By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing. When light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson enters the squared circle in Oakland, Ca. on September 8 to face undefeated super middleweight champion Andre Ward, he will do so as a serious underdog.
Ward (25-0, 13 KOs) hasn’t lost a fight in 16 years. In 2009, WBA super
middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler ventured to Oakland to face Ward.
Kessler had won 42 of his 43 bouts. He was heavily favored to defeat
Ward. Many of Kessler’s countrymen made the trip from Copenhagen to
watch the expected destruction of the American.
By the middle of round two, it was obvious who the better fighter was.
Ward would go on to win by technical decision after 10 rounds. Since the
Kessler fight, Ward has defeated Alan Green, Sakio Bika, Arthur
Abraham, and Carl Froch.
Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs) has built up a pretty good resume of his own. He
captured the light heavyweight championship for the second time last
year by winning a unanimous decision over cagey legend Bernard Hopkins.
His lone loss was to Jean Pascal in 2010. He’s impressed by Ward, but
feels he’s the one fighter who can defeat him.
His trainer, “Iceman” John Scully agrees wholeheartedly with his charge.
Most of Scully’s nights are spend studying Ward’s unique style.
Have Dawson and Scully figured out how to defeat the multi-talented Ward?
Below, Scully explains what it will take to win on September 8.
John Raspanti: Explain Andre Ward's strengths.
ICEMAN John Scully: I believe Andre to be a physically and
mentally strong guy who obviously has grown very accustomed to winning.
He seems to have a lot of belief not just in his talent, but in his
conditioning as well. I've seen him get visibly tired, I've seen him
show fatigue in the ring, but so far he always has found a way to work
through it. One key now is to get him tired in a manner that the other
guys didn't or weren't able to
JR: Is there a way you can use his strengths against him?
ICE: Of course, definitely there is. There are certain things
he's been able to successfully do thus far in his career that he's
gotten accustomed to doing without much resistance. I think in certain
areas he's imposed himself on his opposition and you have to respect
that, but at the time I think everyone agrees that Chad presents a
different set of obstacles that the other good fighters Ward has faced
didn't. Without going into details, of course, I think that we see
certain things that Ward won't be able to do with Chad and also things
that he did against other opponents that will get dealt with better in
this fight. I'd say one of Ward's recent opponents in particular was
really on track to showing some of his weaknesses but he didn’t carry it
far enough to actually win the fight. He wasn't completely successful
but he did show some shortcuts through the maze so to speak.
JR: Have you seen some flaws on film you can exploit?
ICE: I watch a lot of film, sure. For guys
like Hopkins and now Ward you have to do that because there is so much
more to sift through than with most other guys. There is so much going
on that isn't always visible to the untrained eye. Sometimes even the
trained eyes miss it at first so you have to keep going over and over
it. I used to hate watching film, especially when I was boxing. Once I
saw the fight once it was hard to watch it again and really sit down and
focus on all the little things but it's obviously my job now and as
I've done it more and more I appreciate the art of it all. There's a lot
to see when studying films like this and it's really interesting to try
and break the guys down. So, yes, I've seen some flaws I think can be
exploited and I do believe Chad is the guy with the mind and the body to
carry it out.
JR: Do you think Dawson can use his size to control Ward?
ICE: I wouldn’t say it's just his significant size advantage
but also it is his knowledge of where he is in the ring at all times,
his ability to gain leverage on his opponents. For me it isn’t
necessarily the size and strength of guys, especially at this level.
It's the ability to know where you are in the ring and where you need to
be in the different situations in relation to your opponent that arise
over the course of a fight that give you the biggest edges.
JR: How confident are you that Dawson will defeat Ward on September 8.
ICE: I feel as good as I have ever felt before a fight and part
of that is attributed to Chad's confidence in himself. It's contagious.
From what I can see, he's clearly made up his mind that he's going to
win and that he is going to showcase his superior talents and his drive
and dedication. I think both Hopkins fights showed a guy who was intent
on proving himself and this fight will definitely be a continuation of
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