On December 4th, Lou DiBella’s acclaimed “Broadway Boxing” series returns BB King’s Blues Club & Grill in New York, New York LIVE WORLDWIDE on GFL.tv!
Headlining this event, is the very popular Boyd Melson (12-1-1). Melson, a 4 time US Army Champion, will have his hands full when he takes on the very tough & rugged Gundrick KIng (18-10). Melson, who has gone (4-0-1) in his last five fights, fights not for himself but for JustaDollarPlease.org. Melson donates 100% of each and every purse to JustaDollarPlease.org which is to help support America ’s first trial to cure Chronic Spinal Cord Injuries.
Melson is expecting a stiff text from King, who with 28 fights is vastly more experienced to many of Melson’s prior opponents.
“He’s got a lot of experience against top fighters,” Melson said of King. “This is the kind of opponent that I’ve got to beat in order to get to that level. I’m expecting King to bring the heat and try to use his experience to overwhelm me. Fortunately, I have a strong amateur background that gave me different but important experience as well. I am already prepared for whatever he has to offer, and I love a good scrap.”
King, who will be fighting for the 3rd time in NYC, has faced a who’s who in the Boxing world including former world champion Yuri Foreman, title challenger Paul Delgado, world rated junior middleweights Jonathan Gonzalez and Charlie Ota as well as unbeaten Brad Solomon. King will no go away easy and will test Melson around every corner. This fight will surely please boxing fans that in attendance and watching LIVE around the WORLD on GFL.tv!
Luis “KO King” Rosa (14-0) will return to the ring for his 4th time in 2013 when he takes on the always dangerous Andre Wilson (13-6-1).
Rosa, one of Lou DiBella’s fastest growing prospects, will have his hands full with the cagey Wilson. Rosa, who has a huge fan base in the north east part of the country, is a crafty boxer that has power in both hands. Knowing that a big fight is just one call away, since another DBE prospect Lamar Russ recently go the call to fight Matthew Macklin on HBO, he will have to put it all on the line. An impressive victory of Wilson could open a ton of doors for the young Rosa in 2014.
Wilson, a rugged veteran out of St Joseph, MO, will be seeking an upset when he steps in the ring with Rosa. Wilson has faced world rated fighters such as Teon Kennedy, Eric Hunter, Chris Avalos, & Luis De Valle. Such experience makes him a dangerous threat to the younger Rosa. Though Rosa is as significant favorite, Wilson knows tricks that can keep the highly touted prospect off of his game plan. Wilson will have to dig down deep to prove an upset is not out of the question.
Scotland’s Craig McKewan will also be featured on the “Broadway Boxing” card LIVE around the WORLD on GFL.tv. McKewan had a tough 2 years going (3-3-1) in his last 7 fights. McKewan, who made headlines for sparring with Bernard Hopkins, was ahead on the scorecards before being stopped in the final round by former world title challenger Andy Lee and was then stopped by WBO middleweight champion Peter Quillin in his next fight. A strong close in 2013 could get the Scottish fighter a new lease on life in 2014. his opponent will be announced shortly.
Antoine Douglas, a highly touted Middleweight prospect from VA, will take on fellow undefeated Colby Colbert (4-0) in a 6 round affair. Douglas will be taking on his toughest opponent to date in his 9th fight this year. With two perfect records on the line, you can expect both men to give it 100% when the bell rings.
GFL’s “2013 KO of the Year” candidate Jerry Odom will look to extend his streak to 5 1st round knockouts in 2013. Odom was nominate for GFL’s “KO of they Year” for his 1st round destruction of Drew Morias. Duplicating that result would be the perfect ending of 2013.
Bryant “PeeWee” Cruz will step in the ring for the 7th time in 2013 when he faces the always game Joshua Arocho (3-7-3). With Cruz’s perfect record growing so is his popularity as he looks to build a wider fan base with an impressive victory over Aracho.
Popular Light Heavyweight Travis Peterkin (9-0) will be facing his toughest test to date when he meets once defeated Tylon Burris (5-1) from Hartford, CT. Peterkin will look to make his 4th win in 2013 an impressive one.
“Blue chip” prospect Junior “Sugar Boy” Younan will step in the ring for the 2nd time in his career against an opponent TBD. The highly touted prospect had an extremely successful amateur career and hopes to duplicate that in the pro ranks. “Sugar Boy” is backed by the same business team as Super Middlewight kingpin Andre Ward and has all eyes on his after his 1st round destruction of Kenneth Schmitz in his pro debut.
Rounding up the card will be undefeated Canadian prospect Francy Ntetu (10-0) in a 6 round super middleweight attraction against Julio Garcia (6-4). Nueky Santelises will look to rebound from his sole loss when he faces Joseliz Cepeda (5-2). Finally, Daniel Gonzalez (4-0) will take on Kamal Muhammad (0-2) in a 4 round welterweight affair.
Tickets for the event are priced at $125, $100 and $75. The $55 general admission seats are already completely sold out. Tables are also available for purchase for this event, with VIP Tables going for $1,000 per table (5 seats at $200 per seat), Ringside Tables for $500 (5 seats at $100), and $375 tables (5 seats at $75). Tickets are available for purchase by calling the DiBella Entertainment office at (212) 947-2577.
For those who can not be in attendance, will be able to watch this entire event from start to finish LIVE around the world on GFL.tv. Order once from GFL.tv and you are able to re watch for LIFE on GFL On Demand. For more info click the link below:
On November 30th 2013, HISTORY could be made LIVE WORLDWIDE on GFL.tv as Paul Spadafora looks to match Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record when he takes on top rated Johan Perez for the interim WBA Jr. Welterweight
Spadafora (48-0-1) has had a roller coaster career but the former Lightweight champion is out to reclaim gold in his new division LIVE WORLDWIDE on GFL.tv. Since his return in 2012, “The Pittsburgh Kid” has notched 3 straight victories defeating Humberto Toledo, Solomon Egberime, and Robert Frankel. Capturing the interim WBA championship could lead to the big fights with Danny Garcia or Floyd Mayweather that Spadafora has desired since his return.
With Spadafora’s dream in sight he has no easy task when he takes on highly touted Johan Perez (17-1-1). Since his sole defeat to title challenger Pablo Cesar Cano in 2012, Perez has won 2 straight against Steve Forbes and previously undefeated Yoshihiro Kamegai (22-0-1). Like Spadafora, a win for Perez will send him to the head of the class when it comes to big money fights.
Each man is prepared to go life and death to achieve their dream. Expect nothing less then fireworks come November 30th LIVE WORLDWIDE on GFL.tv!
GFL.tv’s “2013 Prospect of the Year” Wilkins Santiago (9-0) will return to action to face tough “trial horse” Eric Draper (8-6). Santiago, who is (2-0) in 2013, will look for a highlight reel KO to create more waves as he rises to the top of the sport. Like Spadafora, Santiago has had a troubled past but he continues to put it in the rear view fight after fight.
Draper, has gone (4-0) in his past 4 fights, has created a new page in his career. The upset minded Draper plans to close out 2013 with a bang by beating one of Boxing’s top prospects in Santiago. A victory for Draper will open more doors for the wily veteran and he plans to do that by defying the odds.
“Big Chief” Morgan Fitch (11-0), of Native American descent, will have the toughest test of his young career against veteran gatekeeper Darnell Boone (19-21-3). Fitch is looking to close out 2013 with 4 in a row will not have it easy. A win here for Fitch will be HUGE in every aspect of his career.
Darnell Boone, who is best known for being the only man to knockdown P4P Super middleweight kingpin Andre Ward and knocking out WBC Light heavyweight champ Adonis Stevenson, looks to add another undefeated record to his resume. Even though a win won’t lead to title shots for Boone it will lead to bigger pay days down the road. Expect Boone to put it all on the line vs Fitch and vice versa.
Rounding up the event will be undefeated featherweight Antonio Nieves (4-0) taking on Markel Muhammad (2-14). Also undefeated Light Heavyweight Dustin Craig Echard (7-0) will battle Thomas Hanshaw (2-1) over the course of 4 rounds.
This HISTORIC night of boxing can be watched LIVE WORLDWIDE on GFL.tv from start to finish. Order once & re live history at any time on GFL OnDemand!
By Bart Barry
OAKLAND, Calif. – Last week’s fight headquarters were at Marriott City Center in the middle of this recovering town. Friday night Andre Ward sat in its lobby area, his back to the window, a white baseball cap pulled over his eyes. His face was darker than it appears on television, and meaner too. It was the first glimpse of a Ward that any unknowing stranger would avoid out of instinct. Ward wasn’t that playful chap taking his kids to school for HBO’s camera; he was a man concentrated on the manifestation of another’s pain.
In that lobby, with his dark and oblivious scowl, Ward was severed entirely from the dot-com millionaires who once made Porsches more ubiquitous than Hondas, 50 miles south of here. Ward was not, either, a delicate San Francisco artisan returned from complementing an hour in the SFMOMA collection with a crabmeat salad at Fisherman’s Wharf. He was not Silicon Valley or Bay Area. He wasn’t even East Bay. Ward was Oakland.
