WARD, P4P & CARIBBEAN MUSIC
Hello senor Fischer,
I watched the Andre Ward-Chad Dawson fight at a dive bar in Medellin with the sound off and accompanied by loud vallenato music, which, surprisingly, is not the ideal way to watch boxing. But I was highly impressed with Ward. The last I saw of him was the Carl Froch fight, and while I respected Ward’s ability I placed him firmly in the category of fighters I wouldn’t pay to watch. But after the systematic destruction of Dawson, I sat up and took notice.
I read Kevin Iole’s column on the matter and thought it both odd and strangely predictable that he began a column about Ward by talking about how amazing Floyd Mayweather is. But he brought up an interesting point in that Manny Pacquiao hasn’t done a whole lot recently to stay ranked above human delivery devices of pain and punishment such as Ward. Of course he left Floyd “I fight three times every five years” Mayweather out of the “what have you done for me lately?” category, but that’s hardly a shocker.
The fact is, it really doesn’t seem like either Pacquiao or Mayweather has done anything of late to stave off Andre Ward’s relentless march to the top. I guess my questions are A) If Andre Ward isn’t top dog now, how long will it be before he is (assuming he continues to do what he is doing)? And B) After cleaning out his division tournament style and now having beaten the best at 175 – who the hell does he fight next? – Chris in Colombia
Thanks for the email, Chris. It’s always nice to hear from readers in South America.
Those are two very good questions, which don’t have easy answers.
My answer to A) is that Ward could arguably be considered the pound-for-pound king right now. Whether he leapfrogs Nonito Donaire, Sergio Martinez, and the dynamic duo into the No. 1 spot now or in the very near future depends on one’s criteria. If an elite fighter’s entire body of work (what he’s accomplished throughout his career) is heavily factored into your decision, you gotta keep Pac and May at the top of your pound-for-pound list. And you can make an argument that Donaire has done more with his weight hopping routine than Dre has in the 168-pound division.
However, if you go all Janet Jackson and take the “what-have-done-for-me-lately” stance, I think installing Ward at No. 1 is an easy choice. He cleaned out the super middleweight division in dominant fashion en route to winning the Super Six tournament, unified two alphabet titles, earned THE RING championship, and beat the light heavyweight champ, who was also considered an elite boxer. Ward has done all of this within the span of three years.
Not too shabby, Dre.
I’m not at all surprised that my esteemed peer Mr. Iole began his post-fight column on Ward by gushing over Mayweather. The oldest member of The Money Team supplanted Leonard Ellerbe as the President of the Floyd Mayweather Fan Club a few years ago. However, it should be noted that he’s the founder of the Andre Ward Appreciation Society! Iole not only predicted that Ward would win the Super Six tournament, he also foresaw that the Oakland O.G. would ascend to the all-important pound-for-pound throne and one day evolve into an all-time great.
Not too shabby, Kev.
My answer to question B) is that have no idea. He’ll have some ho-hum WBC and WBA mandatories to take care of at some point, but the only fighters I would really care to see him face – because I think they are the only boxers on the planet who can compete with him – are Andre Dirrell (after a tune-up bout) and Sergio Martinez (if he destroys Junior) at super middleweight, and Nathan Cleverly and Jean Pascal at light heavyweight.
WARD & P4P DEBATE
Yes he does, pops, and if he continues to break guys down and score knockouts he will be a pleasure to watch and a boon to the sport (provided he fights more than once a year).
I don’t know if Ward will supplant Floyd and Manny on the pound-for-pound lists compiled by THE RING staff, the boxing scribes who participate in the Yahoo! Sports poll or ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael but he’s certainly done enough to merit the debate. That’s saying something.
NEW P4P KING
Andre Ward is the best fighter in the world. Sorry Pac, May, and Sergio….he hasn’t lost more than a round in 5 years.
Who in any class above, in, or below him would not be at least a 2 to 1 underdog? – Tony K.
I can’t come up with anyone from 160 to 175 pounds who I would make even-money against Ward at the present time.
Calm down a bit with the “rounds-won” tally, Tony. Although Ward shut out Allan Green on all three official scorecards and went 12-0 in rounds with one of the official judges in his bouts against Sakio Bika and Arthur Abraham, he also lost a few rounds to Abe and Saki. (I thought the 120-108 scorecards in both the Bika and Abraham fights gave Ward too much benefit.)
We all can agree that he owned A.G., and personally, I thought he won every round against Mikkel Kessler, but he didn’t shut out the Dane on the official scorecards.
He loses rounds, but not many and not often.
What’s up Dougie,
Andre Ward is quietly and subtly becoming the best pound for pound fighter in the world! He’s fundamentally bad ass, has some pop to his punch, and has the heart of a champ!
As a boxing expert and insider, who would you like to see the “Oakland Raider” fight next? Maybe Jean Pascal? I don’t care what anybody says about him, the guy can fight, and he puts on clinics! What say you, Mr. Fisher? – Miguel, LBC
What say I? Ward can fight and he puts on clinics. (It’s pretty much the same thing I and just about every other boxing writer and hardcore fan on the globe said going into the Dawson match.)
As for who I would like to see the Oakland Raider (love that nickname) fight next, I think Pascal could be an interesting matchup given the former 175-pound champ’s unorthodox athleticism. However, let’s not forget that a 45- and 46-year-old Bernard Hopkins gave the Quebec-based Haitian hell and nobody in the sport resembles the prime B-Hop more than Ward – so who knows? Maybe Ward would trash “Mr. Tight Pants” (as Dawson dubbed Pascal at the press conference following his first tussle with Nard).
