Andre Ward Exceeds High Expectations
Andre Ward (26-0 14KO) was already favored to beat Chad Dawson (31-2 17KO) but virtually nobody expected Ward to make it look so easy, to dominate and frankly, embarrass Dawson to the point where after Dawson suffered a third knockdown in the tenth round, Dawson asked the referee to stop the fight, rewarding Ward with a 10th round technical knockout victory.
The fight started slowly, as both fighters tried to get a feeling for their opponent and were doing more looking than punching. Dawson probably won the first two rounds as although he was being outworked, his punches looked harder. Any impression of that would change in the third round.
Dawson was looking to time Ward with a right hook as Ward charged in, and was able to land a few in the first two rounds. However, Ward quickly figured out what Dawson was trying to do and made a few adjustments in his game. Dawson was throwing his hooks wide so Ward decided to counter him with shorter left hooks. Ward perfectly countered Dawson and Dawson fell to his knees. The momentum of the fight dramatically changed and Ward took complete control of the fight from that moment on.
Just seconds into the fourth round, Ward landed another accurate left hook and put Dawson down again for a second time. This time, Dawson was seriously hurt and he had to use all his skills and experience to survive the round. Ward landed nice combinations but he kept calm and didn’t wildly throw punches.
After Dawson survived the fourth, he never really tried to hurt Ward again. He seemed content to survive and go the distance, even though he wasn’t doing nearly enough to win the fight. Ward continued to land fast combinations to the head and body. Even though Dawson’s corner tried to ignite some passion into their fighter, Dawson still seemed content to try to get to the final bell. Ward systematically picked him apart. In the tenth round, Ward caught Dawson with a five-punch combination that put Dawson down for a third time. When Dawson got up, he was talking to the referee and reportedly asked for the fight to be stopped.
Virtually everyone thought the fight would be close and that Ward would win the fight. But it is guaranteed that no one would have expected this fight to be so one-sided. Ward’s titles were on the line since the fight was contested at 168Ibs. Some people might point to that as a reason why Dawson, the light heavyweight (175 Ibs.), lost so badly. But, that would be taking away too much from Ward. I wouldn’t have really mattered what weight this bout was contested at, Ward would have won. He was that dominant.
The future is extremely bright for Ward. The only negative about Ward is trying to get someone to fight him. He has already beaten the top super middleweights (168 Ibs.) such as Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham, and Mikkel Kessler. A rematch with Dawson at light heavyweight would be a possibility, but Dawson’s handlers probably want to reconstruct Chad’s confidence and work on some defensive and offensive flaws before a rematch would happen.
Whatever Ward decides to do, he will most likely be favored to win. His mix of underrated speed, athleticism, and intelligence are what have made him into one of the best fighters in the world today.