It was the WEIGHT!
by Robert Jackson: Well actually it wasn’t…totally, but as Miguel Cotto famously said following his fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. “I tried to hit him, but I couldn’t”; Chad Dawson was also heard saying afterwards “he’s a lot faster and a lot stronger than I thought”. Also uttered by the 175lb champion were the buzzwords “I couldn’t get off tonight”; words usually associated with overtraining, making weight or the old boxing adage of a fighter having ‘left his fight in the gym’. Similar post-fight sentiments were put forth by Carl Froch after the Super 6 final where Ward unceremoniously, outfought and outhustled the British fighter to win the tournament. Froch had minimized Ward’s punching power and boxing ability prefight.
I suspect we won’t being hearing much from Froch regarding a rematch against Ward anytime soon.
The skill and ease with which Ward handled the bigger, longer Dawson, was astonishing. Ward was sharp, crisp and calculating while Dawson digressed into a bubble of confusion. The early rounds saw Dawson timing Ward with a right hook and landing it as Ward attempted to get inside. A simple adjustment by Ward following the 2 round saw him slipping the right hook and countering with his own left hook; Ward also led with the left hook beating Dawson to the mark time and time again. Ward out-jabbed Dawson and appeared to have more punching power than was expected by the 175lb Champion, in round 3 a straight right to the body left hook combination put Dawson down for the 1st time in the fight. The left hook lead put Dawson down again in the 4th round.
Not known as a power puncher this writer had to believe the weight loss affected Dawson’s punch resistance which wasn’t as good as it had been during Dawson’s time at 175lbs where he’d only been down once against Adamek. That being said “skills pay the bills” is the mantra of boxing and Andre Ward’s skills were on full display Saturday nite. Dawson may want to challenge Ward to another go, at the 175lb limit where he’s campaigned over the last 5.5 years; he won’t have to shrink down, Ward will have to move up and all of the advantages would be Dawson’s a reversal of what happened Saturday night. Also to his advantage would be to fight on the EAST Coast or Las Vegas.
Does this leave Dawson’s career in shambles?? Possibly – who knows how a loss like this one, where he was forced to retire will affect him mentally as he moves forwards in his career? Also significant is Ward’s EXPOSE of Dawson’s weaknesses as a fighter; Saturday night the blueprint was laid. Other challengers will take notice.
Andre Ward put on a Mayweatheresque performance Saturday night and for him the SKY and big paydays are now the limit; just don’t think too many competitors from 160lbs to 175lbs will step up and make a challenge.