Chad Dawson survived a rough welcome back to pro boxing after over two years away from the ring, defeating Quinton Rankin by unanimous decision Saturday night at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Conn.
The scores were wide – 80-68 on one card, and 78-72 on the other two – for a n eight-round fight that was much more competitive than would have been expected.
Dawson (35-5, 19 knockouts), a two-time light heavyweight titleholder, was the better of the two technically, but the wild Rankin (15-6-2, 12 KOs) unleashed counter punches from all angles whenever he looked to be finished.
One of those shots dropped Dawson midway through round 5, when a counter left uppercut from the southpaw put Dawson down for a count. Rankin, who had been dirty throughout much of the night, unleashed an extra punch to the back of Dawson’s head while he was down, causing a brief delay following a warning from referee Mark Ortega. The action resumed and Rankin tried to finish Dawson, only to lose a point for holding and hitting shortly after.
Chad Dawson getting knocked down by Quinton Rankin in round 5 of his comeback fight (from CES Boxing Fightnight Live) pic.twitter.com/D7hl82hJ7a
— Ryan Songalia (@ryansongalia) June 30, 2019
Rankin would lose another point in the seventh for an elbow, which was more than enough cushion for Dawson to earn the victory. Dawson landed effectively to the body with right hooks and straight left hands but was unable to put down the unheralded fighter from Charlotte, N.C.
Dawson finished the fight with a left eye swollen shut from a seventh round right hook, while Rankin sustained a cut in the eighth.
The fight was the first for Dawson, now 36, since his tenth round technical knockout loss to Andrzej Fonfara in March of 2017.
Dawson weighed 178 pounds while Rankin was a pound heavier.
The fight was promoted by CES Boxing and broadcast over the internet via Fightnight Live on Facebook.
In the co-main event, Tramaine Williams (17-0, 6 KOs), who hails from Dawson’s hometown of New Haven, Conn., won a unanimous decision over Filipino journeyman Neil John Tabanao (17-6, 11 KOs) in a ten round junior featherweight bout. The scores were 99-91 on two cards and 98-9 on the third.
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