That portended the very worst for Connecticut’s “Bad” Chad Dawson, a unified light heavyweight world champion who fought Ward for his unified super middleweight championship Saturday at Oracle Arena. Whatever violence Dawson saw as a youth in New Haven, Conn., it was qualitatively different from the Oakland brand Ward showed him Saturday. Dawson, discomfited from the moment Ward’s short left hook dropped him in round 3, succumbed entirely at 2:45 of round 10 – when he rose from a spot on the mat Ward’s left hand put him, and gave referee Steve Smoger tacit approval for a TKO stoppage.
Ward and Smoger were and are a lovely combination, the one most likely to lead Ward, with his mauling and grappling and pressuring, into pleasing aesthetic spectacles. Another ref would have broken Ward and Dawson endlessly, Saturday, and it would have set a precedent that ruined everything – for when a fighter knows every clinch brings an officious ref leaping to the rescue, he does more of it, because even for a prizefighter not-fighting is easier than fighting. And this brings obvious choices whose consequences do not get tabulated till the next morning when that fighter reads about what a dullard he was, in Sunday’s paper.
Ward churns his feet in a clinch. That is his secret. He does not merely push and pull with his upper body, content only to throw a completely open punch at a completely open chin, as so many fighters today do. Ward continues to dig and bend, pivot and tilt, certain that waxed human flesh licked with perspiration is too slippery to hold still for long. He frees his hands with his legs. He sincerely wishes to sink knuckles in flesh, too, making the volume-puncher’s compact: I will hit you anywhere you let me, and let the art critics go to hell.
Writing of which, and continuing a theme of this city’s pleasant surprises – including a number-five placing on The New York Times’ “45 Places to Go in 2012” list – downtown Oakland plays host to the Bay Area’s most surprising art collection: Oakland Museum of California (OMCA). Located atop a history floor and another dedicated to science, OCMA’s paint collection features works by or about Californians. It is exhaustive and fantastic. It is not quite the de Young Fine Art Museum but is at least good, and in every way more accessible, as San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
The less-artful compact Ward made with Dawson Saturday saw Ward follow every landed right cross with a chopping left hand. It was an ugly, barely legal punch that offended Dawson’s sense of decorum. It also took his balance and ruined him in the 10th round.
Poor Chad Dawson; he simply has no mean streak. He’s a superb athlete. But were he in the NFL, he’d play wide receiver, not tight end; in the NBA he’d swish gorgeous fall-away jumpers but never drive the lane; if hockey were his game, he’d be a perennial contender for the Lady Byng. There were numerous exchanges Saturday that told this tale: Dawson is an athlete who makes money fighting, but Ward is a prizefighter. Dawson was longer, taller, and ostensibly the harder puncher. And yet, when he hit Ward he got lunged at, and when he got hit by Ward he took a step backwards and showed Oracle Arena a look that said: “It’s cool, guys, I know he hit me, but we quashed all that and things are good between us now.”
Nobody in Oakland respected Dawson’s nonbelligerent stand. Frankly, they wanted to see him beaten for it. Attendance was announced at 8,500 but felt like more – with some local newspaper scribes estimating 10,000 or even 12,000. Imagine, an announced boxing gate that felt underestimated! Knockouts are louder, though, because they bring persons leaping upwards at once. Standing, shouting, high-fiving, fist-pumping men bring a force of feeling disproportionate to their number. There were plenty such men, and women too, Saturday, and the audience was darker-complected than most major boxing crowds. A splendid thing, that, and one that speaks to the authentic, and therefore sustainable, fanbase Ward is building in his hometown.
Andre Ward is becoming a professional sports franchise in Oakland, this pleasantly surprising place with a mean streak. Nobody has trod a fairer path to local acclaim than Ward. No prizefighter deserves acclaim more. And so, on nights like Saturday, in the roiling bodies and noise, for an hour at least boxing can feel like a meritocracy.
Bart Barry can be reached at bart.barrys.email (at) gmail.com
By Norm Frauenheim
It’s hard to know whether September’s promise is a new dawn or just a familiar set of oncoming headlights in another head-on collision with a demise predicted and heightened by August’s doom and gloom.
No matter how you look at Andre Ward-versus-Chad Dawson Saturday in Oakland, Calif., and a dueling Las Vegas’ twin bill on Sept. 15 featuring Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at Thomas & Mack Center and Canelo Alvarez-Josesito Lopez at the MGM Grand, however, it is hard not to see potential for a comeback that is a boxing specialty. No business does it better.
Reliable resiliency is there in a shifting alignment that offers a way out of the never-never land of talk and only talk about Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Yeah-yeah, it could still happen. But a generation of lost fans doesn’t care anymore. The good news is that there is always a new one. In part, chances at winning over generation-next rest in what happens with fighters poised to succeed Pacquiao and Mayweather.
For now, the intriguing battle is for No. 2 spot in the pound-for-pound debate. The fading Pacquiao, second on most lists behind Mayweather, is in jeopardy of falling to third or even fourth after evidence of decline in his last two fights, controversial decisions over Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley.
“Me, I believe I’m No. 2 at this moment,’’ Martinez said Wednesday in a conference call for his showdown with Chavez Jr. in a HBO pay-per-view bout for the middleweight title.
A better argument might come from Ward, if he remains unbeaten (25-0, 13 KOs) Saturday in a HBO-televised bout against light-heavy champion Dawson (30-1 17 KOs), who agreed to come down in weight for a 168-pound fight in Ward’s hometown. Mayweather stays at No. 1 because of his perfect record (43-0, 26 KOs). Martinez can’t make that claim. Even if he beats Chavez Jr., there are still losses to Antonio Margarito and Paul Williams and two draws on his resume (49-2-2, 28 KOs).
Predictably perhaps, the more circumspect Ward isn’t as bold about his place in the pound-for-pound debate as Martinez, who has become more outspoken in an escalating exchange of trash talk with Chavez Jr.
For the most part, Ward’s attention isn’t easily diverted by anything beyond the challenge immediately in front of him. That means the dangerous Dawson. Everything else is just talk that would take him away from the task at becoming an equal of fighters he admires, including Mayweather and Sugar Ray Leonard.
“They’re masters,’’ Ward said. “I’m trying to be a master.’’
The guess is that Ward will never quit trying. The goal will be there for as long as he is fighting. It’s a motivational piece to a Ward persona that in a couple of years could put him at the top of the pound-for-pound crowd.
Even in the build-up for Dawson, he seemed to look for something that would drive him to knock out slights, imagined or real. Dawson’s camp praises him. But the skeptical Ward deflects it.
“I think they’re giving us some superficial credit because they have to,’’ he said. “…To listen to them tell it, they have every advantage in the book. I think they’ll discover that isn’t the case.’’
Ward’s insightful trainer, Virgil Hunter, had his own spin.
“Our advantage is being at a disadvantage in their eyes,’’ Hunter said.
If there’s a disadvantage during the next nine days, it is expected to be in betting odds against Chavez Jr. and Dawson. But even those are slim. Spring an upset, and one or both will suddenly leap to the front of a line in the fight for spots at the pay window long occupied by Pacquiao and Mayweather.
Bob Arum, Chavez Jr.’s promoter, said an earlier opportunity for big money against Martinez was resisted precisely for the moment that will transpire on Sept. 15.
“We could have taken a chance against Martinez a year ago,’’ Arum said. “If he wins – and we believe he will, he will become an attraction on the level of Pacquiao, Mayweather.’’
Meanwhile, a hint at Mayweather’s immediate future could unfold at the Canelo-Lopez fight at the MGM Grand. Canelo keeps talking about how he wants to fight Mayweather. His representatives at Golden Boy Promotions have advised caution. At least, Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya did on May 5 in the wake of Canelo’s victory over Shane Mosley. But an impressive victory over a smaller Lopez on Showtime might sweep aside concern that Canelo is getting ahead of himself.
If Mayweather decides he wants to fight the popular Mexican redhead now instead of later, there’ll be no waiting.
Another future will have arrived.
By Bart Barry
Saturday evening in Oakland, Calif.’s Oracle Arena super middleweight world champion Andre Ward will defend his title against light heavyweight world champion Chad Dawson. I will be there, I’m happy to report, and eager to make the trip. What follows is an opinion-laden exploration of why.
Ward-Dawson will be a match between the world’s two very best prizefighters between 161 and 175 pounds. That is enough for the purist in me to make the trip from South Texas. It is a rarity anymore the best fight the best, regardless of popular demand, or its absence, and when that happens, it merits a celebration oblivious of subjective or aesthetic concerns.
