By Emilio Camacho, Esq: On Saturday September 8th, two of the top fighters in the sport will meet in the ring. This will be a great day for boxing fans. Both, Andre Ward and Chad Dawson, are in their prime, highly skilled, and tend to bring their best with them to the ring. What is interesting to me, and the main argument of this article, is that Pacquiao and Mayweather can learn something from Dawson and Ward. Let me elaborate on this point.
First, after Dawson fought Hopkins and he was asked what was next in his career, he clearly and unambiguously stated that he wanted Ward for his next fight and was willing to compromise to make the fight happen (regarding weight). He did not say, “…whatever my promoter wants…,” “…I need some rest and will think about it after a deserved vacation…,” “…I need to talk to my team…,” etc. Essentially, Dawson knew the type of match up that the public expects to see, and he delivered just that.
In comparison, Manny Pacquiao has often been asked what he wants next in his career and, most of the time, he defers to his promoter, Bob Arum. Many would argue that this is exactly the problem; the fact that Manny will not stand up for himself and tell Arum to make the best fight available—Pacquiao v. Mayweather. It would seem to some that this is Manny’s way to avoid the fight because the blame is shifted away from him and onto other people around him, such as Bob Arum. This is tragic when we are facing a fight of such a magnitude. In short, Manny could learn something from Chad Dawson and stand up for himself if he really wants the fight. His legacy will be deficient without Mayweather.
Second, after Ward heard that Dawson was looking for him, he did not go into hiding or accuse Dawson of cheating to set up a series of roadblocks to protect his undefeated record, which, I assume, Ward cherishes as much as Mayweather does his own. In addition, Ward did not wait until Dawson took several other fights and slowed down to the point where he seems beatable. Instead, we began hearing from Ward after the fight with Dawson was almost finalized. Ward acknowledged that Dawson was bigger, longer, and probably stronger. However, Ward also stated that he believes in his skills and his ability to find a way to beat Dawson, a difficult opponent in his prime.
In comparison, when the public started asking Mayweather whether he was going to fight Pacquiao, accusations based on assumptions, speculation, and conspiracy theories about PEDs started to surface. What is noteworthy is that we never heard anything about this before the public started to demand Pacquiao v. Mayweather. After this demand for the fight initiated, and the pressure was high on Mayweather, another series of obstacles surfaced. These have included enhanced drug testing demands, disputes about who deserves more money with Mayweather wanting a bigger piece of the pie, SAT scores, etc. (ok, I made the last one up but you get the point). All of these are what I call unnecessary and unfortunate roadblocks. In short, Mayweather could learn something from Ward and do something for his legacy rather than his unreasonable demands to fill his pocket or protection of his undefeated record.
In conclusion, we need more Wards and Dawsons and less Pacquiaos and Mayweathers when it comes to making fights happen.
Next Sunday I will do something I do not often do: I will write a prediction on Ward v. Dawson, a very tricky proposition. Stay tuned.