Steward told The Queensberry Rules Friday that Dawson's lawyer informed him two days ago that Dawson wouldn't be reporting to the Kronk Gym in Detroit for training because he wanted to stay in his home state of Connecticut. Steward said he couldn't move his operation to Connecticut because he's training several fighters for upcoming bouts, including middleweight Andy Lee. And although Steward said he respected Dawson's choice, boxers traditionally go to their trainers' gyms rather than vice versa -- and he noted that staying close to home can be fraught with distractions for a fighter.
Upheaval in Dawson’s corner is nothing new. Steward in December replaced Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, one of a list of several well-regarded trainers Dawson has worked with in recent years, among them Floyd Mayweather, Sr., Dan Birmingham and John Scully. Some analysts have blamed the constant trainer switches for Dawson lacking a strong sense of identity in the ring, despite all his physical talents.
"I've been waiting on him to show every week," Steward said. "His lawyer called and said want to be closer to home. I don’t know. I respect that he wants to be close to his family, but I’m definitely not in agreement with him."
Steward said he didn't know who would be training Dawson for Hopkins in the Oct. 15 HBO pay-per-view headliner, and didn't know if Dawson wanted to part ways permanently, since he hasn't spoken to him. Steward said Dawson still might beat Hopkins on raw talent alone, and that he wishes him luck, but that Dawson is hurting his chances of victory.
"Whoever it is, it's not a good idea to be changing at the last minute," Steward said. "This is a very, very serious fight with Bernard. You can’t do that with Bernard. He's got a solid team. You've got to respect him."
Dawson's promoter, Gary Shaw, said Friday he would have no comment until he put out a news release. Dawson's manager, Mike Criscio, did not return a message seeking comment. As recently as Aug. 24, Dawson said he was glad to know Steward would be in his corner in the future. "So far, everything is great," he told FightHype. "I'm learning from him and looking forward to go out there and fight knowing I have him in my corner."
Harold Lederman, a partner to Steward at HBO when Steward is serving at a commentator at the network, said that it was unclear what the break-up would mean for Dawson-Hopkins. "That makes it really interesting," he said. "We’ll see if Chad can do it on his own."
Lederman also didn't know who was going to train Dawson for Hopkins. "I don’t think it’s Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, but you’d have to ask him," he said.
Muhammad told TQBR he is not training Dawson, and hasn’t spoken to him since the pair split and Dawson went with Steward.
Muhammad and Steward haven’t seen eye-to-eye on the best training philosophy for Dawson; Steward has argued when he was hired that Dawson fought the wrong fight against Jean Pascal last summer in his lone loss and should have been more aggressive. Muhammad said Steward wants to turn Dawson into another Tommy Hearns, and that doesn’t match Dawson’s skill set.
But the two trainers seem to agree on one thing, if indeed Dawson doesn’t want to leave Connecticut: He should leave get away from his home state.
“That’s crazy,” Muhammad said of the notion of Dawson staying home. “That’s where he lives at. He can’t concentrate over there. There’s too many people pulling at him. He needs to get away. When he came out here to Vegas, everything went fine.”
Steward has wondered aloud in recent interviews about whether Dawson is as focused as he needs to be for the Hopkins fight.
Steward trained Dawson in his May win over Adrian Diaconu, to mixed reviews, although Steward argued it would take time for the two to gel.
Criscio is not his manager Chad fired him 2 fights ago. Mike said on paper he is still the manager. its sad that this went down. Mike treats all his fighters including me with great resecpt you never want for nothing when mike is around. Sad to say before Chads last fight Mike tested positive for cancer. It crushed me when Mike called me and told me. He is like a father to all his guys and i know Chad cant say otherwise. Mike told me he talked to Chad before the last fight. told him he had Cancer. I was told he never heard from Chad after the fight . Chad told him he would call. Thats sad, i know if Mike was to die i would be lost. I love the guy. I cant understand why Chad wont sit down and talk to the guy who took him from rags to riches... Hey Chad do the right thing.. He might not be hear much longer...... The HITMAN
Wow, now this was unexpected. I wonder what is going on in Dawson's head. Proper chemistry between a fighter and his trainer is paramount, but he might indeed calling for an L here.
it's poor tactics to show any questionable behaviour like this when heading into a fight w/ Hopkins. he can be a brutal jerk about stuff like this.
things just got interesting.
@pong Interesting. You got a link, pong?
@nazarioz Lem Satterfield reported that Chad has a new baby boy. But he had to know when he took the fight that that was coming; why not ask for the fight to be a month earlier or later?
@tstarks no its a magazine from the uk .scully also writes for it
Also, Steward said he was waiting for him at the gym and Chad never showed up. Does this mean never as in not even start training camp? This fight is about a month away. One would expect a full 8 weeks camp for it. So either he started camp a month ago and now in the middle of it, decided to change trainers, or he hasn't even started, with about a month left! The former is better if he switches to a good trainer, but honestly, neither it looks good to me. Chad is a good fighter and he has the tools to beat Hopkins, but without a proper training camp, how will his condition be?@tstarks
@tstarks yeah, he should still be the favourite until more details come to light. for now it just makes things interesting.
@nazarioz Very, very good thought.