Although things got a little testy during Monday’s press conference promoting the clash of RING champions between Andre Ward and Chad Dawson at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., the tension did not come so much from the fighters.
Dawson’s promoter, Gary Shaw, apparently took offense at the notion that Dawson (31-1, 17 knockouts) was being cast as the opponent, since the HBO-televised bout will take place on Sept. 8 in Ward’s hometown of Oakland.
“Chad Dawson is not your opponent. He’s equal if not better,” said Shaw, sitting next to Dawson on the dais. “He didn’t come here for the money, he came here because he is a great fighter, and you should respect that.”
Sitting next to his trainer, Virgil Hunter, Ward (25-0, 13 KOs) attempted to interject, saying, “this is the fighters’ press conference. This is not for the promoters, it’s for the fighters.”
When Shaw continued, Hunter also tried to intervene.
“Can you talk, Chad? You can talk, Chad, can’t you?” said Hunter. “We know that you don’t talk much, but come on Chad, quit letting that man talk for you, man.”
A 29-year-old southpaw out of New Haven, Conn., Dawson is coming off a majority decision win over the legendary Bernard Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KOs) to become RING and WBC light heavyweight champion in April.
Dawson also owns two wins over Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson, one each over Tomasz Adamek and Adrian Diaconu, and the one loss by an 11th-round technical decision against ex-beltholder Jean Pascal in August of 2010.
Dawson is dropping to 168 to face Ward, a 28-year-old 2004 Olympic gold medalist.
Ward became THE RING’s super middleweight champion in December, when he unanimously decisioned Carl Froch to add the Englishman’s WBC 168-pound belt to the WBA crown that he already owned, in addition to earning him the Showtime Super Six World Boxing Classic Cup.
In the tournament, Ward out-pointed former four-time beltholder Mikkel Kessler, once-beaten contender Allan Green and former middleweight titleholder Arthur Abraham. Prior to facing Abraham, Ward overcame RING-rated Sakio Bika in a 12-round non-tournament bout.
Molina is coming off of a decision over Miguel Angel Munguia (25-23-1, 21 KOs) on June 23, and DeMarco, a fifth-round stoppage of Miguel Roman in March.
SHAW SIGNS UNBEATEN MIDDLEWEIGHT TUREANO JOHNSON
Shaw has announced the signing of undefeated middleweight prospect Tureano Johnson (9-0, 6 KOs), a 28-year-old resident of Georgia. Johnson represented the Bahamas in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and had an extensive amateur career.
HBO OFFERS AMIR KHAN’S GREATEST HITS
Khan (26-2, 18 knockouts) lost his IBF and WBA belts in December to Lamont Peterson, who has since been stripped by the WBA after having tested positive for the banned substance testosterone.
HBO has produced a video of Khan’s Greatest Hits, which can be viewed by clicking here.
OLD SCHOOL BOXING RETURNS TO HOLLYWOOD
There was a time when “The Brown Bomber,” Joe Louis, promoted weekly boxing shows at The Moulin Rouge Night Club on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, Calif.
Boxing events at the Florentine Gardens on Hollywood Blvd., which opened in 1938, once attracted celebrities such as Humphrey Bogart, Clarke Gable, Rudolph Valentino and Errol Flynn.
Promoter Steve Bash and Art of Boxing Promotions will try to recapture the nostalgia on Thursday night with a 10-bout card called “Hollywood Fight Night” at Florentine Gardens.
“It was always a desire of ours to get boxing back into Hollywood, particularly with Hollywood’s history with regular boxing shows that featured mostly local fighters. There used to be shows where there was a certain allure. Whoever the lead in Hollywood was at the time, they would be there every week. Whether it was Marilyn Monroe or Mae West or Clark Gable or the Marx Brothers,” said Bash.
“This was the most significant thing going on in the city that night. So there is a desire to go back into Hollywood and to recreate that and to focus on the local guys. So we’ll have guys who are right from the Hollywood area who train out of the Wild Card or out of the Justin Fortune Gym and a couple of other gyms in the area.”
Among the prospects is Hollywood-based welterweight Zachary “Kid Yamaka” Wohlman (3-0, 1 KO), who is trained by Freddie Roach, as well as Los Angeles welterweight Terrell “Tyger” Williams (4-0, 3 KOs) and British import Liam “Punch” Vaughan (4-1), also of Hollywood.
“Of the 18 fighters on the card, 15 of them are from within 20 miles of Hollywood, and a lot of them are fighting each other. This show has been pretty popular from the buzz going around. We’re bringing back some old-style things,” said Bash.
“For example, there will be two barber’s chairs set up in the lobby where guys can get free shaves and there will be a shoe shine guy. Our programs will look like old newspapers out of the 1950s, and we will have newsies passing them out. The ring card girls will be dressed in a more burlesque style. We’re just trying to re-create that old-school feel once a month or at least every six weeks or so with a regular show in Hollywood.”
Photos by Alexis Cuarezma-Goossen Tutor
Graphics courtesy of Steve Bash
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org