“Bad” Chad Dawson (Black trunks)
A slick, crafty southpaw coming straight off a close decision of an all time great Bernard Hopkins. Fighting out of New Haven, Connecticut and coming into this fight with only one loss to the heavy handed Jean Pascal. He is a very tall 6’3″ and held a 5inch reach advantage here. He was ranked 10th pound for pound fighter going into this fight. Although many of his Knockouts came from his powerful left hand it was his versatile right hook that did most of his work. Here is a quick Highlight so you know what he can do.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uncQ7OE6Tyo
Andre “SOG” Ward (Blue Trunks)
A fighter many believe is in line to take the number 1 pound for pound spot now that Floyd Mayweather has retired. This Olympic gold medalist is one of the most brilliant technical fighters out there. He just has so many ways to land his offense and shut down his opponent’s. I’m not going to lie to you, this is the first fight of his I’ve ever watched and I came away very impressed.
The active lead hand and ringcraft
Dawson is trying to walk Andre down here and corner him to limit his movement and defensive options. But Ward keeps on touching Dawson’s lead hand as he comes in. When Chad finally sets himself to punch Ward pushes his lead hand over to his right, he uses his right forearm to trap Chad’s lead hand allowing him to get out of the corner. He gets back out to the center of the ring before stepping in with a feint. Dawson responds with a left hook to the body but Ward sees it coming and steps out of range.
The sticky punch setup
Andre again steps in with a feint trying to get Chad to respond. Chad dips his head to the left and Andre shoots his 1-2 trying to catch him as he moves his head. Rather than retract his right, he uses it to stop Chad from moving his head back to the left, opening him up for a hard overhand left hook. Dawson steps out and Ward steps in with that active lead hand again distracting Chad enough to land a jab before pre-emptively moving his head to duck Dawson’s return fire.
The first knockdown
Here Ward is walking to his right before suddenly changing direction to obtain lead foot dominance on the southpaw. Because both fighters have the same foot forward the range at which a righty vs lefty fight takes place at is a bit longer range than usual. So in order to punch with power you have to step around your opponents lead foot. This lines up your power hand for a hard shot. Generally speaking in who ever can do this more in the fight will land the better punches and come away with the win.
Ward comes in with a right hand to the body that Dawson overreacts to. He dropped both his hands to defend it and leaves himself wide open for a flush left hook that lands on the tip of his chin.
Cheating, brilliance or coincidence?
Andre steps in with another hard left hook that drops Chad. Or does it? Watch the feet. Ward steps on Chad’s foot as he lands the punch making Dawson unable to step back and he goes down. Now this kind of thing happens a lot with a righty vs lefty match-up and Ward landed a hard punch here, so it is ruled a knockdown. But Ward may have done it on purpose as so many crafty fighters have done before. I personally believe he knew exactly what he was doing.
Chad seemed to take the punch and was trying to return to his upright stance but ends up going down as he tries to step out of range. In either case, he has lost another point.
Patience and shifting
One of the greatest assets a fighter can possess. Dawson is stuck covering up on the ropes and instead of going all out Ward takes his time to pick his shots and land quite accurately. Notice how he throws 4 punches and steps out, 4 punches then steps out, he does this to prevent Dawson from trying to clinch with him and force the referee to let him off the ropes.Then after largely hitting gloves and forearms with his first 2 combos, he decides to get a bit tricky. He throws a right hand to the body and steps his right foot forward with it opening up a perfect angle for his (now more powerful) left uppercut. This stance shifting is a brilliant way to open up different offensive opportunities.
Using the lead hand to shut down offense