Oakland’s Andre Ward is a chance to see a better version of a young Bernard Hopkins. Ward does nothing spectacularly but everything quite well. He hasn’t chloroform on either fist but keeps stronger men the hell off him. His footwork is steady, not inventive. He is confident more than stylish. He is self-conscious in the best sense of the term; thousands of concentrated hours have taught him how to keep comfortable in a fight, and the man who can discomfit him has yet to be found (a boy in his 12th year, Jesus Gonzales, was the last to do it, in 1996). And Ward likes to smoke where another man lives, as Joe Frazier put it, to fight on an opponent’s chest – a singularly endearing quality.
Today’s Bernard Hopkins apologists, kids who were usually too young to know or care about Hopkins when he stopped Segundo Mercado 17 years ago and began his middleweight title reign, have little interest in Ward. He is not confrontational enough. He is a careful father rather than a reformed crook. He does not fill a three-minute answer with five minutes of self-aggrandizement. He conforms to the system rigidly, and the system takes care of him. Nothing dangerous there. He is a professional who, by his own estimation, took boxing training too seriously in his youth and now, as he matures, has learned to remand it to a less dominating place – consider for a second how different from the average prizefighter’s career trajectory that is. Ward is not particularly charismatic, and there is little to discover about him outside the ring: Loving dad, religious devotee, proud man, disciplined citizen. Yawn.
Connecticut’s Chad Dawson is less knowable still. Surely there are a few dangerous corners in New Haven, Conn., and Dawson was right to avoid them as a teenager, but there is an element to the Dawson biography, as told by HBO anyway, that feels effortful. Not Victor-Ortiz effortful, of course, but effortful just the same.
Dawson is not a bad guy. Ward is not a bad guy. Both are excellent fighters, the very best in their divisions, and that is not enough? For me it is. I did not believe Ward was at all special when the Super Six tournament began. I expected Mikkel Kessler to prove how meaningless an Olympic gold medal is these days – meaningless as the advisors of each member of our last two Olympic teams did, and will, tell us. But the very opposite was true, wasn’t it? There is a reason Andre Ward is both our country’s last gold medalist and very best prizefighter over 154 pounds.
Ward is a winner. He has a sense of exactly where he stands in relation to another man and where their performances stand in relation to one other. The day a man bests him, Ward will know it and likely concede it, publicly. Chad Dawson does not have this sense. Dawson is talented enough to beat anyone put in front of him, and beat him convincingly, but Dawson does not know how good he is. He does not trust himself or the roster of trainers hired over the years, and how could he? They tried to make him what he is not, he laments. It is hard to imagine Andre Ward mouthing those words.
I am going to the Bay Area, in part, for the same reason I went to Michigan 20 months ago for Bradley-Alexander: as a silent challenge to the black community to support its fighters. In conversations with black boxers and trainers, there is a confidence, or conceit, that relies on a belief that, at any time in the last century, one of their own was the best prizefighter in the world, recognized or not. That’s a conceit I share. But if black men, as a community, are not supporting boxing’s ecosystem, will it always be so? Timothy Bradley does not touch your souls, OK; I do not understand that but accept it. If a community turns away from Bradley, Ward and Dawson to celebrate Floyd Mayweather’s comic-book id or Adrien Broner’s hairbrush, though, that’s another thing entirely, one that raises a question of perspective.
I am also going to the Bay Area because, culturally, it is one of our country’s richest places. I spent two years there as a young, overpaid, Silicon Valley software developer during the dot-com boom and haven’t been back since 2001. There’s a nostalgia for those lovely, hopeful times.
No, this is not a full-throated or objective endorsement of Ward-Dawson, which is why I chose to write it in the first person. I do not expect a great fight. I expect each man to employ his very best technique, and for those techniques to offset each other. I expect Ward to win by using his head – make of that what you will – but think Dawson is uniquely qualified to upset him. Yet I am nearly as excited about seeing Oracle Arena, Saturday, as Thomas & Mack Center seven days after. Call it wanderlust.
Bart Barry can be reached at bart.barrys.email (at) gmail.com
‘FREE ADMISSION’ OAKLAND CITY CENTER, CITY CENTER SQUARE AMERICA’S GOT TALENT NICK CANNON TO HOST OFFICIAL WEIGH-IN
CELEBRITIES INCLUDING BASEBALL’S “HIT KING” PETE ROSE
TO ATTEND FANFEST TO KICK-OFF
“WARD VS DAWSON: WORLD CHAMPIONS-MADE IN AMERICA”
ON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 FROM ORACLE ARENA IN OAKLAND, CA,
LIVE ON HBO® WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
OAKLAND (August 31, 2012). The official weigh in for Andre Ward vs. Chad Dawson just got bigger and bolder as Nick Cannon, award winning actor, comedian, multi-media mogul, TV and radio show host, has come aboard to serve as host for the open-to-the-public free admission event, set for Friday, September 7 at the Oakland City Center, City Center Square in Oakland, CA.
The weigh-in will be the main event of the festivities scheduled for the official
Ward vs. Dawson FANFEST, an event filled with a live radio broadcast by the new game in town, 95.7 The Game, music by KBLX, celebrities, food and a beer garden sponsored by Corona, with fan interactive boxing activities brought to you by Everlast, all starting at Noon on Friday. Fans are encouraged to arrive early before the 2:30 PM weigh-in and to find a spot to enjoy the fun and get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the most dramatic moment leading into the event other than the fight itself, when Oakland’s own Andre Ward and Chad Dawson face each other for the last time before entering the ring on Saturday night at Oracle Arena.
Ward vs. Dawson – World Champions – “Made In America” takes place on Saturday, Sept. 8, at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. is promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions in association with Antonio Leonard Productions and SOG Promotions and sponsored by Corona, City of Oakland, Oakland Tribune, Azad Watches and 95.7 The Game.
Cannon, who announced via his Twitter @nickcannon that he is making his ring announcing debut at the Ward vs. Dawson event, will call the weights for the main event fighters including the explosive co-featured World Championship bout between the champion from Mexico, Antonio DeMarco vs. California’s John Molina Jr., as well as Ward vs. Dawson.
Cannon, CEO of NCredible Entertainment who can currently be seen weekly on NBC’s hit talent show “America’s Got Talent” as well as heard on his own nationally syndicated weekend Top 40 Countdown radio show, ‘Cannon’s Countdown’ is thrilled to be bringing his on-air “emcee” skills to sports fans in the arena and watching worldwide.
Tickets priced at $300, $200, $100, $75, $50 and $25 and are available for purchase online at www.oraclearena.com, www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are also available at the ORACLE Arena box office.
Thank you, everybody, for joining us today and I am thrilled to be hosting this call for such an awesome fight. This is Andre Ward and Chad Dawson’s International Media conference call. We will start with one team and then lead into the other.
Just a couple of media notes, I do have a note here that the replay of 24/7 – Road to Ward/Dawson will be airing Friday, 7:00 p.m. eastern and pacific.
We will also be sending out the fight week’s schedule. There are great opportunities planned for fight week and that is attributed to the wonderful job the promoters have done.
At this time, I’m going to introduce Dan Goossen, President of Goossen Tutor Promotions. Then, we will be joined by “Bad” Chad Dawson and his trainer John Scully. Dan?
Well, thank you, Kelly. First off, thank you all for joining us today. I’m going to make it short and sweet from my end, and then I’m going let you hear from Chad Dawson and John Scully. I’ll be hopping back on when Andre gets on. Gary’s in Germany right now, getting ready for his fight against Sturm, so I’m doing this, as a courtesy to him.
First off, Kelly mentioned the fight week schedule. Tuesday, we’re going to have the final open workout with Andre and Dawson. That will be followed by Wednesday press availabilities for DeMarco and Molina. Anyone that needs any interviews with Antonio DeMarco and John Molina, Jr., please contact Kelly. That, in itself, is going to be a great fight and a great way to open up the HBO Telecast. The final press conference will be Thursday at 11:30 a.m., at a restaurant in Oakland, which will be noted on the events schedule (update: FAZ Restaurant).
Then, on Friday we’re doing something a little bit differently. HBO came out there and did their HBO, 24/7 – Road to Ward/Dawson. They really gave it the full treatment, as if it was a Pay-Per-View Event. We’re appreciative of that, because I think it was important that both Ward and Dawson got a chance to say something about themselves, other than what they do inside the ring. They certainly deserved it, we thought it was great, but what we’re doing is a FanFest on Friday that will be held at the Oakland City Center.
We’ve got sponsors involved in this, including 95.7 The Game, the local radio station in the Bay Area, one of the hottest ones coming out right now. They’re going to have a radio remote there. One of their sister stations, KBLX will be also hosting the event live at the City Center, along with Corona who will have a beer garden, for all you guys that need a cold one, we’re going to have a beer garden there. We’ve got Everlast out there with their booth, City of Oakland, Oracle Arena, ourselves. It’s going to be a real festive celebration event within an event to get ready for the main event on Saturday night.
