by Paul Strauss: Who really knows what matters most? Has Chad Dawson made a mistake is conceding too much in weight and location? Will Chad’s height and reach advantage be the difference for him against the master of ring generalship? Andre hasn’t yet lost, and has that intangible “mental toughness” that most fighters only wish they had. Can Chad muster it up for maybe the biggest fight of his career? There is a precedent for it……..at least one fighter comes to mind in Buster Douglas with his win over the then thought to be invincible Mike Tyson. It can be done.
Andre Ward has demonstrated the ability to neutralize the assets of his opponents. In other words, he is a master at preventing them from doing what they want to do. Carl Froch explained it best when he said Ward either kept him too close or too far away for him to be effective. Jean Pascal was doing a pretty good job of that with Dawson until the latter part of the fight when Dawson finally got angry and started coming on, but blood in the eye(s) cut his surge short. One good thing for Chad concerning that fight is he truly believes he was on his way to stopping Pascal. True or not, it’s good that he believes it, and believes that he is really an undefeated fighter, the same as Ward.
One thing that keeps creeping into the picture, though, is a stoppage from accidental head butts. Chad keeps reiterating that he is the taller, longer fighter, and that he will use that advantage. However, he hasn’t always demonstrated that ability in past fights. What he has done all too often is bend down and in, trying to avoid an opponent’s rush. Count of Ward not letting Chad get his head lower than his own. Speed will be the difference there.
If Chad’s face starts eating the top of Ward’s head, it could be disastrous for him, and results could be bloody. To make matters worse, Ward is likely to win early rounds, so if the accidental head butt(s) results in an early stoppage, look for the nod to go Ward.
To prevent that from happening, Dawson has to keep the fight at his distance, and as he says, make Ward come to him. That will be a tough task to say the least. There’s a good chance Ward will close the distance in a flash, and jump all over him, first getting in his face, and then stepping around him, constantly turning him. Pascal would jump in with a lead right going to the body, and then repeat the shot to the head, with his right foot moving forward enough for him to make a transition with a step to his left and pivot, which would put him on Chad’s right side, all of which prevented Dawson from countering with his own left. When Dawson started to catch up to Pascal, it was due to Pascal tiring out and becoming less mobile and therefore more vulnerable to Chad’s shots.
The bottom line is there’s a good chance this one will be stopped on cuts, due to accidental head butts, with a technical decision going to Ward. Once again Chad might be deprived of coming on strong at the end of a fight. That would be unfortunate for Chad as well as for fans in general.
If that happens, it will leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, and won’t provide answers fans hoped would be forthcoming. Such is boxing and the difficulties the sport presents with style matchups (Ward’s style is tough for anyone). Here’s hoping cuts aren’t a factor, and instead we see the better man win.