by Robert Jackson: The Andre Ward (25-0, 13 KO’s), Chad Dawson (31-1, 17 KO’s) fight coming up this Saturday night, has the boxing world energized and offers a main event and undercard suitable for a PPV card. This Saturday night fight will lead off a month of good fights that will extend into October, and onward to the end of 2012. This edition of ‘Just the facts’ will explore the ins-and-outs of 2 fighters characterized as the best facing the best, culminating with a prediction of the outcome.
Chad Dawson trainer John ‘Iceman’ Scully himself a former fighter is a Roy Jones contemporary and at 45 has been training fighters since his retirement in the early 2000’s. Having previously trained Dawson, Scully is very familiar with the Dawson mindset and fight style. Scully’s performance as a cornerman is where the Dawson improvement can be seen. Prior to Scully the only dominant victory for Dawson over a prime fighter was against Tomas Adamek with Floyd Mayweather Sr. in the Dawson corner. After a brief stop by Dawson at the Kronk Gym to train with Emanuel Steward, Scully came on board to train Dawson for both Bernard Hopkins fights – with Dawson winning the 2nd, and showed improved focus, energy and determination to defeat the aging warrior.
Virgil Hunter who mans the gym and corner for Andre Ward has been with Ward since age 9 and guided Ward to a 114-5 amateur record,
concluding in a Gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in the Lt Heavyweight division. Accomplishments by Ward with Hunter in his corner include his championship over the best Professional 168lbers in the world to seize the Showtime Super 6 Supermiddleweight crown. Hunter is also known for his no-nonsense approach to fighter preparation and leaves no stone unturned, leaving nothing to chance.
Advantage Trainers: Ward – just because of the 20 years they’ve been together.
Skills and Physical Attributes
At 6’2.5, Chad Dawson is a tall lanky light heavyweight in the Bob Foster mold but without the Foster tenacity. Dawson’s southpaw stance provides the awkwardness that all orthodox fighters have to deal with when facing southpaws, i.e. punches coming from odd angles. Dawson is also agile and quick making it hard for pedestrian fighters to keep up with his pace. Dawson’s punching power is average and his boxing fundamentals and skills are very good, placing him at the TOP of the 175lb food chain.
At 6’1”, Andre Ward is a very versatile fighter who fights well in the traditional stance while also having the ability to switch to the southpaw stance and fight effectively. Ward can fight on the outside well but where he does his best work is on the inside. Defensively Ward is the hardest to hit in the 168lb division and may be the best counterpuncher as well.
Advantage Skills and Physical Attributes: Even
Chad Dawson, calling out Andre Ward following his victory over Bernard Hopkins was good for boxing and fight fans. But I’m sure Dawson Promoter Gary Shaw wasn’t too happy with Dawson saying on a national telecast that he would drop down to 168lbs to make this fight happen, all but eliminating other options including a catchweight which was later requested from Team Ward by Team Dawson and refused by Ward. That being said, Ward is not at fault for Dawson maybe fighting at less than his optimal weight; it’s Dawson’s fault for running his mouth. To the contrary, not having fought at 168lbs for 6 years WILL affect Dawson, having to lose 7 extra pounds will have its detriments. Also accepting the fight in Ward’s backyard of Oakland Ca. makes it harder for Dawson to get a decision in a close fight. This fight could’ve been held in Vegas and attracted a good crowd. Team Dawson though confident seemed to be a little bit dismissive of Ward as a fighter minimizing Ward’s abilities. In his last fight Dawson NEVER landed anything big on the Old Master Bernard Hopkins even while winning the fight and he won’t land anything BIG on the younger – just as crafty Ward either. IMO Chad Dawson hasn’t been ‘BAD Chad’ since the Adamek fight.
For Ward’s part as usual he’s been very respectful and has let Team Dawson do all of the talking, saying he’ll do his talking with his fists in the ring on September 8, 2012. Ward also has an uncanny ability to adjust to his opponents in the ring using his ring intelligence. Expect to see Ward switch stances often during the fight to confuse Dawson who is a very linear fighter. The big thing here though will be the weight!
Advantage Imponderables: Ward
Dawson is the bigger, stronger man…at 175lbs, but having to lose the extra weight and fighting the TOP guy in the 168lb division will see Dawson start the fight with energy but lose that energy as the fight moves forwards. Ward WILL get inside and rough Dawson up because of his superior in-fighting ability. Dawson’s best chance is to keep the fight on the outside but he won’t be able to do it. Dawson has said he wants Ward on the inside but past Dawson fights say that is not true. In the end Ward’s craftiness, in-fighting and non-linear style will give him the edge and take him to a 12-round, Unanimous Decision victory over Chad Dawson.
Advantage: Ward 12-round UD.