By John J. Raspanti - As a former boxer, John "Iceman" Scully experienced the ups and downs of a professional career. Now, as the trainer of light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, Scully and his charge, fresh off a victory over Bernard Hopkins, face their biggest challenge on September 8 when Dawson faces undefeated super middleweight champion Andre Ward in Oakland, California. Dawson surprised many by agreeing to drop down a weight class to 168 pounds. The venue in Oakland is a very comfortable place for the undefeated Ward.
Can Scully and Dawson figure out a way to defeat the talented champion?
Recently I spoke with "The Iceman" to get his take on the Taylor fight, judging, and Andre Ward.
John Raspanti: Explain from a trainers perspective how Chad Dawson was able to defeat the legendary Bernard Hopkins.
John "ICEMAN" Scully: For
me it was a thing where the tapes were watched and the game plan was
put in place. I didn't allow myself to think of Bernard as a legend or a
great fighter or anything like that. It has to be a thing where you
watch everything thing the particular guy does and figure out the best
way to counter it, period. I think some of the guys who boxed him in
recent fights were caught up in who this man was and what he did as
opposed to just focusing on what they needed to do to beat him. Chad
just had to know that he has the type of style and ability that allows
him more often than not to be the one the opponent has to deal with
rather than him having to deal with them. Chad just went out there and
fought his fight and was successful with it.
JR: As a trainer was the Dawson victory the biggest of your career. Explain
your feelings after the bout was over. Was the excitement similar to
when you boxed?
feeling was surprisingly calm for me because I really expected Chad to
win, I always expect him to win. It was kind of like a thing where deep
inside I was really excited and hyped up but I'm not really the type to
show a lot of outward emotions like that so I probably appeared pretty
calm. As a trainer I really kind of feel happy for the boxer more than
for myself because the fact of the matter is that as trainers we do have
a lot of input into the fight and the victory but at the same time
nothing can happen unless the boxer does it so without him there is
nothing. So he deserves the bulk of the credit and praise. I kind of
stood back and felt happy for him much more than for myself. Thefeelings
of success and accomplishment you get as a trainer are definitely great
but, really, the feeling you get as the actual boxer is something
otherworldly. There's nothing like being the winning fighter.
JR: It looks like Chad is going to fight Andre Ward. Would you have rather fought Ward at 175 pounds instead of 168?
a boxer and as a boxing person, I would have thought the fight would be
at 175. Very rarely does a guy go down in weight to challenge for a new
title, they always move up to conquer new worlds. But it is what it is
and Chad and his nutritionist and strength coach feel it is not a big
JR: Ward has been compared to Bernard Hopkins by some writers. Do you agree that in some ways he is a younger, and faster Bernard?
can see how people would say that, I agree to a certain extent, but
Hopkins was obviously in possession of a lot more of the subtle type
skills that are gained only with experience. He had those real veteran
things going on that he picked up over the course of having shared the
ring with so many tough fighters over the years. Andre Ward has a very
similar thing going on, though, yes, I can see why people would say
that. Like Bernard, he's not shy about doing whatever he has to do to
try and win the fights and so far he's been successful with it.
JR: Dawson is taller then Ward and has a longer reach. How does he exploit these advantages?
always, in my opinion, Chad's best plan of attack is to just be himself
and use all that comes with his whole package, including the aspects of
his game that are born from the fact that he is in fact so tall and has
such a long reach. Any boxer with those type advantages is going to do
the same exact thing, that being using them to control the distance
between the two men. Chad has always been very good at that and he will
continue to be good at it, I'm sure.
JR: Give me your opinion of Andre Ward's skills as a fighter.
guy is a very good fighter all around. He does what it takes to beat
the people he is in with. He's game and skilled and I think he's a tough
kid, too. Chad is all of those things, too, though, and that's what
makes this such an intriguing event.
JR: Nobody has been able to come close to defeating Ward. Do you see parts of Wards game you can exploit?
have thus far only watched his strong points and his success. Now that
we are most likely going to be going against him we will watch closely
and find the weaknesses or at least his weaker points and
vulnerabilities. They are there, I know this.
JR: The venue of the fight will be
Oakland,California. With all bad decisions in boxing lately, do you feel
Chad has to knock out Ward to win?
ICE: I think many in the boxing world will
believe that and I personally hate to have to even consider that as a
real possibility but when you watch some of these recent decisions in
our game it certainly make you wonder. I think now even more that any
other time in our history, our judges need to really be on their P's and
Q's when it comes to how well they pay attention and how fair they are
when rendering decisions. Especially in a fight like this that is going
to have the majority of our fans and participants watching it. We don't
want the favorite to win, we want the winner to win, and if that doesn't
happen the way it should every time out it is going to drive more
stakes into the heart of our game. There are wide ranging ramifications
when a big fight - or any fight - isn't judged in a completely unbiased
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