Ward vs Dawson: Champions Collide

Written by Sam Gregory at Sep 07, 2012 - 09:10PM ET in News
Ward vs Dawson Fight Poster Ward vs Dawson Fight Poster
This Saturday night, televised live in the U.S. on HBO Championship Boxing from the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, the lineal Super Middleweight Champion of the World Andre "S.O.G." Ward (25-0, 13 KO) defends his RING Magazine, WBA and WBC Super Middleweight titles against RING Magazine and WBC Light Heavyweight Champion "Bad" Chad Dawson (31-1, 17 KO) in a scheduled 12 round bout in the super middleweight division.

Ward vs Dawson is Champion vs Champion.

In this highly anticipated match-up between these two RING (or lineal) world champions, boxing fans will finally get what they want and deserve - the best fighting the best in a surefire candidate for RING Magazine's "Fight of the Year."

Backdrop
Current Super Middleweight Champion and 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward dominated Showtime's Super Six Boxing Classic, defeating the division's top fighters back-to-back-to-back.

In a career-defining performance in November 2009, Ward topped Mikkel Kessler to capture the WBA Super Middleweight title. And in May 2001, after two previous unanimous decision wins over Sakio Bika and Allan Green, Ward outclassed Arthur Abraham in a 12 round unanimous decision. 

Following the win over Abraham, Ward capped 2011 and the Super Six Tournament by defeating Carl Froch in December via a unanimous decision and became RING Magazine's 'Fighter of the Year.'

Pictured: Andre Ward, right, lands a left hook to the face of Carl Froch

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But Chad Dawson has been equally as impressive.

In his last fight, April 28, 2012, Dawson posted his career-defining victory by winning a 12 round decision over future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins, the former undisputed middleweight champion and then-reigning lineal light heavyweight champion. Dawson also holds unanimous decision wins, twice, each over former light heavyweight champions Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver.

In February of 2007, Dawson lifted the WBC Light Heavyweight Title from Tomasz Adamek, handing the Pole his very first loss a pro. Adamek would go on to win a cruiserweight title and is presently campaigning as a Top 10 Heavyweight. 

CompuBox Stats
Needless to say, both fighters are very good offensively defensively.

According to CompuBox, Andre Ward ranks third overall in the plus/minus category of punch-connects while Chad Dawson is ranked 14th.

Breakdown: In his last seven fights, Ward connected with 39 percent of the punches he threw while his opponents landed only 24 percent of their punches.

Amd in Chad Dawson's last eight fights, he landed 33 percent of his punches while his opponents landed only 25 percent of their punches.

Pictured: Chad Dawson connects on Bernard Hopkins in Hopkins vs Dawson II

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Andre Ward isn't a devastating puncher, but he is extremely accurate. He's also an excellent counter-puncher who can unleash punches from all angles with speed and good leverage.

The 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist, who has beaten the best of the best at super middleweight, likes to moves forward and is usually in control of the offensive flow of the fight.

Chad Dawson, who will have a 5 ½ inch reach advantage over Ward, has good lateral movement with a right solid jab.

Pictured: Ward vs Dawson: An Intriguing Affair?

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Chins/Durability
Both Andre Ward and Chad Dawson possess solid beards as both fighters have tasted the canvas and recovered remarkably well.

Ward's knockdown came in 2005 against Darnell Boone in a six round bout while Dawson's knockdown occured in a 12 round fight against Eric Harding in 2006. Obviously, both men have improved their technique since their respective knockdowns.

Who will have the advantage?
Chad Dawson has been training at the Long Life Fit Club in southeast Las Vegas under the watchful eye of trainer John "The Ice Man" Scully. Scully knows Ward will be a tough test for his fighter but he also said Ward has yet to face an opponent the caliber as Dawson.

Scully believes his fighter, Chad Dawson, will dictate the fight and said he's not sure Ward will be able to adapt to the taller southpaw's style.

But even Dawson acknowledges that he'll be the underdog in this fight as well. Andre Ward not only has "home field advantage," he's fighting at his natural weight while Dawson, the light heavyweight, had to come down 7lbs. 

At a press conference earlier this summer Dawson said:

Pictured: Light Heavyweight Champion Chad Dawson

Dawson

"This is a big fight for me. I know there will be a huge crowd for Andre, but I'm not afraid. I'm happy to be the underdog in this fight. I haven't been the underdog in a long time and I'll do what I have to do to win this fight."


Andre Ward is glad to be fighting in his hometown but doesn't take Dawson lightly:

Pictured: Super Middleweight Champion Andre Ward 
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"Being back on HBO is a big thing, but fighting on HBO in my hometown is huge," Ward said. "To be great you have to fight the best. Chad has beaten the best so these are the type of fights I want to take. I will put on a great show for all the fans that come out to Oracle Arena."



Dawson is the naturally bigger man and Ward will feel that in the power of Dawson's punches. Ward will of course be fighting at his natural weight of 168 pounds and has the ability to adapt to any style of fighting as proven by his undefeated record.

And Ward insists he'll be prepared for just about anything with Dawson. "He's a good all around fighter," Ward said. "His credentials speak for themselves and when you go into a mega-fight or championship fight, you prepare for everything. I'm not locked in for one thing; we are prepared for the best Chad Dawson on September 8th."

It's Ward vs Dawson Saturday night for the RING Magazine/WBC/WBA Super Middleweight Championship.

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