HBO will have a booth also, and all this will lead into the live weigh-in, which will be at the same place, starting at 2:30, where we’ll have Molina/DeMarco, and Ward and Dawson weighing in, at the City Center. We expect 3,000 to 4,000, 5,000 fans to attend this FanFest. Anyway, any other questions you have regarding fight week or related to the fight, Kelly’s your go-to person. Andy Olson is handling credentials.
I’m going to turn it over to John to say a few words, and I’ll have Chad say something, and then I’ll leave you guys together with them. John?
Okay, hello. I’m just obviously excited to be here. This is a huge fight for us and a huge fight for boxing and I’m just happy to be a part of it. I’m excited for Chad. I know how bad he wants this, and he wants that recognition that this fight is going to bring, and I’m just proud to be a part of helping him get to his goal.
Thank you, John. Chad?
Yes, I just want to thank everybody involved with the fight; you, Dan Goossen or Gary Shaw, my promoter, and HBO for putting such a push behind this fight. The HBO, 24/7 was great. I think it gave me and Andre Ward a lot of exposure, and people liked it. Like I said, I’m excited to be in the position I’m in. I’m excited about the fight, and everything has been going great and I’m looking forward to Sept 8th.
Thank you, very much. Kelly, I’m going to throw it back to you. You handle it with getting the media up there, and I’ll be back when Andre gets on, okay?
Q and A K. Swanson Thank you so much, Dan.
D. Goossen Thanks, take care.
Robert Morales, Los Angeles Daily News.
Chad, I was just curious. You’ve already been Light-Heavyweight Champion, obviously, so you’ve already tasted that World Championship stuff, but how much would a victory over Andre Ward mean to you, a rank in your career, especially since you’re having to come down in weight to get it, which we all know is very difficult in this game?
The weight problem was not difficult at all. My weight is good. I’m ready to scale at 168 pounds. A victory of Andre Ward would mean a lot for my career. We’re talking about somebody who is rated very high on the pound-for-pound list, and somebody who has a lot of recognition. He won a Gold Medal in the Olympics. When you look at his resume, it doesn’t really get any bigger than that, especially winning a Gold Medal for the United States, so I’m looking forward to the fight and going out there and I’ll prove everybody wrong.
People are so wrapped up about the fact that I’m moving down to 168 pounds, when they saw me at a seven-pound weight difference, but I’ll make the weight comfortably and I’ll be ready to fight on the 8th.
Dan Rafael from ESPN.com
Chad, listen, my question for you was, a little bit of what Robert was saying about the 168, to make it. People, myself, a lot of people, make a big deal about you coming down in weight for this fight.
First of all, you said it’s been going okay for you. My question for you, though, is whatever happens in this fight; let’s say you win the Super-Middleweight World Championship, now you’re Super-Middleweight Champ, you’re still Light-Heavyweight Champion; is this like a one-and-done for you and you go back to Light-Heavyweight and just have said I accomplished my goal, I won the Super-Middleweight title; or do you think you could continue to make 168 if the right fight presented itself in this weight class?
I definitely think I can continue to make 168. I’m, like you said, I’ve kind of got the best of both worlds. If I go down, if everything works according to plan and I win the title, and I’m looking for good fights in either weight class. I think 168 is a lot more loaded than the Light-Heavyweight Division is. I also do think that those guys at 168, including Andre Ward, will be coming up to Light-Heavyweight real soon, so as I say, I’m in a great position. I could go back to Light-Heavyweight and wait for those guys or I could stay at 168 pounds and contend against the Kesslers and Froch and those guys, so I think it’s a great position to be in.
How much of a difference has it been for you, then, in this training camp, and maybe John could address this also, for you to drop that extra seven pounds, compared to what you would normally do to make 175 in a normal training camp to defend the Light-Heavyweight Title or to fight at a Light-Heavyweight fight; has it been much different or is it just diet a little bit more, run a little bit more, what’s been the big difference? You made 168 for so many years anyway.
Yes, just dieting; a lot of people don’t understand, I came into training camp at 178 and 180 pounds. I came into camp, just came, I got in and I was 180 pounds, so like I told everybody before, it’s not hard for me to make the weight. I put another little bit extra mile on my runs and I’m dieting, and that’s something that I haven’t done in years, and that’s diet. When I was fighting in Light-Heavyweight I was able to eat what I wanted and still go into the weigh-in and make the weight, so this camp, it was great.
It just made me a little meaner, the fact that I can’t eat what I want and have to diet, so I’ll be ready for the weigh-in. I’ll jump on the scale at 167, probably 168 pounds, and I’ll prove everybody wrong, the people who think that I’m not going to be able to make the weight, that I’ll be drained and dehydrated. That’s not the case at all.
Hey, John, could you address that from your point of view, as the trainer. Has there been any difference in his energy level, or do you know where there are any particular problems, or things when it comes to him trying to make this weight?
No, like he said, and I didn’t even actually know this, because Axel takes care of all his cooking and food and everything. In the other training camps, I didn’t monitor the food at all, so I kind of assumed that he was just dieting and eating the proper foods. Then, for this fight, I said, “Hey, you sure we’re going to make 168,” and he said, listen, all he’s got to do is starting eating good. I didn’t realize it before, when we fought Hopkins, I mean he beat Hopkins on a diet that I wouldn’t have chosen, you know what I mean?
So, now, with eating the proper foods and after discussing it with Axel, it appears that it’s not going to be a problem at all. I’ve read a lot of blogs and people are really focused on this weight thing, but I think it’s a misguided direction of energy because it just doesn’t seem to be an issue.
I think it’s just an unusual thing, that you see a prime champion like Chad to drop weight to make a fight, where it normally is the other champion, it would be Ward to move up. Maybe, Chad, you could just address this also; some people say Ward insisted on 168, others say catch weight, no problem. There’s been back and forth, but what is your side of the story is to how it came to be that you’re making 168, as opposed to either defending your title at 175 or defending your title at some weight above 168?
Dan, I guess, it doesn’t really matter what the agreement was. When I announced that I wanted to fight Andre Ward on HBO, I said 168 and you could do a catch weight or we could do 175. That’s what I said, and they said 168. I’m not the type of person who is going to go back and forth, back and forth. I told my promotor, Gary Shaw, to make this fight, I’d do 168 and I’ll go to Oakland, so I gave him every advantage. I think that credits my ability and what I know I’m capable of and what I know I could do in the arena. I don’t care that the fight’s in Oakland. I don’t care that it’s at 168 pounds, because I know I’ll be comfortable and everything is going to go my way.
Alexis Terrazas, San Francisco Examiner.
Yes, the odds makers right now have you as the underdog, and that’s a position that you always haven’t been in, but why do you think that is and do you take offense to that? Does that give you any extra motivation fuel in your game?
No, I don’t take offense to it at all. People, in fact, have their own opinion. All I can say is that they’re making the wrong bet. My training camp has been great. I’m not worried about being the underdog. Like you said, I’ve never been in this position before, and it’s maybe about time that I am in that position. It’s going to give me fuel and it’s going to make me a better fighter.
Your last two bouts were against a guy, in Hopkins, a really difficult style, effective for him, but not necessarily a crowd-pleasing. Andre kind of has that type of style, effective, difficult, not really crowd-pleasing. How does that experience from those two fights, how will that help you on September 8th?
When I fought Bernard, the second time, like you said, he’s so tricky and so crafty in the ring. He’s very smart when it comes to that, and I did what I had to do to win the fight, but at the end of the fight I knew I could have done more. The fact that I’ve been in the ring with Bernard for 14 rounds, I think it says a lot about me and how I can deal with different styles.
I fought everybody from Tarver to Glen Johnson and Bernard and Tomasz Adamek, and those are all three different styles, so when they say that Andre Ward can adapt to any style, I’m saying, wait, I can adapt to any style and I can figure out how to beat any style. I’m a very intelligent fighter when I’m in the ring and, come the eighth, everybody is going to see that, and they’re going to realize that I am a better fighter than Andre Ward.
The last question here, we all saw the 24/7, Chad, and you’re a quiet guy, you like to do your talking inside the ring, but how was this training camp and leading up to this fight different? Are you used to these cameras being all around your family and in the gym? Is that any different, or are you just kind of taking it in stride and maybe pretending they’re not even there? How’s that going for you?
I just pretend that they’re not there. It’s something that they had to do. HBO wanted to be able to get inside and show the fans and the boxing audience how we live outside of the gym and how we do training, so it just comes with the territory. At the end of the day, you have to get used to it. I think it was good that they showcased me and Andre Ward’s lifestyle and our families and everything, and it was a great look. People loved it, so it was great. There was no problem with it at all.
Jason Gonzalez, MaxBoxing.com.
Chad, I already got John’s take on this matter, I want to get yours. Considering you have a victory over Bernard Hopkins in the boxing calendar year of 2012, would a victory over Andre Ward make you the Fighter of the Year?
I don’t know. I don’t worry about those things, honestly. I don’t know. I don’t really care. My whole focus is getting this victory. If they want to make me Fighter of the Year, I’ll be glad to accept it, but right now that’s not even on my mind.