Martinez could be an interesting machup as well given his mobile style, ring smarts, heart and vast experience. He has to look amazing vs. Chavez Jr. this Saturday for fans to buy into this potential superfight, and, of course, the middleweight champ has to be willing to step up to 168 pounds (or Ward has to be willing to fight at a catchweight).
If Gennady Golovkin continues to win and prove himself on U.S. TV, I believe he can develop into an attractive opponent for Ward. I know GGG has the physical strength and power to be a threat, and judging from some of his amateur victories – the KO of Lucian Bute and 2004 Olympic victory over Andre Dirrell – he knows how to fight bigger boxers who are athletically gifted.
However, if I could choose who Ward fights next I’d go with Dirrell – if only because of the many story lines and potential electricity of the promotion.
First of all, you have the buddy angle. They’re friends dating back to the amateurs and were Olympic teammates.
Then you have the unfinished business angle – they were supposed to fight in the Super Six tournament.
Then you have the actual matchup, which pits Dirrell’s amazing ability and talent against Ward’s technique and tenacity. The Michigan native doesn’t have Ward’s textbook form or steely focus but he’s a superior athlete (at least in terms of raw speed and reflexes). Plus, he’s got an unorthodox, switch-hitting style, which could bother Ward. And from what we saw of his two Super Six bouts – the split decision loss to Froch and the DQ win over Arthur Abraham – Dirrell is clearly a world-class competitor. I thought he outpointed Froch and we all saw him outclass Abe (at least until the late rounds).
Then you have clash of the managers/promoters. Now that Dirrell is part of the upstart TMT Promotions, their press conference will be the first time Mayweather gets to face his former advisor James Prince (Ward’s manager) in public.
I don’t think Floyd would direct any smack talk toward Prince, but I’m fairly certain that Mr. Rap-a-Lot Records will go into Chucky mode once he gets behind a mic.
However, while Floyd Jr. might be leery of Prince (and for good reason), that doesn’t mean Floyd Sr., who is reportedly working with Dirrell, will keep his trap shut. The elder Mayweather might channel Stripe the evil Gremlin while delivering one of his infamous press conference poems.
And finally, the official title of the showdown (one I proposed years ago) would make this a can’t-miss promotion: DRE DAY.
WHAT IF? – WARD-DAWSON
1) Do you think it would have been any different at 175 and
2) Since there is basically no one else left for Ward do you think Kelly Pavlik could make a fight of it? – Kevin Key, Minneapolis, MN
1) I think Ward would have won in dominant fashion had the fight taken place at light heavyweight, but I don’t think he would have dropped Dawson or scored a late stoppage. I think he would have mugged him en route to a one-sided UD.
2) I like Pavlik and I still think he can make noise at 168 or 160 pounds, but he’s tailor-made for Ward. I don’t think he would be competitive with the super middleweight champ.
STOPPING THE FIGHT
How are you? I haven’t written in a minute, but a few things bothered me this weekend. What was your opinion on Chad Dawson’s decision to stop fighting? Also did you think the stoppages of Matthysse-Ajose and DeMarco-Molina were appropriate?
My guess is fans and media will criticize Dawson heavily for his perceived lack of heart. To me, he showed uncommon wherewithal. Ward was dominating him in every phase of the fight. Dawson realistically had no shot to win. The only thing that could happen if he continued was injury. Dawson made a smart decision. Why risk his health to keep going when he’s going to lose anyway? After all, he’s still the light heavyweight champion.
But we can’t expect every fighter to protect themselves. That’s why we have referees and cornermen. To me, Russell Mora and Ajose’s corner failed him badly. To his credit, Ajose wasn’t going to give up. At some point in the middle rounds, it was obvious he wasn’t going to win, either. But he continuously took hellish shots snapping his head back from a real puncher. I also felt Irving Garcia’s corner failed him when he tried to explain that he couldn’t breathe and they sent him back out anyway.
As far as the DeMarco-Molina stoppage, it may have been premature. But I always believe a premature stoppage is better than one that comes too late. Molina has an L, but he’ll be back to fight another day. Be well. – David, Washington, DC
I agree with you, David.
I think Dawson was no longer in the fight – mentally, physically or spiritually – and he was beginning to take an awful beating. He did the right thing. The fight was already over and Ward earned the technical stoppage.
Had Dawson tried to gain some kind of “moral victory” by going the full 12 rounds he would have risked permanent damage and a shortened career, which is something that may happened to Ajose, who was just too tough and defiant for his own good.
The undefeated Nigerian was game and willing to go out on his shield, which I respect and appreciate because it gave us a compelling fight for a number of rounds, but he was absorbing HALF of the power punches Matthysse threw and those shots were banging the upper part of his skull in a way that gave me chills. I don’t like to see guys take all-over beatings the way Ajose did for nine-plus rounds. We won’t know until he fights again, but I won’t be surprised if he’s not the same fighter going forward.
Ajose’s corner should have tossed the towel in after the seventh round. Ajose outhustled Matthyse in the eighth, but after the Argentine machine’s strong final minute in the ninth SOMEBODY should have said enough is enough and ended the damn fight. That 10th round was scary.
I would have liked it if referee Jack Reiss (one of my favorite officials and one of the best refs in the biz, IMO) issued Molina a count rather than wave the bout off, just to see if the usually resilient Californian slugger could weather DeMarco’s early storm, but I understand the stoppage.
Molina did not react the way a world-class fighter should in that situation. He should have tried to tie DeMarco up, taken a knee, or let his heavy hands go in a blaze of glory. However, Molina covered up “armadillo style” and sat his butt to the lower ring rope. Doing that gave Reiss the impression that he was being overwhelmed and when a fighter is overwhelmed it’s the duty of the referee to step in and save him from needless punishment and potential serious injury.