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Boxing:

Dawson vacates IBF title

IBO lightweight champ wants to pursue bigger-named fighters

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Steve Marcus

Chad Dawson catches Antonio Tarver with a left hook during their IBF/IBO light heavyweight title fight Saturday night at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Dawson defeats Tarver in rematch

Chad Dawson finds an opening against Antonio Tarver in their IBF/IBO light heavyweight title fight Saturday night at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Launch slideshow »

PANAMA CITY, Panama — Light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson has decided to vacate his IBF title after the organization refused to grant an exception to an immediate defense against mandatory challenger Tavoris Cloud.

It’s the second time in recent weeks that one of the federation’s most visible champions has given up its belt to pursue more lucrative bouts. Welterweight Josh Clottey vacated his title last month to fight WBO champ Miguel Cotto on June 13.

Promoter Gary Shaw informed the IBF of Dawson’s decision at its annual convention Wednesday.

“No major television network was willing to buy the fight, (and) the IBF left us little choice,” Shaw said in a statement. “I respect the IBF’s decision, but the fight they were forcing us to do was commercially unviable.

"On behalf of Chad, we thank the IBF for the opportunity to fight for its title and to defend it. It’s an honor Chad will always cherish. Now it’s on to bigger and better. Chad looks forward to defending his International Boxing Organization title against the cream of the crop and unencumbered.”

Dawson (28-0, 17 KOs) easily defended his IBF and IBO titles in a rematch against Antonio Tarver earlier this month. Rather than defend against Cloud, the hard-punching 26-year-old is reportedly eyeing a fight with former champ Glen Johnson, whom Dawson beat in a close unanimous decision early last year.

Dawson has a history of giving up belts for richer fights. He defended the WBC title three times before vacating it to fight Tarver rather than mandatory challenger Adrian Diaconu.

Cloud (19-0, 18 KOs), an exciting but relatively obscure prospect, hasn’t fought since knocking out Julio Cesar Gonzalez in a title eliminator last August.

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