Okay. Now, the second question, do you buy into the hype that Andre’s a dirty fighter with the head butting and the elbowing, the elbows on the inside of the clinches, and whatnot?
No, because I’ve never been in the ring with him, so I don’t know. I can’t buy into something that I’ve never experienced. I’ve watched his tapes and I’ve been studying him, but I can’t say that he’s a dirty fighter. I’ll have to judge that when I get into the ring with him on the eighth.
Bob Velin, USA Today.
One of the questions I had was kind of asked, but I will maybe put it a different way. Do you feel that being on 24/7 gives people a different idea of who Chad Dawson is, more of a family man than maybe what people thought? Has that been a help for you?
I’ve always considered myself to be a family man. I felt people saw that, too. My family is at every fight. My family comes first before anything. At the end of the day, my job is to raise my kids and be a good husband, and that’s what I try to do. I try to live my life like that. Only good things come to people who live their life like that, so that’s what I try to do.
I try to show my kids right from wrong and just be there for them at any time, so whatever the people got out of the 24/7 is great, because when I watched it, it made me see that, even though I already know that, but family is definitely more important than anything else. I love my family. I love my wife. I love my kids, so that’s just how I am, it’s just me.
You both have styles of not necessarily wanting to go toe-to-toe with somebody, but avoiding punches. Do you see any way that this fight could turn into a slugfest, a toe-to-toe battle?
You got to look at the fact that you got two young guys with a lot on the table and a lot to lose and a lot to gain, so I think that this fight is going to eventually turn into, as the rounds go on, you’re going to have two guys pushing and two guys that are determined, so I definitely think that the fight can turn into that type of fight, the fight that people want to see.
Do you feel that Andre has the power to hurt you if he connects?
I don’t know, because anything can happen in boxing. I’ve seen guys with the least punching power hurt guys, so I’m not even going to think about that. My whole thing is just going in there, winning this fight, and doing it in a great fashion and giving the crowd a great fight.
Lem Satterfield, TheRing.com.
John, you and I discussed this a while ago, and Chad just kind of mentioned it with Bob, that there is a lot on the line for these guys, and for the first time in a while you have two guys who are considered the best in their division and they’ve already, not just based on their talent, but their pedigree and who they’ve beaten along the way, so given that, how much does it matter to Chad and to you to have that, potentially that Sugar Ray Leonard/Thomas Hearns type of battle, or would it still be an acceptable achievement to have sort of like a Roy Jones/Bernard Hopkins, the first fight that they had, which wasn’t necessarily a dog fight, but to recognize the skill and ability of the fighters?
For me, as the trainer, especially, the whole thing is winning, above all else, above the crowd, above the legacy, above everything, winning is the most important thing, and that’s how we have to approach the fight. I do think that Chad has the ability and the potential to open up more and be more exciting, and I honestly have the feeling that Andre is going to bring that out of him.
I’m surprised that after seeing Chad in the first Glen Johnson fight, the way he responded like a warrior, I think a lot of people think that that’s like a weakness with him, but I read where people have said, “Oh, man, Andre’s going to get inside,” and he’s going to do this and that, and I actually think, and he can tell you better, but I think Chad wants him to come like that.
I think Chad welcomes him making it a good fight. I think the better the fight is, the more Chad is going to like it, because it’s going to draw out all of the things that he has in him, because the fact of the matter is, and I know this from knowing Chad since he was a kid, there is so much talent and power and explosiveness that the fact is he’s never shown, he hasn’t had to show, because he’s won the majority of these fights so easily, so I think it could very well turn into the fight people want to see, and I think contrary to the belief of some people, I think it’s going to favor Chad if it turns into that kind of fight.
Chad, do you have any reaction to what I just said?
No, I’m just looking for a great fight. I know that Andre was a great fighter, and like Scully said, this is a fight I wanted because I know what type of fighter that it takes to bring the best out of me and Andre Ward is that pedigree of a fighter. He can bring that and I’m pretty sure that he knows that I got the same thing in me to bring the best out of him, so that’s why I say everybody that’s down on the fight and saying that it’s going to be a boring fight, you can’t say that because you’ve got two guys that are on top of their game, two guys in their prime, you got two guys that are the best in their divisions, and we’re really fighting for something. It’s not like we’re fighting for nothing, we’re fighting for something, and what we’re fighting for is something big, so, like I said, I do believe that this is going to be a very exciting fight.
Okay. One last question for you, one of the fights that I look at in your career, some people don’t give you as much credit for beating the Tarvers and the Johnsons because they were older fighters, and even Bernard, but the Adamek fight was at a time where both of you guys were undefeated. I think you went down once, he went down, and he hadn’t lost until he lost to Klitschko, since then. How much of that fight do you look at as making you the fighter that you are now, and do you think you deserve more credit for that win than maybe you have gotten?
I’m thinking I’ve gotten the credit for that fight. I think people know what I can do and they just haven’t seen it, but when they see that Chad Dawson again, which is going to be on the eighth, I think that people will start to give me more credit.
What is that, Chad Dawson? Can you go back to that fight and kind of put – you went down in that fight and you had to come back – what questions do you feel you answered then that you will bring back on September 8th? Can you talk a little bit about it?
That I’m a warrior, that I’ve been in a ring 33 times, I’ve been hit, I’ve been hurt, I’ve been down, and I’ve gotten back up, and that’s going to always be my style of fighting. Whenever I get hurt, the first thing that pops in my head is to come back. I come back meaner and I come back tougher, so that’s just me, and that’s the fighter I’m going to try to continue to be.
Richard de Ocio, Fresno Examiner.
John in how you’re preparing Chad for this fight. Obviously, we talked about the weight cutting and that could be something that’s going to be an issue. Now, taking a look at what’s it’s going to be like in the ring, how do you think the fight is going to play out, initially, right from let’s say rounds one to four? Is that going to be a feeling out process of determining what kind of fight Andre Ward’s going to bring to the table, or do you think Chad’s going to be able to impose his will early, whatever your strategy is going to be, and if you could shed some light into the strategy?
Without going too much into detail, I’ll say this as a basic overview that’s always in play with Chad. I’ve always said that I feel Chad is in the Mayweather, Roy Jones type of realm where more often than not, the opponent is going to have to deal with Chad, more than he’s going to have to deal with them.
He has certain things that he was born with, certain things, just the mentality that he has, and his approach to the fight that forces people to have to adjust to him. His height, obviously, is one of those things that just can’t be avoided. You have to adjust. I think, more than all of the Andre’s recent opponents, I think we’re going to be able to implement out style because, like I said, without giving too much away, I’ve watched all of Andre’s fights and I don’t feel that any of his opponents, as good as they were, they weren’t able to establish their own game plan. They had to adjust to Andre’s, and I felt that some of that was because of their physical limitations that Chad obviously doesn’t have.
Put it this way, I think, going into this fight, Andre, when they went looking for sparring partners, they probably had a tough time finding someone that could bring to the table what Chad is going to bring to the table.
R. de Ocio
Yes, and, Chad, just to follow up on that, how do you think you’re going to come out and answer the opening bell for that fight on September 8th?
Just going out and bringing energy, just bring energy. I just want to be more active and I’ll just bring a lot of energy to the fight, and impose my will.
Robert Hough, FightNews.com.
Hi, a couple of questions for Chad Dawson. I’ve done a good bit of work with Andre Ward over the years, interviewing him and Virgil Hunter, and Virgil’s made what might be a subtle point in that his people have noted Mr. Ward can fight in a variety of styles, which poses, perhaps, challenges in the ring.
But also, from Hunter’s perspective, challenges in preparing because it’s, to his size, difficult to get the good sparring partners who can replicate what he can do. Can you talk some about how you’re preparing for that? Is it a matter of sparring both with guys who have got that big strong inside game and can do more of the sharp-shooting style, or doing some of each, or what’s your approach in sparring on that front?
First of all, we’ve had great sparring, I think the sparring that we’ve had is a lot better than what we’ve expected, so on that note, everything is great. I’m not worried about finding guys to emulate him too much, because we got guys that emulate him very well. I’m just prepared, I’m ready to go, and I’ll be ready on the eighth.
A quick follow-up, I talked to you briefly in Sacramento, California in 2007, Gary Shaw was nice enough to bring you over to press row and you were super gracious and Gary said, “Chad doesn’t travel with a posse, he travels with his family.” We talked on 24/7 some, by the time the Pascal fight came around, there were 30 people around you in your entourage, and they all disappeared after that fight didn’t go your way. Can you talk some about how things got from that point in ’07 when it was you and your family to you and 30 people around you?
Yes, but when I said that, I wasn’t talking about, like at the fight, me walking around with 30 people, but after the fight, when I got back home to New Haven. I mean, I didn’t travel with those guys. When I came home, I was embraced by 30 guys that I hung around with, that I would go out with. We’d always be together.
