Andre Ward/Pacquiao catchweights; no comparison
By Robert “Big Moe” Elmore: Nobody complained when in 1987, Donny Lalonde came down from light heavyweight to challenge Sugar Ray Leonard in a super middleweight. It was Leonard’s quickness and skill. Nothing was said when Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran; neither a true middleweight; had to make weight to fight Marvin Hagler.
It was simply Hagler’s skill and adjustments that got the job done. But fast forward to today and things seem an atrocity when it happens in this day and age. The excuse birds have come out in full bloom doing their earnest to discredit Andre Ward’s dominating performance over WBC light heavyweight Champ Chad Dawson.
Some fight fans have even gone as far as to say that “When Ward weight drained Dawson and beats him its okay. But Pacquiao does it and people complain”. Let’s get a few things straight. One, Dawson and Ward are not stable mates and can’t be controlled by one promoter. Andre Ward did say he didn’t want to move up to light heavy weight and he had every right not to do so. I believe that Dawson needed this fight more than Ward because the super middleweight division is stocked full of fighters. The light heavy weight division is not that popular.
In the case of Pacquiao and his catchweight fights, both fighters have been control by Top Rank with the exception of Oscar De la Hoya. But strong rumor had it that Pacquiao had a clause in the contract that De La Hoya couldn’t rehydrate past 147 pounds. I can say that with confidence because when Oscar fought at welter, he rehydrated between five and ten pounds. And all of a sudden, he only rehydrates two pounds?
Cotto had no choice but to fight Pacquiao at a catchweight for their bout in 2009. Antonio Margarito was probably just looking for a payday so he took the bait. But again, I believe Bob Arum has exercised his powers over his fighters to get things done. Now back to Ward.
Ward is too fundamentally sound and disciplined in his craft to be thrown out of character. He has good defensive skills, good foot work, knows how to dodge punches, ring general ship and an offensive attack that has thus far kept him undefeated. And he hasn’t faced soft competition either. Some boxing fans want to see him just get in the ring and wing punches and have his face looking like raw meat. I believe that’s what’s missing from boxing. There are not enough trainers teaching fundamentals (ie Freddie Roach and Amir Khan). If Ward were to challenge Dawson at light heavyweight, Ward would probably come in at 170 pounds. There is no comparison to Pacquiao flexing his “catch weight” muscles because Ward does not do that. The Dawson fight wasn’t a catchweight bout. It was a super middleweight bout. Outside of Floyd Mayweather, Ward is the most all around boxer in the game.
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