As will come as no surprise to most of you, I was at the Andre Ward fight this past Saturday in the Oracle Arena. Before I get into gushing about Ward's great physical talents, I would like to make some general comments about the crowd. The people I sat near were both avid boxing fans and knowledgeable (we had a good conversation about the BS that went down before JCC Jr's last fight in El Paso). Also the crowd was very amped for the main event due to DeMarco's lightning quick destruction of Molina. Of course that type of fight was completely necessary because the life-size ambien pill Malik Scott definitely put the crowd into a deep slumber with his inanely boring style (this guy makes the Wlad Klitschko look like Manny Pacquiao).
Introduction aside, let's talk about Andre Ward. Keep in mind that I have not seen the HBO broadcast and that my angle in the arena was opposite of the angle seen on TV. There were two parts of Andre's game that seriously made a difference in this fight. First was that he was always in position to punch effectively. That last modifier is extremely important, because he was not just tapping Dawson with his gloves, but full on punches. It seemed that every time that Andre worked out of a clinch there would be a sly left hook directed at Dawson's cut. Ward's sensational balance allowed him to be in the correct position to punch even coming out of a clinch, hell even in the clinch. In the clinch was probably one of the most sensational punch combinations I have seen, several powerful, flush uppercuts, while Dawson was trying to tie-up Ward. The sheer power and accuracy of those punches was immediately evident as flesh and blood tore away from Dawson's beaten right side.
Another part of Andre's game that truly impressed me was his jab. The conventional wisdom was that Ward should just try to keep to the inside because of the height and reach advantage of Dawson. To compound that thought, Dawson was seen by many as having a very good jab, certainly better than Ward's. However, during the fight Ward dominated from both the outside and the inside, and established the far better jab throughout the fight. From my vantage point, it seemed like Ward was baiting Dawson to come closer by intentionally shorting his jab. Once Dawson took the bait, Ward would fully extend his jab and tag Dawson right on the cut. I have no idea how many times this happened in the fight, but enough for me to take notice.
During this fight, Ward outjabbed a jabber, overpowered the bigger man, and punished Dawson for trying to neutralize his inside game. An all-around masterful performance by Andre, one that will propel him to the top 3 in most p4p rankings.
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