Former light heavyweight titleholders Chad Dawson and Adrian Diaconu have agreed to terms and will meet on May 21, Dawson promoter Gary Shaw told ESPN.com on Wednesday.
The scheduled 12-round bout will air on HBO as the opening bout on the card headlined by the rematch between light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal and former champ Bernard Hopkins.
Shaw said that he and Diaconu's co-promoter Yvon Michel had struck a deal and that he was awaiting the signed contract.
"This is no walkover fight for Chad," Shaw said. "Diaconu is a tough fighter, a good fighter. But Chad is with a new trainer now in Emanuel Steward and I think that will make a big difference in Chad's fight game and his strategy. I think you'll see a whole new Chad, a guy that can finish off his opponent."
Dawson lost an 11th-round technical decision to Pascal, of Laval, Quebec, in an August title match, but had a rematch clause. However, under the terms of the rematch clause, Pascal (26-1-1, 16 KOs) was allowed to take an interim bout. In that interim bout, he fought to a controversial draw against Hopkins (51-5-2, 32 KOs) on Dec. 18.
Between the WBC ordering an immediate rematch and HBO's preference for Pascal-Hopkins II instead of Pascal-Dawson II, Dawson (29-1, 17 KOs) stepped aside. Dawson was given a contractual assurance that if he beats Diaconu, he will get a mandatory shot at the main event winner in his next fight. Shaw said HBO has also agreed to buy that fight.
If Diaconu (27-2, 15 KOs), a native of Romania living in Montreal, defeats Dawson, of New Haven, Conn., however, the main event winner is not obligated to fight him.
The site of the May 21 card still has not been determined. Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, Hopkins' promoter, who can make the ultimate decision because he won a purse bid to gain promotional control of the fight, is working on the site with Michel, Pascal's promoter.
The card is expected to take place in either Quebec City, site of Pascal-Hopkins I, or Montreal, site of Pascal-Dawson. Hopkins and Schaefer have also mentioned Los Angeles as a possibility.
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.