A sport that needs resuscitating like a whale that washed ashore, boxing gets a dose of CPR Saturday night.
It has been quite a while since there was a fight that piqued the interest of the masses, a fight that pitted two equally tough and talented fighters in the prime of their careers. But when Andre Ward and Chad Dawson square off in Oakland, fight fans can let go all the disappointment the fight game has wrought in recent years.
This is not a megafight that a Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao bout would be. But it a strong matchup of two outstanding prize fighters.
Ward is the last American to win an Olympic gold medal and the undefeated WBA and WBC super middleweight champion who is style and substance. Dawson is talented boxer with a strong jab who is highly motivated.
They have a combined record of 56-1 and their skill set and determination makes this a must-watch bout.
“A victory of Andre Ward would mean a lot for my career,” Dawson said to Newsday.com. “We’re talking about somebody who is rated very high on the pound-for-pound list, and somebody who has a lot of recognition. He won a gold medal in the Olympics. I’m looking forward to the fight and going out there and I’ll prove everybody wrong.”
Ward, meanwhile, ranks as perhaps the best fighter with the combination of charisma and talent. He’s poised. Dawson is going down in weight for this bout, and Ward refuses to look at that as an advantage.
“It remains to be seen,” Ward told Vibe.com. “He may drop weight and realize he needed to be fighting at 168 all along. Anytime you’re preparing for a fight you never put all of your eggs in one basket. It could be a problem for him or could be great. He may come into the beginning of the fight and feel great and then fall flat after a while. I’m not preparing for Chad to not be at his best. He said he’s going to be at his best and I’m taking him at his word.”
To have a boxing discussion without it focusing on Mayweather and Pacquiao is refreshing.
Even Dawson, 30, and Ward, 28, themselves know how much boxing needs this—a marquee matchup of two fighters in their prime, with stakes that actually matter.
“You got two young guys with a lot on the table and a lot to lose and a lot to gain,” Dawson said, “so I think this fight is going to eventually turn into two guys pushing and two guys that are determined. I definitely think the fight can turn into that type of fight, a fight people want to see.”