And to touch on that, I think every fighter goes through that type of situation. When you’re up, everybody wants to be around you and be there to hold your coattail, but when you’re down, nobody really knows what to say to you, or nobody dares to pick you up and tell you, “Look, Chad, man, it’s okay, you’ll bounce back.” So, when I lost to Pascal, when I got home, it was literally maybe a handful of people that said, “It’s okay, we know you’ll bounce back,” but everybody else disappeared. No phone calls, no nothing, and that just put my mind in a different place. I’m a different person from that. I learned who my real friends are and who my real friends aren’t.
Like I said, I think every fighter or anybody who’s ever been at the level I was at has been through that, from the Michael Jordans to the Kobe Bryants, Lebron James, I’m pretty sure they all experienced it.
Are you a Celtics fan?
No, I’m a Miami Heat fan.
Yes, well, Ward likes the Lakers, so you might have something to talk about.
What I got from what you said in the 24/7, it seems like between fights you have sort of gotten away from having 25, 30 people around, is that correct?
Yes, yes, I’ve definitely gotten away from that. You see me after the fight now and I’m in the house with my family, bringing my kids to school every morning, picking them up, making sure that my home, my kids, and my wife are straight. That’s my whole game. That’s how I live my life now.
Colin Seymour, Examiner.com
Hi, this is Colin Seymour. I’m glad to meet you, Chad. I’m in California. When you were out here in California, you were treated a little bit inhospitably. It seemed to me that Virgil Hunter was really trying to get under your skin and he’s very good at that. Did he succeed in any way?
He failed with a big F. Yes, he got an F for that, but I’ve been in the ring with Bernard and I’ve been at a press conferences with Bernard, I’ve been in a press conferences with Tarver. I’ve experienced all of that, and those guys didn’t get under my skin, so I don’t know what makes him think he would get under my skin, but I’m fine and, like I said, he flunked that test.
It’s got to be tough coming out to Andre Ward’s hometown and he’s got thousands of people flocking around him. You were talking about the people who are actually around you, but what about the people that are just your fan base, who are they and how much can this fight do to expand your fan base?
I mean it could do a lot. I don’t know what type of crowd I’ll have out there in Oakland, but I wouldn’t care if I had one fan in the audience, as long as my family and my closest friends are there, it doesn’t matter to me, so everything is great.
Okay, that was Chad’s last question, so we are going to thank the Champion, the WBC of Ring Magazine, Light-Heavyweight World Champion for joining us, along with his trainer, John Scully. Thank you so much, you guys, and we will see you next week. Looking forward to a great fight. Dan Goossen has returned to the line, and so has Andre Ward and Virgil Hunter. Dan, can you take it from here?
Okay, great. Andre, it’s great to have you out here. Virg, we won’t keep you guys long. Let’s open it up with Virgil to say a few words, then we’ll have you say something, Andre, and then we’ll get to the Q&A. Virg, how is everything going in training?
Everything is going great, Dan. The camp is going well. We’ve winded down the last week. I’m very pleased from where we’re at and what we need to do. We’re very in sync on what we need to do, and very in tune on what’s lying ahead. In that respect, I couldn’t be more happy. I’m glad the fight is getting close. All the heavy work is pretty much out of the way, and now we’re just looking forward to a big evening in Oakland, California.
You mentioned a big evening in Oakland, California, it’s amazing out there. I kind of touched on it at the beginning with the press, at the beginning of this call, and we’ve got tremendous sponsors out there. We’ve got 95.7 The Game, that’s one of the hottest sports talk shows out there in the Bay Area right now that are our sponsor, along with the City of Oakland, the Oakland Tribune. We’ve got Azad Watches. We’ve got Corona, a lot of support out there. Everlast, and I think it just shows the importance and the bigness of this fight and how the City of Oakland and the Bay Area in itself are embracing it, and looking at this is their Superbowl.
Andre, why don’t you say a few words on how training is going, everything else, and then we’ll throw it to the media.
Not really much to say, obviously, we’ve been having our head down and working. I lost track of how long camp has been going on and how much time we’ve got left. I’m just focused on putting in the work every single day. Like Virg said, everything is going according to schedule. The other side, they’ve been doing a lot of talking, and that’s fine. We’ve been quiet, we’ve just been working, and we just, as always, we want to talk about us come fight night, September 8th.
Lem Satterfield, TheRing.com
Hey, Andre, I asked this of Chad, also, and also Virgil; this fight is obviously between two of the best in this sport. I’ve been talking to people about it and different fans and they all see it as going either two ways. There can be a Roy Jones/Bernard Hopkins type of fight where you have two really highly skilled guys kind of sitting back and measuring each other, or you could have a Sugar Ray Leonard/ Thomas Hearns type of fight because you have two great athletes who obviously have built up a great pedigree, not just on their talent, but they’ve shown it in the ring. Virgil, what kind of fight do you see happening? Andre, what kind of fight do you see happening, and all the possibilities?
Well, first of all, the fight in itself is going to be exciting, and I think you have two determined athletes, there’s a lot at stake. I’m sure they’re very much aware of some of the criticism and the critiques that have come that way where it’s amazing to me where people can predetermine the outcome of a fighter, even speak in a negative tone of what they think.
It’s unfortunate today that the purist has been pushed aside for what is deemed, in my eyes, as we no longer teach the art of boxing anymore. We just put some gloves on people and we just point them in the middle of the ring and say, “Go, and swing, and keep swinging, and keep your hands down and get hit in the head, any time you want.”
You can’t help; it’s always got to be of certain, to me, a division of fans who are going to appreciate what boxing is truly all about. It’s also going to be those fans who really don’t understand boxing and can’t get a grasp of what this sport truly is, unless they see something that they consider much exciting today, in terms of 100 head shots landing within five rounds, and bloody noses and busted eyes and things like that, but it is what it is. I expect a great fight and I know coming from my end, Andre Ward is not a boring fighter. When you dominate, he could appear boring, but when we talk about action, he’s an action fighter, without a doubt.
Andre, do you have anything to add to that?
You know what, my mind’s set. I’m on a one-track mission and that’s to get my hand raised. I think if you really watch my fights, I do a little bit of everything in my fights. I think the knock is like Virg said, if you don’t take a certain amount of punishment, then, people who are really not, I don’t want to say ignorant of the sport, but people who like a certain type of fight, if you don’t take a lot of punishment or it doesn’t seem like you’re getting hit that often, you’re reluctant, you’re getting tired of being boring.
Well, the guys that make it in this sport, the greats, the guys that can still walk and talk when their careers are over and still live their lives like Sugar Ray Leonard and guys like Floyd Mayweather, Bernard Hopkins, those guys, obviously they took shots, they’re in the sport of boxing. Those guys are masters, and I’ve always been trained to be a master, and that’s what I’m going to continue training to become is a master of the sport, where even though no fight is easy, you make it look a certain way.
So, I’m really oblivious to what people are saying, how they feel about the fight. I think it’s a great match up. I think the match and the credentials speak for themselves, but I’m locked in, I’m getting my hand raised.
You brought something up that’s interesting is the fact that even though there’s been fights like the Froch fight and the Kessler fight where observers thought it was going to be potentially some of that blood and guts, and when you came into the Super Six, people thought maybe you were going to be exposed as someone who couldn’t take this or that. What is it about your ability, Virgil, both of you, that has allowed you to neutralize other fighters and kind of mute their attack as opposed to what people thought they were going to see?
Well, it’s tough to say. At the end of the day, we put in our work, we study, we do all the things we’re supposed to do, and then from there, it’s just the desire to win and the desire to come out on top. Like I said before, none of those fights were easy, but we found a way to get it done. I think that’s the mark of a potentially great fighter.
It’s just plain and simple, Andre Ward knows how to fight. It’s like in any other sport, when you know your craft and someone’s on the receiving end of that craft, then it’s made to look easy. Look, there’re a lot of times we can say that these two guys had a tremendous amount of heart because they went in the middle of the ring, they dug their feet in the canvas, and they went toe-to-toe. I, in particular, think that’s an out and it’s a margin of error.
Let me tell you something, man, any fighter if you gave him a choice, if you gave them the opportunity, if I had a magic wand and I said, I can poof you here and you can go up to a fight and you won’t take no punishment. Or I can poor you here and you can go into to a fight and you’ll give some of the greatest toe-to-toe fights in history. I guarantee you he’s going to take the one where he’s taking no punishment. It comes down to ability, it comes down to talent, and it comes down to understanding the art and the craft of boxing.
So, when you see two guys going toe-to-toe, nine times out of ten, if you look at all their fights, these fights suggest this because there’re limitations somewhere. So, they were taught how to fight in such a way that they missed a lot of things that the game offered in terms of developing craft.
So, I can’t be fooled. Every single person who looks for this fight-if they had a son that chose boxing and they had an opportunity to have a coach that’ll teach their son how to hit and not to get hit, they’re going to take that coach before they take one that’ll say, well, I’ll take your son and he’ll give just as much as he takes. They’re going to take that coach that says, I can have your son hit and not get hit. So, to me, that’s excitement in boxing, mastering that craft. So, again, I say it’s limitations on the other fighter.
