LAS VEGAS -- FanHouse had an opportunity to catch up with WBC interim light heavyweight (175 pounds) champion Chad Dawson (above left), who will face 27-year-old WBC king Jean Pascal (above right) of Canada in Saturday night's HBO-televised main event before Pascal's local fans at Bell Centre, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
The 28-year-old Dawson (29-0, 17 knockouts) is looking to turn in a signature effort against Pascal (25-1, 16 KOs), one he hopes will lead to bigger fights. Perhaps those will come against IBF super middleweight (168 pounds) king Lucian Bute (26-0, 21 KOs), WBA super middleweight titlist Andre Ward (21-0, 13 KOs), IBF light heavyweight champ Tavoris Cloud (21-0, 18 KOs) or even aging ex-world champion Bernard Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 KOs).
Dawson, who is nicknamed, "Bad," discussed Pascal as well as his future in this Q&A.
FanHouse: Being that you got off of the canvas in what turned out to be a dominant effort against Tomasz Adamek, and that you're the only man to beat someone who is now campaigning as a heavyweight, do you believe that you can make a similar statement against Jean Pascal?
Chad Dawson: My whole statement is that this is my coming-out party. This is the first time that I'm fighting somebody other than Antonio Tarver or Glen Johnson in about the last two years. After I beat those guys, everybody said, 'Oh, but they were 39, 40 years old.' But now, I've got another 27-year-old, or a 28-year-old in front of me.
I can show everybody that I am really the future of the light heavyweight division, and that I am the best light heavyweight in the entire world.
FH: You've said that Jean Pascal will bring out the best in you, can you define how that will manifest itself in your performance?
CD: I'm not looking for the performance that I had against Glen Johnson, even though I dominated that last fight between us. I'm not looking for an Antonio Tarver performance. I'm looking for an entirely new performance. I want to show something that neither the fans or anybody else has ever seen from me. I'm looking to go out there and use my strengths.
FH: So you feel as if Jean Pascal is the sort of fighter against whom you can demonstrate your overall skills to the best of your ability?
CD: I've seen Pascal and watched a few clips on him. I don't see anything. He's not going to be able to get past my jab. We've been working on that really hard in this camp. It's going to be the key to victory. Jean Pascal is not going to be able to get past my jab. Mark my words on that.
That's it exactly. That's what I mean. Jean Pascal is going to allow me to be me. He definitely thinks that he's on the same level as I am, but I'm going to show everybody that he's not on the same level as me. He's nowhere near on the same level.
FH: Can you talk about the atmosphere that you expect to be greeted by at the Bell Centre, where Jean Pascal is so popular?
CD: I've never fought in such a big arena as this. I've never fought in front of something like 20,000 people before. So it's going to be a new experience. But I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to taking some of his fans. I'm looking forward to going over there and showing what I can do. I'm looking forward to going over there and showing HBO.
I'm looking forward to showing everybody who is going to be watching HBO that I am one of the top three pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
FH: You're already listed among the top three in most estimations, aren't you?
CD: Yeah, but now, I've got to prove it. I'm going to prove it to everybody and show everybody that I'm worthy of being up there with the guys like Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.
FH: Will your strength and conditioning coach make a difference?
CD: Well, now, the last Antonio Tarver fight, and the last Glen Johnson fight, I didn't have my strength and conditioning trainer with me. I had shopped around and had used different people. And people have asked me, but I'll tell you that my last two performances were not my best performances.
I won the fight the fights, but it wasn't me. I didn't feel like it was me. Now that I've got my strength trainer back, I feel like I'm me again.
FH: How do you mean?
CD: Well, if you watched the first Antonio Tarver fight, I had my strength trainer with me and I was able to throw 14 to 15 punches in combination. But when he left, I didn't have that. I didn't feel that I could do that. But now, I feel better. I feel good. I feel like I'm back to being me.
FH: Do you feel like your second and last fight with Glen Johnson erased all doubt that you beat him the first time that you fought him?
CD: I definitely believe that, because that's what I wanted to do. The second Glen Johnson fight, I just wanted to show everybody that I can make this an easy fight. The first fight was a close fight. I didn't think that it was that close, but I did think that it was a competitive fight. We both went out and we gave it our all.
But the second fight, I just wanted to show everybody that I can make this an easy fight. I wanted to make it a totally different fight from the first fight. Everybody was looking for the second fight to be like the first fight, but as you saw, it was nothing like that.
FH: What does it say that you were able to change levels and dominate Glen Johnson like that and then Johnson comes back and knocks out a young guy like Yusef Mack?
CD: That made me feel good. That definitely made me feel good. I mean the only thing that you have to know about Glen Johnson is that he's a tough dog. He's going to keep coming and he's not going to slow down. He's got a tough fight coming up with [IBF champion] Tavoris Cloud.
I hope Tavoris Cloud's not looking past Glen Johnson [Cloud won a unanimous decision on Aug. 7]. I looked kind of past Glen Johnson in the first fight, thinking, 'Oh, he's been there, he's fought everybody, he's past his prime, and I'm the young guy.' But he came and he fought and fought like a dog and it was a good fight. It was one of the best fights of the year.
FH: What are you hoping is next for you after this fight?
CD: Of course, I could still make 168 pounds. The Super Six Tournament, those guys are looking good. Andre Ward is another young guy. There are a lot of options. People keep asking me about Bernard Hopkins. But I'm not chasing Bernard anymore. I think that he's on his last legs.
People will say that you can't say that about a legend. Bernard is a legend, but until he gets into the ring with me, you can't say that he's the best in the light heavyweight division. I'm hoping that Joe Calzaghe comes out of retirement, because he retired on a bad note, too. Because until you fight me, then you're not the best.
FH: What about a potential bout with IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute?
CD: I've thought about that also. Lucian Bute. Like I said, in order to prove that I'm the best, then I'll fight anywhere and fight anybody. I'd love to go back to Canada and fight Lucian Bute. If he's at ringside when I fight Jean Pascal, I'm going to give him a reason not to want to fight me. Trust me on that.