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Chad Dawson ready to prove to Johnson his first win wasn’t a fluke

Just a month away from rematch, IBO light heavyweight champ challenging himself even on ‘off days’

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Steve Marcus

Light heavyweight boxer Chad Dawson poses after a workout at the International MMA Fight Club Wednesday, October 7, 2009. Dawson is preparing for a November 7 rematch against Glen Johnson at the Excel Arena in Hartford, Conn.

Chad Dawson workout for Glen Johnson

Light heavyweight boxer Chad Dawson hits a speed bag during a workout at the International MMA Fight Club Wednesday, October 7, 2009. Dawson is preparing for a November 7 rematch against Glen Johnson at the Excel Arena in Hartford, Conn. Launch slideshow »

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 »

If Wednesday was considered a light training day for Chad Dawson, Glen Johnson may be in trouble a month from now.

Dawson, the undefeated 27-year-old International Boxing Organization light heavyweight champ, started his morning with a long run up Las Vegas’ considerably elevated Mount Charleston.

From there, a mandatory tip of the scales for his Nov. 7 rematch with Johnson showed that Dawson weighed exactly 185 pounds — with his clothes on, he made sure to point out. Dawson then headed for a double sparring session with Chris Henry and A.K. Laleye at International MMA Fight Club.

A few minutes of speed bag followed, before Dawson (28-0, 17 KOs), who got a few encouraging words from special guest Floyd Mayweather Sr., wrapped up with the taxing task of media interviews.

“I can handle it. It felt good,” said a sweaty and smiling Dawson of his so-called off day. “I’m working on pure boxing, the things I got to do for Glen Johnson.

“Everything’s good. I’m ready to take on Johnson and put to rest this idea that he should have won the last fight.”

The 40-year-old Johnson (49-12-2, 33 KOs) — who lost to Dawson by a somewhat controversial, yet unanimous decision (all three judges scored the bout 116-112) in April 2008 — tipped the scales in his hometown of Miami at 181.6 pounds.

“I think Chad knows I mean business by coming in at 181.6 pounds 30 days out,” Johnson said. “I am ready for this fight and I am taking it very seriously.

“I feel great. Let’s get it on.”

Dawson says no problem, but he thinks while the fans want to see the WBC rematch, not much will change from their first meeting.

“A lot of people think that HBO made me take this fight. HBO didn’t make me take this fight,” said Dawson, who has scored two impressive 12-round, unanimous decision wins over Antonio Tarver since he faced Johnson.

“I could have went and defended my IBF title against Tavoris Cloud (mandatory IBF challenger) and forget about Glen Johnson. But I feel this is what the fans wanted, and I wanted to give the fans the rematch.”

Dawson also wants to send a special message to Johnson.

“This fight I want to leave no doubt with him, his team or the judges. If it goes 12 rounds, I want a unanimous, unanimous decision.”

Dawson has already convinced arguable pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. that he’s one of the best, if not the best, fighter in the world.

“Pretty Boy Floyd” paid Dawson the highest compliment when he told him he was the best boxer in the game during a prefight phone call prior to his first bout with Tarver.

Dawson quickly gave that title back to Mayweather after watching his dominant victory over Juan Manuel Marquez last month at the MGM Grand.

“In my book, he’s the best fighter in the world,” Dawson said. “He acknowledged me in the post fight press conference. That definitely gave me a boost of confidence.”

Dawson’s trainer, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, a former world champ himself, says his prized pugilist doesn’t need much of an ego boost — and will silence any critics still left after his rematch with Johnson.

“You hear a lot of things that he can’t take a punch and this and that. The same punch that Chad got hit with by Glen Johnson (in 2008), knocked out Roy Jones,” Muhammad said. “He hit him with the right hand, and Chad wobbled. But he came back, right on Glen Johnson. That’s a result of his conditioning.

“The name of the game is I hit you and you don’t hit me. It’s not you stand there and going punch for punch. At the end of the day, I want him to speak correct English.”

His friends and family won’t have to travel far from their home in New Haven, Conn., to the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., for fight night.

“It’s (gonna be) very special,” said Dawson of fighting in his home state.

“I’m excited about it. I know the fans are excited about it. I get calls every day from people waiting for me to get back and showcase my talent. Now that time is finally here.”

Andy Samuelson can be reached at [email protected] or 702-948-7837.

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