Aug 03

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Apr 02

Chad Dawson
The true definition of a Champion Breed
Interview by: Shireal Renee
When all the odds seemed to be against him, he fought his way out.  When people told him he wouldn’t make it he fought his way through. Now the world is screaming his name and he fights even harder because now he can’t lose.
Chad Dawson has overcome all the obstacles that have been placed against him.  Growing up in poverty he was able to use the love of his family to keep him from falling victim to the streets.  Even now as a champion that same love keeps him focused and unshaken because he knows that those are the people that were in his corner before the lights in the ring shined bright on him.  Through struggling with bad choices to making a decision to be a good man for his family Chad found a way to come out on top defining the odds and writing his own story.  Now after coming back home and taking the championship once again he has showed all who doubted him, that with hard work, perseverance and dedication anyone can make it.   He is the true definition of a Champion Breed.
How is the family, your wife and kids?
Everything is good, I am out here in Los Vegas right now they are back in Connecticut, actually my wife was out here a couple of weeks ago so I got to spend a little bit of time with her before the big fight.
I know you are still a bit of a newly wed, are you two still in the honeymoon phase?
I mean we are both young so we are having fun, its good to be married.  We have three beautiful boys, we are both happy and I couldn’t ask for more than that.
What was life like growing up in New Haven?
Growing up in New Haven it was typical like any other kid.  I’m not going to act like it was tougher than it was; I was just like any other kid. I grew up in the Hill and the Ville, me and my family moved around a lot. It was pretty tough for us going from different school to different school.  We grew up in poverty, we didn’t have it that great, but we grew up with our mother and father.  That was the best part about it because we always had each other; we didn’t have to go to the streets looking for other stuff.  We had each other; we had our family, which made everything good.
That is always important to have both of your parents in your life.
So, who pushed you to follow your aspirations of becoming a boxer?
I would definitely say my father pushed me to become a boxer, he always tells me I’ve been boxing since I was born.  Since I was 2 years old and able to put on a pair of gloves, I had a pair of them on; he definitely instilled boxing in me.  Every since I was about 8 he brought me to the boxing gym and started my training from then and every since I have been successful.
What was one of your first fights?
I had my first amateur fight when I was 10 years old.  Actually my first amateur fight was at the Sports Haven on Longwhaf in new haven,ct.
Do you remember who you fought?
Oh yea, I fought this kid Brian Mase, I actually ended up fighting him for my first four fights. I won 3 out of 4 of those fights.
So you were a champ from the beginning.
I don’t know about a champ because it took a lot of hard work to get to where I am.  As an amateur I ended my career with 86 fights and out of the 86 I had 13 losses.  So it was a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication.  At the time boxing was everything to me, so I worked hard at it.  There were a couple times when I stayed away from it because I had gotten tiered of it.  When I was about 15 or 16 I walked away from boxing to try football and basketball, but at the end of the day I always knew boxing was going to be my way out so I ended up back in the gym and from then on I pushed it real hard.  Now I am successful, I am a world champion and everything worked out.
How much has your life changed since you became a boxer?
It changed for the better because 2 to 3 years ago I was struggling day to day just like everybody else.  Everybody thought because I was on TV and winning fights that I had money, but the money didn’t really start coming until about 2 years ago when I fought my first world title.  At 21 years old people thought I had money but I really didn’t.  I was still struggling trying to make it as a fighter.  Then, Showtime gave me a shot; I was on there a couple of times and that put a little money in my pocket.  Now, I am with HBO and everything is gravy.  My life has changed for the better. When I met my wife I had nothing, so she took care of me.  Now I have the opportunity to take care of her.  We have 3 kids together and everything is great.
What lessons on life has the road to the championship taught you?
I’ve learned a lot of lessons.  There were a couple of times when I got in trouble for some things that I should not have been doing.  Once I failed a drug test – that should never have happened.  I was in the streets running around while at the same time I had a professional career to maintain; the two together wasn’t going to work.  I can say me failing that drug test opened my eyes.  It showed me there are other things more important then just hanging out in the streets and being with friends.  I feel like at the end of the day, after boxing, I can do what I want, but right now I have to focus on boxing because that is what got me to where I am right now.
With all the success, what keeps you grounded?
My family and my kids, and just knowing that there are other things out there.  I am 27 years old; I’m a two-time world champion already.  I have been in the ring with Antonio Tarver, I’ve fought Glen Johnson, and I have another fight with Glen coming up.  Just knowing that there are bigger things out there then me being 28 and having a little bit of money keeps me grounded.  I just want to continue to get better.  I’m not going to just stop at being good.  I don’t want to be just known as a good fighter, I want to be known as a great fighter, so that keeps me going.
How have you used your success in boxing to inspire, uplift and help others in your community?
