When: Saturday, September 8th, HBO at 9:45 PM ET
Where: Oakland, California
For: WBA/WBC Super Middleweight Titles (168 lbs.)
Andre “Son of God” Ward: Defending Super Middleweight Champion
Height- 6’0” Reach- 71 inches
Record- (25-0, 13 KO) From San Francisco, CA
Last Fight- Won Against Carl Froch (12/17/2011)
Andre Ward is the cool, handsome, suave Super Middleweight Champion (168 lbs.) defending his titles against the bigger, outspoken, rugged Light Heavyweight Champion (175 lbs.), Chad Dawson. Ward’s ranked in the Top 10 pound-for-pound fighters by Sports Illustrated and The Ring magazine. He’s a former Olympic Gold Medalist from the 2004 Games in Athens. He hasn’t lost a fight since he was 12 years old and you’re damn right he goes to church every Sunday and says his prayers/drinks his milk/takes his vitamins. He’s almost too clean and likeable. He even shares the same nickname as Jesus. He’s definitely the guy people rush to during mass for Peace-Be-With-You handshakes.
Fighting Style: Ward’s personality translates perfectly to the ring. He remains calm under pressure, likes to work behind a left jab and find room to step to the side for the left hook to land. He fights from a distance rarely allowing the boxing match to turn into a street fight. If boxing is called the sweet science, then Ward is the neighborhood candy man.
“Bad” Chad Dawson: Ring Magazine/WBC Light Heavyweight Champion
Height- 6’2” Reach- 76 ½ inches
Record- (31-1-2, 17 KO) From Hartsville, SC
Last Fight- Won Against Bernard Hopkins (04/28/2012)
Chad Dawson is the dark horse and the underdog coming into this fight (Ward is favored to win 4 to 1). After his outworking of Hopkins, Dawson did the courageous move of calling out Andre Ward. He then backed that courage up even further by dropping a weight class and agreeing to fight in Ward’s hometown. Chad Dawson is eager to prove his legitimacy in the rankings and wants this bad.
Fighting Style: Dawson likes to control the pace of a fight and methodically wear down his opponent. It’ll be interesting to see how he approaches counter punching the faster Andre Ward and if he’ll take the chance of exposing his chin in order to throw flurries. With Dawson’s height and reach advantage look for him to use the jab and follow it up with the straight left hand. I don’t think Dawson will have to worry about the smaller Ward backing him up but he’ll have to watch out for Ward’s left hook over top as he jabs.
Why You Should Watch: In all honesty if you’re not a fan of technical boxing and the craft of ring generalship then you don’t need to concern yourself with this fight. Both of these fighters are intelligent, patient, and technical points-oriented type fighters. This is most likely going to be a boxing session rather than a fight. On the other hand, it is very rare to have a fight between two fighters in their primes go at it for free on television. Let me mention that again: This is on HBO for FREE and these are two of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world willing to test their skill levels against one another. A win for either of these fighters guarantees bigger paydays in the future and you can bet your ass those events will be on PPV.
My Prediction: I think Andre Ward will win by Unanimous Decision and defend his titles. Ward is too intelligent of a fighter to allow this match to turn into a brawl and he’ll use distance and footwork to his advantage. Ward will use his speed and his smaller size to land straight right hands all night. The hometown crowd will keep Ward energized and keep him focused in the later rounds where he’ll hurt Dawson (Not put him out but at least rock him). Even though Dawson is the bigger man, I think the only chance he has to win is to bully Ward and force him to exchange punches shot-for-shot. If Dawson isn’t careless with his chin during those exchanges, it is possible he could keep busy and outwork Ward in route to a decision victory but I don’t see it playing out that way.