematch and perhaps could face Hopkins again.
Regardless of whom Dawson faces, Steward will be in his corner.
"It was very frustrating watching Chad, who I think has an enormous amount of talent, fighting the wrong type of fight against Pascal," Steward said. "At this stage of my career, I'm only going to work with fighters who can achieve greatness and I see greatness in Chad Dawson. Chad Dawson will regain his light heavyweight title and perhaps add titles in the super middleweight and cruiserweight divisions. He is that talented."
Shaw said he believed it was a good move for Dawson.
"This is a great holiday gift for Chad and his fans," Shaw said. "Chad needed a change in direction and we think Manny Steward is the perfect tonic. Manny is simply great. He brings a lot of world championship success and experience with him. While promoting Lennox Lewis, I had the pleasure of watching his training methods firsthand. To say I was impressed would be a gross understatement.
"I know he will help Chad fulfill all his potential in becoming a complete top pound-for-pound fighter. Manny has vowed to bring Chad's potent offense to the forefront when he challenges Pascal in their rematch next spring."
Shaw said he plans to meet with HBO executives next week to discuss a deal for the Pascal-Dawson rematch.
"Much of Chad's past success is owed to his former trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad," Shaw said. "But as they say, styles make fights, not just inside the ring but inside the gym and after reflecting on several issues following the Pascal fight, a change in trainer seemed to be the prudent decision. However, with that said, I have the utmost respect for Eddie as a man and as a professional."
Dawson (29-1, 17 KOs), of New Haven, Conn., has not scored a knockout since 2007, and Steward is known for his offensive strategy.
"Manny is a very offensive-minded trainer and that's what Chad needs," Shaw said. "Chad hasn't scored a knockout in three years. It's not that he's not skilled or strong enough, but the style he was fighting was not conducive to knocking guys out. I give credit to Chad to recognizing himself that he needed to change and that he was willing to make the change."
Steward said when he was with Klitschko training him in Austria about a month ago, one of Dawson's representatives got in touch with him and asked if he would be interested in training him.
"I told him I was always a big fan of Chad's and I'd be interested," said Steward, who was ringside calling the fight with Pascal in his role as an HBO analyst.
"I was so frustrated watching his fight with Pascal," Steward said. "I saw what he was doing wrong. I take this as a challenge and my company [HBO] has invested so much money in him and all you guys [in the media] have criticized him so much, I said, 'Well let me see if I can take a shot at it.'
"I can make him more explosive. I love knockouts. I definitely feel he should have knocked out Pascal. When I did the broadcast of the fight, I was so surprised he kept laying back. He's got to be more aggressive. I'll see what I can do."
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.
Former light heavyweight titlist Chad Dawson is under new stewardship -- Emanuel Steward's, to be exact. Dawson has hired Steward as his trainer.