I like talking to younger guys, when I go down to Ring One and I see the younger kids in there they are all like, “wow, that’s Chad Dawson”.  I don’t feel like, ‘wow’ cause I came from the same place that they came from, the same way they are in the gym training hard and working to get to where I am; I’ve been there, done that. For me to go back to the gym and talk to them and give them the opportunity to see me as a regular person, that makes me feel good.  The fact that they are able to see me and touch me it is amazing, that is enough for me.  I always tell them, ‘if you want to be someone and go somewhere then you have to work hard’.  It takes a lot of hard work.  It takes more than going to the gym once or twice a week.  I know because there were times when I did that.  I was lucky because I have so much talent that I would still show up to fights and win.  But at the end of the day, I would go into a tournament and I would come in second or third place, but if I would have put the effort and time in at the gym, I would have came in first place.  Now I can go back and tell them what I have been through and hopefully that inspires them.
You have a record label, “Champion Breed”, how did you decide to align yourself with the music industry?
I have loved music since I was a little kid; it is something that I always wanted to get into.  The label is still up-in-coming.  It is not really established right now, but as long as I keep bringing money in from boxing then I can put it into the label so the music business can be my fall back.
How do you balance the time between training for your fights and owning a record label?
It is hard but I have people like Pepe and my wife who help me and try to keep me level headed.  It is tough though because when I come home I don’t really want to be bothered with a lot of business.  I just want to relax, be with my family and have a little fun.  But if I want to be a business man I have to get use to stuff like that.
How is Pepe involved in “Champion Breed”?  Is he a part of that business?
I’ve known him for a long time but we have just recently started becoming closer.  By bringing him in on the label he is helping me out a lot by scouting for talent.  He brings talent to me while at the same time he is teaching me the business because I didn’t know really know a lot about it.  My whole life all I did was box, I don’t even have a high school diploma so the only thing I know, is boxing.  Pepe is showing me the business part of the music industry as far as owning businesses and becoming a business man, he has been helping me with that.  That is why we work so well together because he is teaching me something as well as helping me out.
It is always good to have someone like that around you.  So, what artist do you have signed to your label right now?
Right now I have this kid, C-Dubb, Charms and Blazze.
Are you looking to sign any other artist?
Yes, I am talking to a lot of people, a lot of guys give me their CD’s and I listen to them.  But at the end of the day, I have to handle my business first which is, boxing.  If I don’t have boxing and I am not able to make money doing that, there will be no, “Champion Breed”, there will be no record label.  Boxing comes first for me, the music thing comes second. When the time comes and I am ready to hang up the boxing gloves then I can go into the music thing full time. Right now boxing is how I feed my family and how I survive so that comes first and the music thing is secondary.
With that said, how does an artist get your attention? What do you have to see in a person for you to invest your time and money into them?
Well, if I see something in them and I feel like they have the talent then I will invest in them. Right now it has nothing to do with me making money; I just like to help people.  Like, Blazze, and C-Dubb, I help them out a lot.  I send them in the studio and I pay for their studio time.  I like to make people happy; I feel if what I do is making them happy with themselves then they can make good music.
How did it feel coming back to Connecticut to fight?
It felt great.  I finally got to come back to my home and showcase my talent.  A lot of people have been asking me when I am coming back to Connecticut, so they all got what they wanted.
What was your training schedule like?
I was training 6 days a week.  I ran 5 miles a day.  I trained 3 times a day; I did my gym work, right after that I went to the fitness gym and then did strength and conditioning work.  It was tough but like I said before, that is how I make my money and how I feed my family so at the end of the day when I am banged up I know what I am doing it for. I think about my kids and my wife.
So were you are pretty confident going into the Glen Johnson fight.
Yes, I was very confident because I was on my “A” game.  I had been in the gym; I’d trained for over 8 weeks so I was not worried about anything.  I believe that when I am in great shape and on my “A” game that nobody can touch me.
Do you have any rituals or spiritual tactics that you practice before you go into a fight?
Not really, we always say a prayer before I go into the ring. About 10 minutes before I fight, we all get together; quiet the dressing room down and say a little prayer. Other than that I like to have my kids around.  My son is always in the ring with me, just to have my wife and kids there believing in me, is good.  Plus my father is in my corner, my mother is there; and since this fight is in Connecticut my whole family is going to be there, so I have a lot of love and support that makes me feel like nothing can go wrong.
As a woman, I know I would be terrified every time my man went into the ring, how does your wife feel about you fighting?
My wife is very supportive; she always tells me that she prays before I go into a fight.  I know it can be tough because I have 3 other brothers that use to box, and I know how it was for me to watch them fight, so I can imagine how it must feel for my wife to sit there while her husband gets hit so for that I commend her. If you watch her on TV, she is calm.  I always ask her, ‘why are you so calm’.  She says, “Because she has faith in me”.
What words do you have to give to inspire other people trying to come up and accomplish what you’ve accomplished?
I would tell them don’t give up on your dreams. A lot of people told me that I would never make it.  I remember being in high school and teachers and principles telling me that I wasn’t going to amount to nothing because I was hard headed.  They said, “I wasn’t going to make it”.  Believe it or not, I’ve had teachers call me a “dumb jock”. So for me to be where It am right now, even though I don’t have a high school diploma, I feel like I’ve made it, I’ve fulfilled my dreams.  I always told people I was going to be a world champion and now I am.  I do hope to one day go back to school and get that diploma but at the end of the day I’ve made it to where I wanted to be at, with or without it.

Mar 31


PHOTOS LINK Hooodies up new haven ,ct for TRAYON MARTIN