Even when you look at Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns, you saw strategy in that in fight. Now, when they got older and they lost some of their physical ability and attributes, the second fight was a little bit more action packed. They didn’t, there was lesser athletic ability, they were a little older. But, that first fight, that was a very strategic fight. It was not what you would call a slam, bam, drag-you-to-the-mud type fight.
Alexis Terrazas from The San Francisco Examiner
You’ve always been a guy, maybe the best that I’ve seen in action early and all that, active today that is really effective at making the other guy adapt to you. In other words, you take them out of their game plan, you do such. But how will you do that against Dawson? A pure boxer, a guy who’s a southpaw, he’s tall, and ultimately he’s good. So, how are you going to make him bend to your will, so to speak?
Well, I have 12 rounds, number one and really the foundation is what it’s been for every single fight, that’s getting myself in tip-top shape, my mind is right, I’m ready for war, and we have a game plan and whatever adjustments need to made along the way, they’ll be made. I mean, I can’t give you this blueprint on how it’s going to be done, but the idea is for it to get done regardless of how it gets done.
A lot of people are making a big deal about Chad’s height and reach and that’s a given. He’s got the height and reach advantage, but you’ve got to look at it from my standpoint, from the athlete’s standpoint, I’m not enamored with that. I’m not spooked by the height and the reach deficit. I’m coming to get a job done September 8th, and it’s no different than any other fight that I’ve been in. Whether it’s Abraham who’s short, squatty, and explosive, Carl Froch who’s strong, long, and wiry. I mean, at the end of the day you got to find a way and I’ve always said that and September 8th will be no different.
Is it going to be like a mixture, though, of maybe fighting on the inside and maybe staying outside, or are you going to try to use that as kind of a game plan?
Once again, I can’t give you a blueprint on exactly what’s going to happen, this is a fight. So, if we knew exactly how it was going to happen, that’d be great, but you don’t know. But, again, if you watch my fights and if you’re familiar with my fights, that’s what we do. We show what we have to show. Whether it’s inside, outside, the key is not to be one-dimensional, so I think you’re accurate when you say that.
Okay. What concerns you most about fighting Chad and fighting at home? Fighting at home usually is kind of chalked up as an advantage, but not always. So, what’s your concerns about Chad Dawson in Oakland?
I really don’t have any concerns. I respect my opponent. I understand who I’m fighting. I watched Chad for years. Obviously, I’ve honed in on him a little bit more as of late since this fight had been signed and whatnot. But, I don’t know if concern is the right word. We respect the other side. They seem to be doing some good work over there.
There should be no excuses when this fight is over. I’m looking forward for a tremendous fight. Once again, I got another great competitor at the other end of the ring, but I plan on getting my hand raised. I sacrificed a lot to get to this point and I still feel like it’s timing. That’s what it kind of what it boils down to.
Once again, from the athlete’s standpoint, I don’t get caught up in a lot of the things that are out there. I’m a one-track-mind. I’ve been in training camp for a long time. I’ve been preparing for this fight for a long time. So, some of the other things don’t even come into my mind in terms of what I’m concerned about.
As far as fighting at home, obviously, it’s different in terms of it being the home base, but I’m just looking forward to giving the fans a great show. My zone is going to be as if me and Chad Dawson are the only two people in that arena. That’s how I approach these fights. Then when it’s all said and done, I can show the fans my appreciation for coming out.
I’ll let you go with this, Andre, we all called it 24/7. This was one of the highest publicized part of your career. How are you dealing with these cameras, man? Is it just any other fight, or is it maybe a little different and getting used to?
I’ll be honest, I mean, I think being in the Super Six, the cameras, and that tournament going on for as long as it did, I probably had more cameras and more responsibilities from that standpoint. We’ve been here before in term of having the cameras. We’ve still got to stay focused and get our work in, it’s just being documented. They were in and out. I think the show turned out to be great, and God willing, I look forward to being back on 24/7 real soon.
Dan Rafael, ESPN.com
Andre, first off, one of the reasons, I guess, that you haven’t fought since you won the Super Six at the end of last year, part of the reason anyway, was because you had that hand injury that you had before the Froch fight. You gutted out the Froch fight, got the win, let the hand get better. I’m curious, how is the left hand?
My hand is fine. I’ve had zero hand problems, period in this camp. In previous camps, I’ve wrapped my own hands and did a pretty good job, but I’ve taken the time to have someone, Robert Garcia, here in the Bay area, wrap my hands every day and it’s had a tremendous effect on my hands in terms of not having any injuries, but that specific injury, it’s fine. I’ve had no problems.
Here in the Bay area.
I want to make sure I didn’t too confused there. Virgil, have you noticed any problems?
No. There’s absolutely no problems with the hand at all, it’s strong. We did the proper thing to rehabilitate it, the proper rest and the proper rehabilitation exercises. The hand has presented no problem at all.
Okay. That’s good to hear. Also Andre, I was wondering when we were talking with Chad a little while ago, he talked about the fact that he’s coming down to 168 to fight you for your championship, addressed the questions about the ease or difficulties in which he might have of making that weight so there was no problem. He basically said, I asked him, “Is this a one-and-done, come to 68 and see what you can do, and then whatever the outcome, go back and continue to defend the Light Heavyweight title?”
I wonder from your point of view-this fight is taking place in your weight division, 168 where you’re the champion, but I wonder, do you think that in the future you can fight successfully at 175 or could you be a guy that could go back and forth between those weight divisions, and more or less just sort of look for-if there’s a big fight for you at 175 take that opportunity or stick around at 168 if some other big opportunity comes up?
Whenever the time comes then I definitely want to go up and be a multi-divisional champion. I’m going to be real careful about going back and forth, I think sometimes guys get in trouble with that. Once I go up and build my body up to be 175 pounds, I’ll probably stay there, and I probably won’t come back down.
So, do you see yourself then having a few more good years left at 168 where there’s still some good guys out there?
It’s hard to say how long it is. I mean, when I came into the professional ranks and slowly made my way down to 160, it was kind of an abrupt decision. Virg and I were on the same page. It was after, I forgot what fight it was, and we were both on the same page and we hadn’t even talked. We just got on the phone one day and said, “Man, it’s time to go up.” So, I think sometime the thought happens. I don’t know how many more fights, how many more years I have at 68, but we think going up in weight, I don’t want to say it’s going to come sooner than later, but I think it’s around the corner.
Dan Goossen, can you address that from your point of view as the promoter about where you think you can have great success with Andre. Like he just mentioned, maybe staying at 168 for a while longer, maybe going at some point to 75, not wanting to go back and forth between the weight classes?
I’ve always been a true believer, Dan, that those are decisions with the fighters and the trainer. Andre knows the sacrifices that he has to make to make a certain weight and one of the things you don’t want to do is give them any anchors around their neck to say, “You got to weigh at 168 because that’s the better division.” For his health, for his safety, for his pure ability to bring out the best in himself physically, it’s wherever his weight lies. So, those are decisions I leave in the hands of Andre and Virgil. They’re the pros at that.
Thank you. Andre, one other question, I’m wondering, when you were presented with this fight as a possibility, and the discussion then became, okay, well what weight class are we going to do this in? Because you’re the champion in your weight division and he’s the champion in his weight division. Some guys would have opted for a catch weight. It’s more common for the smaller guy to go up and challenge the bigger guy. It is a little more unusual for the bigger guy to come down a weight class.
How was it that you wound up getting the fight in the weight class that you wanted it? Even though he said, as he talked about earlier that when he was on the HBO interview after one of his fights, he did say that he would go to 168, but there’s a difference between saying to a camera and actually signing a contract.
I think first and foremost, he shouldn’t have said it. That’s Negotiating 101. He negotiated against himself when he said that, first of all. Second of all, I personally never demanded a weight. Now, you have to understand that the promoters, they talk and I’m sure Dan and Gary had initial discussions probably before, I don’t know, but probably before Bernard Hopkins. I’m not privvy to every conversation.
Dan brings back what he needs to bring back, but in terms of me demanding 170, that never happened. As far as I’m concerned, when I sat on my couch, and I heard him say what he said, the fight was signed, sealed, and delivered at that weight. It was never brought to me in terms of what weight do you want it to be at. It was a foregone conclusion. For him to say that on national television, then double back, and say, “Oh, we wanted 170.” That’s a contradiction of what he said in the post-fight interview. Why would you say that and then try to go back and get a catch weight? Well, it doesn’t work like that. This is business.
Okay. Andre, so your point of view is that if this fight was going to be for your title, it was 168 maximum, if it was going to be for his title, it would’ve been a 175 maximum, no in between catch-weight stuff.
I didn’t even get a chance to get that far. I wasn’t ruling out a catch weight and I didn’t demand it to be at 68. I was presented something, and I accepted it and that’s as far as it went.
Okay. So the only thing you ever gave your promoter was 168?
