Those who were lucky enough to tune in to Ward vs Dawson last night witnessed a true master at work in Andre Ward (26-0 KO 14), the WBC, WBA and Ring (or lineal) Super Middleweight Champion of the world.
Ward, continuing his momentum from the Super Six World Boxing Classic, gave a masterful performance against "Bad" Chad Dawson, controlling the pace and range of the fight from the third round on.
Most analysts believed it would be an ugly fight and, for a short time, it was as there appeared to be more clenching then punches thrown in the opening rounds.
But things heated up in Round 3 as Andre Ward scored thudding straight rights to Dawson's body after setting them up with with his jab. Towards the end of the round, Dawson was floored by a short left hook to the head that Ward set up with a right to the body.
In round four, Ward dropped Dawson again with a powerful left hook. The challenger arose only to be wobbled by Ward with lefts for the remainder the round.
Round 3 - Ward vs Dawson
After being hurt in the third, Dawson, for the exception of a few occasional offensive bursts, was seemingly focused in survival as Ward sustained his attack.
With Andre carrying Rounds 3-9 and winning the third and fourth by two-point margins, it was obvious to everyone watching Dawson needed a knockout to win heading into Round 10 but it was Ward who went in for the kill.
In the tenth and final stanza, Ward unleashed a flurry of blows that buckled his foe before sending "Bad" Chad to the deck again. The fight was called off by referee Steve Smoger as Dawson, who arose from the knockdown, suggested he could not continue. Time was 2:45.
Andre Ward, who obviously did his homework in preparation for the taller southpaw, exhibited superior boxing skills and footwork as Chad was unable to get much going after Round 2.
According to Compubox stats, Dawson landed 29 punches out of 187 thrown, only a 16% connect rate.
Did Chad Dawson really come to fight?
Regardless, some are questioning his heart and desire, as Dawson seemed unwilling to engage and take risks in the latter rounds when he needed to most.
Focused, well-prepared and determined, Andre Ward certainly came to fight. He showcased an incredible will to win and showed fans once again he can effectively adjust to any fighter's style.
Last night's triumph over the lineal light heavyweight champion was a great win for Ward and the sky is the limit for his young career. At 28, there should be no shortage of big fights on the horizon.
So what's next for Andre Ward?
He could also possibly campaign at light heavyweight and look to become a two division champion, but he's already defeated the best light heavyweight, albeit at 168 lbs.
Perhaps we'll see Ward in super showdowns against Gennady Golovkin and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in the future. And maybe a rematch with Carl Froch is in the cards as well.
As for Chad Dawson, he is still the light heavyweight champion and will have plenty of chances to redeem himself as a rematch with Jean Pascal and title unification bout with IBF Champ Tavoris Cloud loom.
Chad Dawson must dig deep emotionally to overcome this loss and remain the elite fighter most of us believe he is.
Although Ward vs Dawson was a bit one-sided, boxing needs fights like this where the best face the best. Fighters willing to risk their pristine records and careers no matter the outcome.
Ward vs Dawson was boxing at its best - and Andre Ward is certainly one of the Best in the business.
- Ward entered as the world super middleweight champion and fifth ranked fighter pound-for-pound according to The Ring Magazine.
- Dawson, a 2.8-to-1 betting underdog, entered as the world light heavyweight champion and tenth fighter pound-for-pound by the same publication.
- Dawson, who entered as the WBC Light Heavyweight Champion, was fighting at 168 pounds for the first time in over six years.
- Along with a slight advantage in height, Dawson also held a five-and-a-half-inch reach advantage.
Ward vs Dawson - Round 10