Chad Dawson showed masterful defense and crisp punching as he scored a 12-round unanimous decision over Adrian Diaconu in a light heavyweight elimination bout Saturday at the Bell Centre.
The bout was the co-feature to Jean Pascal's defense of his WBC light heavyweight title against Bernard Hopkins, a rematch of their Dec. 18 draw in Quebec City.
Dawson (30-1) earned a shot at the Pascal-Hopkins winner.
In his first fight under new trainer Emanuel Steward, it was a much sharper Dawson than the one who fought passively for most of an 11-round loss to Pascal a year ago.
The southpaw used his considerable reach advantage over the stocky Diaconu (27-3), forcing him to lunge forward, missing repeatedly with his punches.
Judge Claude Paquette scored it 117-111. Benoit Roussel had it 118-110 and Jack Woodburn 116-112.