I wasn’t going to cover this this snorefest, but then I thought about the spectacle of two top American fighters, both Ring ranked P4Pers and tops in their divisions and they’re going to fight this Saturday at the Oracle in Oakland, California.
Does anyone in America give a hoot other than the few thousand hometown fans papering the venue? Ask the typical ball sports American fan about the fight and you’ll get puzzled looks all around.
To cover the usual technical details, Dawson is vastly more experienced at the highest level, a pure, well skilled boxer with significant height and reach advantages, yet he will be a significant underdog according to the odds I’m seeing.
The two strikes against him are that he’s coming down a division, not a traditional winning formula, and that he’s fighting in Ward’s hometown, roughly akin to being shackled in chains based on the extensive history of hometown Ward fights.
Who is it that can promote another dynamic Ward hometown fight with a straight face while ignoring all the sniggering in the background? Ward is the last Olympic Gold Medalist in boxing, 2004, so The Oracle asks,
“Why ain’t you fightin’ for big bucks in Vegas?”
Probably because the last Olympic boxing gold medalist couldn’t fill Madison Square Garden in his biggest fight, the Showtime Super Six finale where half the fans had flown in from the UK to see Carl Froch fight.
So why has it taken Ward 8 years to rise to the “top” of his division? Why is it that almost nobody knows him in his own country as he continues to fight in his hometown backwaters? He looks to be tough, fast, and strong, yet he’s not a traditional mix of boxer and puncher, but rather the purest spoiler type that I can ever recall in a “top” fighter. He butts, he hits on the break, lets his elbows fly at will and grabs after every jab ala John Ruiz. He makes professional wrestling look tame, all the while being assisted by his planted hometown styled ref who breaks up the action anytime Ward is being bested to warn his opponent of imaginary fouls committed.
And no way a decision goes against Ward because he makes it impossible for anyone to look good against him, winning not by imposing superior fighting skills, but by making the other guy look bad in a stinker, a negative victory he seems content with.
Chad Dawson is similarly unknown to American fans thanks to his unhurried boxing style devoid of any drama, yet next Saturday we will see a grizzled Argentinean ring veteran go against a young Mexican kid that likely will garner near a million Pay Per View buys when Sergio Martinez fights Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Go figure because I sure can’t figure out what has happened to American boxing.
Dawson has technically done his part to make a stellar career, but he’s gonna be fighting 5 guys tonight. His stock could rise tremendously if he can rise above the ring shenanigans and post a legitimate win. He has a number of potential breakout superfights in two divisions he could leverage and he’s shown he’s willing to travel outside his environs.
Not sure where Ward can go after this fight but home again.