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Dawson will need to find 2007 form to beat Ward

Andre Ward Chad DawsonBy Jason Kim: If you look at Chad Dawson (31-1, 17 KO’s) from 2007 and compare that to how he’s been fighting since 2011, it’s like night and day. The 6’2″ southpaw Dawson was so much better back then, showing better hand speed, throwing more combinations, looking lighter on his feet and displaying better defensive ability. Back then, Dawson easily beat a young version of Tomasz Adamek by a lopsided 12 round decision.

Since then something has changed in Dawson’s game, as he’s slower on his feet, stiff, throwing fewer combination, fewer punches, looking slower in terms of hand speed, and much easier to hit. Dawson looks like his game aged despite him being only 30-years-old now.

Dawson is going to have to get back to where he was back in 2007 if he’s going to have any kind of chance of beating WBA/WBC super middleweight champion Andre Ward (25-0, 13 KO’s) next Saturday night at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. I have no doubts whatsoever that the 2007 version of Dawson would be too much for Ward.

Dawson, a young 25, could do everything back then and there probably wasn’t a fighter from the super middleweight to the cruiserweight division that could have beaten him. But something has definitely changed in his game. I saw the change come after his first fight against Glen Johnson in April 2008. Dawson struggled in that fight and took a lot of hard shots and not showing the footwork he had in previous years. Since that fight, Dawson hasn’t looked the same.

If Dawson can find his way back to the fighter that he once was in 2007, I think he’ll have no problems beating Ward this Saturday, but I’m not so certain that version of Dawson exists anymore. He throws one punch at a time now and only fights in brief spurts followed by long periods of inactivity. When he does throw shots, it’s typically one punch and a lot of maneuvering on his feet without throwing anything. It’s not going to work against Ward. He’s going to be able to get through Dawson’s single shots to work on the inside and make it a tough night for Dawson.

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