Okay. Which means that your promoter did a good job negotiating your fight, I guess. Congratulations.
But we’re not apologizing for that. No.
Exactly. All right. I just wanted to clear that up. Thank you, Andre. I look forward to seeing you next week. Thanks, Virgil.
Colin Seymour, Examiner.com
Andre, you were talking about your respect for Dawson. Last week you mentioned that you don’t really think that the Dawson people have that much respect for you. Can you elaborate on that? What it is they’re not reckoning with?
Well, first of all let me just clarify, when I say I respect him, I mean I’m realistic about what I’m coming up against. Sometimes guys, for whatever reason, it’s almost like they refuse to see the strengths of their opponent and what their opponent does well, and that’s one thing we do in this camp, is we give guys credit where credit is due. If they do something well or if they do a combination of things well, we have to acknowledge them because that’s what we’re facing. We’re not going to tear a guy down or anything like that. If anything, we’ll give them more credit than they deserve just so we prepare mentally and physically the right way.
But, what I alluded to in terms of his side and his team is, once you’re around the sport a long time, you can just be around a person for a short period time and you can tell if a guy is intimidated, if a guy is respectful, is confident. I just don’t think that they’re really giving us much credit. I think they’re giving us some superficial praise because they have to, but when they turn on the tape or the DVD or whatever they’re watching, it jumps out at them and that’s fine because this is not the first time that I’ve had has happened. I actually like it. I love to not get the respect that I deserve prior to, because it just keeps you in the right frame of mind going into a fight and you have that chip on your shoulder to prove otherwise.
It will be fun to watch. I’m looking forward to seeing you this week. Thank you.
Eddie Goldman, No Holds Barred
Thank you very much. Hello, everybody. Andre, in this fight, we have a champion versus champion fight and we know the accomplishments and the records of both of you. Can you tell us what you think what your advantages are? Why you think you’re going to win this fight?
I don’t know. I think I’ll kind of leave that for you guys to kind of talk about. That’s tough. Sometimes these questions, it’s tough to give you one thing and say, I’m going to win because of this. I mean, I’m just a competitor, I’m in great shape, and whether it’s Chad Dawson or whether it’s somebody else, I hate to be mundane about my responses, but you’ve got to get the job done and that’s what we’re prepared to do-whatever it takes to get the job done. I think the fans are going to see several dimensions come September 8th from me and my team and I’m just looking forward to it, but it’s hard to give you reason why I’m going to win. I’m just ready to go.
In the past, you’ve described yourself sort of as a chameleon who adapts his style to other fighters. Can you give us any hint what we can expect against Dawson? Is he going to have a height advantage, southpaw, and all of that?
Well, I just think that where they’ve gauged me and what they have me in their minds, I just think it’s going to be different, from the speed, to the strength, to the power. If you let them tell it, they got every advantage in the book and that’s just not a reality. He can have the height and the reach advantage, I’m not going to argue that, but when they say they’re bigger, they’re faster, they’re stronger I just think they’re going to realize very quickly that’s not the case.
Last thing, Virgil. Can you explain why you think that Andre has the advantages in this fight?
I think he pretty much covered it all. You can only go on feedback until the actual fight starts. Again, as he says, to let the Dawson camp say that they have all the advantages, so, I would say just in that sense itself, we have an advantage in him having all the advantages. So, I’ll take that advantage. I’ll take my advantage and you having all the advantages and then we can smooth it out from then on.
So, again, like you said the height and reach is a given, although the height is really in the length of his neck and not true height, it’s the length of his neck, and reach has never been a significant factor in boxing in my book and a lot of other books. It’s distance and range, but he can have those. But, if I had to say one advantage is that it’s our disadvantage, that’s our advantage, being at a disadvantage in there and then I’ll take that.
Robert Hough, Fightnews.com
Looking around at BoxFact, Andre, I had seen that by my math, this is going to be the longest layoff of your pro career, and I wondered if when you got into camp and perhaps subsequent to that, you noticed anything different being a little bit off the rhythm you had established in the years previous to that?
Things were horrible, man. I was rusty, my sparring partners were working me every day, and I was on the verge of cancelling this fight, man. I cannot be off this long ever again.
Seriously? I mean did you feel any rust or just a little bit different to get out of the rhythm you had established.
No. I feel fine. Everything is good. I think if you really look at it. I think with the knee injury-this may have been the longest layoff by a month or something like that, but I’ve had six, seven, and eight-month layoffs. They’re not ideal, but they happen for various reasons. Just like in the ring when I say you got to find a way to get it done, I mean, I have a responsibility as a fighter to live the sport, to live it out every day. Just because I’m off, it doesn’t mean that I have to let my body go, it doesn’t mean that I abuse my body, and that I’m not focused on boxing.
I literally think about this sport every day whether I have a layoff or not. I just think those little things of just always having your mind on the sport, obviously, I’m not training at a training camp level, but I’m always sharpening my tools. I try to keep my body at a certain level in terms of fitness and just having age on my side is a big deal, too.
So, we haven’t noticed anything. There hasn’t been any problems, and this layoff is a non-issue. If anything, it’s done me some good because I trained really, really hard and that takes a toll on the body, but then you also have the Super Six and the toll that that took. And coming off of that, I think it was a good thing. I think it was a good thing even though it wasn’t ideal, I think it was good that I was able to get that rest, both mentally and physically.
We talked in Oakland after the Froch fight, obviously, there was the hand, you said that you just sort of physically a little chewed up and worn down, and the mental side of it and your fourth child coming along. Your oldest daughter on 24/7 was utterly hysterical, by the way.
Yes, she “stole the show.”
Yes. She was the star of that show, maybe. But, you’ve always talked about how you have the laser focus on the fight that’s right in front of you, but nonetheless, you’ve got this awareness of the fighters in or near your weight. After Froch, was Dawson on your radar? Was it something that you, Virgil, and Dan were talking about seriously? Did it come up as sort of a surprise? Is it an opportunity you looked at? Can you talk some about that?
Really, neither. I mean, he wasn’t on my radar in terms of me gunning for him and it didn’t come as a surprise. I say that because anybody that’s close or near to my weight class, there’s a possibility we may get it on or we may fight someday. So, Chad has always been at 75 or started at 68 and went to 75.
He’s always made comments and I recognize those comments about how easy it was to make 168, so it was definitely inevitable one day that it was going to happen. But no, it was presented after the Super Six, after a couple months of rest and some people said, why don’t you fight Dawson? And we said, “Why not. He’s a great fighter-let’s get it on and let the best man win.”
Kelly Okay. Dan, do you want to make any closing comments? We are at the end of this call.
Well, I do want to thank Ken Hershman, Mark Taffet, and Gary Davis of HBO. They’ve put a lot of marketing muscle into this event and for good reason. They, no slight to Chad Dawson, but Andre Ward is utilizing this event, this bout. Robert just asked a question here, I remember sitting after the Froch fight, Andre said to Bute, “Fight someone.” Okay. And Andre’s goal here as Virgil and James Prince, Antonio Leonard- it’s about fighting the best out there.
This is what boxing needs. This is what Ward thrives on and this is what Andre Ward’s done since he took on the challenge of the Super Six when everyone thought we were crazy to do it. Chad Dawson’s got a lot of good names on his resume. All it does is build up Andre Ward to that next level-that next step and HBO recognizes that Andre does, his camp does, we all do, and September 8th, we’re looking forward to a great event.
One other thing I’m going to touch on that Virgil did and Andre did-one thing I’ve been saying about Andre, he’s a fighter. Okay, whenever I hear anybody say anything about him not being a fighter or not being exciting-he’s very exciting because he fights and he’ll continue to fight because that’s what he loves to do. That doesn’t mean he sticks his chin out there, but he goes out there and takes control.
Someone asked Chad Dawson a question today on this conference call about what are you going to do when that bell starts the fight, and he had some vanilla answer, he didn’t really say anything. Well, I’ll tell you what Andre Ward will do, and Andre, if I’m incorrect here you tell me, but he does what he always does, right when that bell rings, he’ll be out there fighting, taking control of that fight.
Anyway, I do want to thank everyone for getting on. It’s been a great promotion, not only locally in the Bay area, but also throughout the United States. Andre, great job. Virgil, thank you again.
About: “Ward vs. Dawson – World Champions – Made In America”
Andre Ward vs. Chad Dawson World Championship showdown, set to take place September 8 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. The co-feature will see WBC Champion Antonio DeMarco battle John “The Gladiator” Molina Jr. in a 12-round fight for the WBC Lightweight title. Both bouts will be televised live on HBO® World Championship Boxing at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT.
The event is promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions in association with Gary Shaw Promotions in association with Antonio Leonard Productions and SOG Promotions and sponsored by Corona, City of Oakland, Azad Watches and 95.7 The Game.
Tickets priced at $300, $200, $100, $75, $50 and $25 and are available for purchase online at www.oraclearena.com, www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are also available at the ORACLE Arena box office.