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03 SEPTEMBER 2014

Where am I? Home Columns Mike Sloan
 

The Lowdown on… Ward vs. Dawson




SecondsOut breaks down the matchup and figures out who will win

 

By: Mike Sloan: The Oracle Arena in Oakland, California will play host to the weekend’s most intriguing showdown: Andre Ward versus Chad Dawson for the undisputed super middleweight crown. Featuring a young unbeaten superstar on the rise squaring off against a man equally as skilled and dangerous, Ward v Dawson should wind up being an entertaining battle. The winner will walk out of the ring as clearly one of the sport’s best pound-for-pound fighters as well as staking claim as the greatest in the world at 168.

 

Breaking down the matchup isn’t as easy as some of the previous Lowdown features because both Ward (25-0, 13 KOs) and Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs) have equal skillsets and neither is vastly superior in one category or another. What this matchup will boil down to is the one that employs his gameplan the best will likely triumph.

 

In any event, if you want to know who will win the fight before the first punch is ever thrown, look no further. Read on to see who will win between Andre Ward and Chad Dawson:

 

Punching power: Neither man has what is considered crushing power. They’ve both scored a fair amount of knockouts thus far in their career, but there typically isn’t the threat of a one-punch blast out. Neither Ward nor Dawson has what is considered the great equalizer, the sort of explosiveness in his hands that can bail him out of a losing battle. It’s been almost exactly five years since Dawson has scored a knockout; three for Ward, though his latest KO came against Shelby Pudwill. In this category, the power is about as equal as they come. Advantage: Push

 

Speed: Dawson has some speed behind his punches, but his lanky frame and long reach make him look slower than he really is. He’s clearly not the quickest of fighters, but he throws his punches with accuracy and his footwork keeps him position to both lead and counter effectively. Ward is the naturally smaller and lighter man and he relies almost solely on his speed. Though he won’t be confused with Floyd Mayweather, Ward uses great boxing ability and counters his opposition as good as the rest, and that’s mainly because of his speed. Advantage: Ward.

 

Size: Dawson has been incorrectly labeled as the “much bigger” of the two because he’s been campaigning at light heavyweight for six-plus years consecutively. He’s always been considered a long, tall 175er, but the fact of the matter is that he’s only an inch taller than Ward. Sure, his 76.5-inch reach is a half-foot great than Ward’s, but Ward’s better speed should offset that. As always, size is never that big a factor when comparing boxers, so this one’s a wash. Advantage: push

 

Age factor: Ward is 28; Dawson is 30. Dawson has taken on some of the best of his weight classes’ current generation and he’s put in many rounds in those contests. Luckily for him, he’s never really been in a terrific slugfest or a war that took years off his life. Ward has also taken on some terrific opposition, but he’s been making his fights look too easy at times where Dawson has struggled. Still, both men are in their athletic primes and should be at the top of their respective games when they finally get going. However, because Dawson has taken on the overall better competition and has put in more rounds, plus with him being two years older, there is a very slight edge here. Advantage: Ward

 

 

Chin: Ward hasn’t really been blasted inside a fight and he’s never really been in any true peril. The same can be said about Dawson. Both men have eaten clean punches from powerful punchers and their whiskers appear to be sturdy to handle the other’s punches. However, if the rumor of Dawson being knocked cold in sparring thanks to Edison Miranda are true, then the emphasis on Dawson and his chin will be magnified. Since it’s still just speculation and rumor as of this writing of Dawson allegedly being knocked out, it’s hard to bank on giving an edge to Ward. Still, Ward’s better head movement pads the incoming punches better, which plays a major role. Advantage: Ward

 

 

 


Experience: Ward is the Olympian and has taken on some great foes. Dawson has taken on better, bigger names and has been a pro longer. Neither man has yet to break through into the mainstream to become a legit superstar just yet, though Ward’s triumph in the Super 6 tournament was huge. When comparing the two combatants’ ledgers side-by-side, it’s essentially apples to oranges. Ward has the Olympics, Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham, Miranda and Mikkel Kessler on his resume; Dawson has Bernard Hopkins (twice), Glen Johnson (twice), Antonio Tarver (twice), Tomasz Adamek and Jean Pascal on his. Advantage: Dawson

 

 

Intangibles: If the rumor is true that Dawson was iced during a sparring match, then he shouldn’t be fighting. He should be on some sort of medical suspension because of safety concerns. Still, it’s difficult to handicap anything based on mere speculation. Aside from that, Ward just seems more focused and hell bent on becoming an all-time great. That’s not to say Dawson doesn’t, but Dawson has been complaining for years about how he feels overlooked, though he never really ever tried to take the boxing world by its balls to correct that. Ward is a quiet guy but he just seems more at ease and more determined. He’s also a slightly better overall fighter with better speed and defense. Ward also has more to prove against Dawson because he’s still considered someone to not be fully proven as of yet, according to some insiders (which makes little sense). Advantage: Ward

 

 

The bottom line: Ward will play it safe by boxing well on the outside, giving Dawson all sorts of angles when he moves in and to the side. Dawson will try to force his will onto Ward and he’ll be successful in spurts. Dawson has that six-inch reach advantage and his jab is effective, but Ward’s footwork and shuffling will offset that. Neither fighter will ever be in great danger of being stopped, but don’t be surprised if Ward scores a flash knockdown when he counters a loopy hook early in the fight. Ward will never fully seize control of the bout because Dawson will snatch rounds away here and there. There won’t be ton of action-packed exchanges; rather, they’ll be loads of clinching and grappling on the inside. It’ll be an intriguing fight to watch as it unfolds, but the second coming of Morales-Barrera this will not be. Ward will have more dominant rounds than Dawson and he’ll win a few of the über close ones along the way to eke out a unanimous, but extremely close decision via tallies of 115-113 (twice) and 116-112. Bank on it.

 

 

You can also contact Mike Sloan at www.facebook.com/mikesloan19 or follow him on Twitter @mikesloan19

 

September 7, 2012

 



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