The Chad Dawson you saw the last time out is gone. That version of Dawson was at 168 pounds, a lower weight class, and lost to pound-for-pound star Andre Ward. Now, he is back up at light heavyweight and ready to face Adonis Stevenson, a big-punching Canadian on Saturday at Bell Centre in Montreal (HBO, 10 p.m. ET).
"I feel great being back at my weight," Dawson said. "Training camp went excellent. I couldn't say anything better about training camp.
"Everything went according to plan and when you have a great camp and you know you did everything your best and the right way, then you have no doubts. That's the way this camp went. There were no doubts. I feel great. The team is great, everybody is happy and we know that we're going to go out on June 8 and put on a show."
Dawson has been in with the best. Before Ward, he faced Bernard Hopkins twice, with one being cut short by an injury to Hopkins, and has been in with other top fighters at light heavyweight. In Stevenson, he is facing a situation where tables have turned. It is Stevenson who this is a step-up fight for and it is Stevenson who has more to gain. Yet, Dawson says motivating himself for this one is no problem.
"Every fight, you have to go into like it's a championship fight. For me I'm not going to let this guy come and take my title," he said. "People say that he's a big puncher and he's physically strong, but I've been in with guys like that. I've been in the ring with punchers. I've been hurt before, I've been down and I've gotten back up before and those are the things that are going to play a big role in this fight. Not that I'm going out there looking to get hit or to get hurt but I'm just saying that I've been there. I've been down and I've gotten up and we'll see if he's able to do that."
By contrast, Dawson believes he will take Stevenson into the type of waters and show him the type of style he is not accustomed to throughout his 21 fights.
"This guy's never seen anybody like me. He's never fought anybody like me," he said. "He's never fought anybody with fast hands and a strong right hook and can maneuver and defend and turn him in different directions that he doesn't want to go in, so those are things that he's never seen before."
After draining himself and admitting going down to 168 was not in his best interest (he had to lose nine pounds the night before the fight), Dawson cautions against anyone, especially Stevenson writing him off because of the loss to Ward. That's because he knows the Chad Dawson that will enter the ring in Montreal will be, not only at the right weight, but in the right frame of mind.
"A new Chad Dawson. I'm back at 175, I'm excited, I'm happy, I recently moved my family out to Las Vegas and everything is going great," he said. "Waking up and seeing my kids every day, going to training and dropping them off at school, putting my workout, I didn't have those things. I was leaving my family back in Connecticut, coming out to Vegas and being on the other side of the country, so now I'm just a happy camper right now."