As many expected, the September 8 fight between super middleweight champion Andre Ward and light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson will take place at Oakland's Oracle Arena, giving Ward hometown advantage as he returns to his city a conquering hero. Mark Ortega of The Queensberry Rules also reports that the fight will be formally announced this weekend in Las Vegas.
Ward (25-0, 13 KO) and Dawson (31-1, 17 KO) are both top-level fighters who have to this point struggled to attract a big following. Ward has done well in Oakland in the past, namely for his big fight with Mikkel Kessler, but fights after that at the same venue struggled to bring in fans, though the ones who did show up were vocal and passionate.
Dawson simply does not draw fans for his fights, which is not a reflection of ability so much as style, and even had home state fans in Connecticut booing his performance the last time he fought there in 2009. Both fighters have top-tier talent and can box all day, but neither will be confused with a compelling action fighter any time soon.
Dawson will be coming down in weight to 168 pounds for this one, which is another advantage for Ward, and one that Dawson's trainer John Scully is not excited about. Dawson has not made that weight since February 2006.
The fight will also be Ward's official move to HBO, after building his record on Showtime via the Super Six World Boxing Classic, and will be Ward's most-watched fight to date unless somehow it bombs in unimaginable fashion, which is incredibly unlikely.