Ward has to mug Dawson on the inside to win
( Photo credit: Alexis Cuarezma/Goossen Tutor) By Jason Kim: For WBA/WBC super middleweight champion Andre Ward (25-0, 13 KO’s) to defeat WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (31-1, 17 KO’s) tonight in their fight at 168 lbs at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, Ward is going to have to mug Dawson on the inside all night long to get the decision.
Ward is a good fighter on the outside, but he’s not only the same level as the long-armed Dawson. Saw Ward’s limits in his last fight agaisnt Carl Froch where Ward had problems each time Froch was able to get some space to throw his shots. Froch is much more limited than Dawson, and yet he was still able to have his way with Ward when the action was on the outside.
Tonight’s fight comes down to whether or not Ward can force his way in close and keep the action there somehow. Referee Steve Smoger is reportedly going to be working the Ward-Dawson fight tonight, and he’s kind of a hands of type of referee that let’s fighters work on the inside. Ward doesn’t do a lot of clinching, thankfully, because we saw Smoger working the Devon Alexander vs. Marcos Maidana fight last February and Alexander got away tons of clinching every round without having points taken away by Smoger.
It was a terrible fight fight to watch due to all the mauling that Alexander did on the inside without being penalized. If Ward is able to punch and grab tonight it could be a problem for Dawson if he can’t escape the wrestling on the inside.
To Dawson’s credit, he’s a really strong fighter and hard to pin down by inside fighters like Ward. But Dawson has never fought someone that is so persistent in fighting in close the way that Ward is, and he’s going to have to try and find a way to keep Ward at a distance so that he doesn’t get warn down by the inside fighting.