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Andre Ward, Chad Dawson set for Sept. 8 in Oakland

June 09, 2012|By Lance Pugmire
  • Andre Ward is 25-0, with 13 knockouts.
Andre Ward is 25-0, with 13 knockouts. (Kevork Djansezian / Bongarts/Getty…)

LAS VEGAS -- Andre Ward has proven to be the best super-middleweight in the world.

Now he's after more of the world's attention.

The Oakland fighter has a significant chance, landing a super-middleweight title defense against world light-heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs)  Sept. 8 on HBO before Ward's hometown fans in Oakland's Oracle Arena, a bout announced Saturday at MGM Grand, where Manny Pacquiao will fight Timothy Bradley tonight.

"His accomplishments in the ring is what will make him a star," HBO boxing executive Kery Davis said. "When you beat everyone that comes in front of you, that's going to make you a star. Now he's taking on another champion ... if you apporeciate the science of boxing, this is a remarkable fight."

The 28-year-old Ward (25-0, 13 knockouts) emerged in December as the survivor of Showtime's drawn-out Super Six tournament, defeating England's Carl Froch by unanimous decision by calling upon his accurate left hook and overall skill.

Ward notes what people write and say about him, and too often he's seen the description that he's a boring fighter.

"I'm came to the realization that element is going to be there," Ward said."In this era, if it's not blood and guts, we're told it's not a good fight."

For what it's worth, I believe the development of Ward has been impressive, from a skilled boxer who perhaps was a little tentative to engage early in his career to a fighter more confident in his skills who is now up to the challenge of getting the best of a tough guy like Arthur Abraham in May 2011 at Home Depot Center to the showing against Froch.

"My confidence has risen ... I'm not a warrior, but there are times I'm going to earn your respect," Ward said.

Froch showed how good he is by coming back to beat Lucien Bute recently.

I asked Ward if people are in his ear that he needs not only to beat the taller, longer-armed Dawson but knock out a man who has defeated Antonio Tarver, Glen Johnson and Bernard Hopkins.

"If I can knock him out in spectacular fashion, that'd be great," said Ward, the most recent U.S. boxing gold medalist from 2004. "But who at the top level is knocking people out consistently? We're all punchers at the 'C' and 'B' level. We're at the 'A' level now. That's not going to stop me from desiring to be a great finisher."

Ward has great respect for Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s fighting style, and likens his road to a larger fan base to Mayweather, who kept winning before he got a shot at Oscar De La Hoya in 2007 and has remained unbeaten while riding a string of mega-million purses.

"I picked Chad because he's the best in his division, and I'm the best in my division," Ward said. "He's a bigger guy, has a greater reach, and he's coming off his best win. He's a tree. I have to find a way to chop him down."

That's the attitude fans want from their fighters, right?

The undercard will feature a world lightweight fight between Antonio DeMarco and Covina's John Molina.


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