By John J. Raspanti, DoghouseBoxing.com. On September 8 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland , Ca. WBC and WBA super middleweight champion Andre “S.O.G” Ward and WBC light heavyweight champion “Bad” Chad Dawson will settle their differences.
28, hasn’t been in the ring since he easily defeated Carl Froch last
December. As the bell rang for the Froch fight, Ward (25-0, 13 KOs ) was
keeping a secret. His left hand was hurting, courtesy of it bouncing
off the noggin of one of his sparring partners.
the early rounds with movement and sharp punching. Froch was a step
slow. His punches caught only air. Ward was landing his left at will.
Froch was staggered in round five. In round seven, Ward fractured a bone
in his left hand. The pain was unbearable, but he soldiered on,
eventually winning a unanimous decision.
Dawson , 30, is a
soft-spoken southpaw from Haven, Connecticut . He first won a title in
2005, when he stopped Ian Gardner. Back then, Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs ) was
fighting in the super middleweight division. He defeated Tomaz Adamek
in 2007 to capture the WBC light heavyweight crown. Dawson defended his
crown six times until he ran into a more focused Jean Pascal in
Montreal, Canada. His loss shocked Dawson , as well as most of the
Ward has a history of being an underdog. When he
fought heavy-handed Edison Miranda, many thought his chin wouldn’t
hold-up. Ward easily out boxed the overmatched Miranda. Super
middleweight champion Mikell Kessler ventured to Oakland in 2009. His
confidence was soaring. Kessler was the favorite to capture all the
Super Six glory. There was no conceivable way he could lose to a guy
with barely twenty fights. At least that’s what he thought.
Kessler did lose. He never had a chance. Ward was sharper, slicker, and smarter.
tangled with living legend Bernard Hopkins twice. The first time was at
the Staples Center in Los Angeles . Dawson won the first round on
points and the second on a throw down. Hopkins , in agony, claimed he
couldn’t continue. The doctor agreed.
The rematch took place last
April at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City . Dawson outworked Hopkins
throughout the 12-round bout. Two judges had him winning nine of the
twelve rounds. The third scored the fight a draw. Dawson had regained
the light heavyweight title for the third time. In the ring after the
bout, Dawson called out Ward.
The challenge surprised many. The
last time Dawson weighed 168-pounds was in 2006. The venue is a rocks
throw from where Ward trains in Oakland.
Here’s what I foresee happening on September 8.
reach advantage will be an interesting challenge for Ward. Five inches
is not something to sneeze at. Dawson will likely use his jab to keep
Ward at bay. Ward will look to slip the jab and counter with his right.
Dawson ’s trainer John Scully has said that the key to beating Ward is
not letting him get comfortable.
Ward’s intelligence and
adaptability will kick in by round three. His right hand will find
Dawson ’s chin. His ring generalship will be on display. As the fight
progresses, Ward will continue to win the majority of rounds. Dawson,
whose been accused of losing focus during fights, will hang tough and
catch Ward occasionally.
The action will pick-up as the fight
enters the championship rounds. Ward’s strength and determination drive
him to succeed. For two months, many have speculated that cutting weight
will hurt Dawson during the fight. The last three rounds could
determine if this speculation turns into a reality. If the opportunity
presents itself, Ward might go for the stoppage. If not a win by
unanimous decision looks like a safe bet.
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