by Cliff Rold
Middleweight’s rapid return to ‘hot spot’ status is coming together. Super Middleweight has yet to cool off. In what might be the best joint time for both division’s since the early 90s, fans will see something rare this weekend.
The pattern is established in boxing: win titles and move up. It isn’t often we see the two lineal kings of two weight classes square off for the smaller man’s crown. In a head scratcher, only Super Middleweight Champion Andre Ward’s title is on the line this weekend when he faces Light Heavyweight Champion Chad Dawson. Given the vast number of catchweight fights in this era, it would have helped.
The fight is fine on its own. It’s not easy to anticipate based on styles, but the quality of the combatants is pretty clear. It has some red meat attached to make the show better on the eyes.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: World Champion Andre Ward vs. World Champion Chad Dawson (Saturday, HBO, 9:45 PM EST/PST)
As it stands, we get Ward (25-0, 13 KO) making his first defense since baffling the excellent Carl Froch to win the Super Six last year. Technically, this is his most difficult foe and is right there with Froch in terms of accomplishment. Dawson (31-1, 17 KO) has faced a commendable depth of foes at Light Heavyweight and, in Ward, has an opponent who could have people whispering Hall of Fame possibilities. Dawson? HOF? Think about it. If he adds Ward to a mantle with Bernard Hopkins, Antonio Tarver, Glen Johnson, and Tomasz Adamek already on it, he’ll have one of the best resumes of any Light Heavyweight since Michael Spinks. Avenging his lone loss, to Jean Pascal, would still be a must but he has the talent, length, and speed to pull this off. Does he have Ward’s mental strength? That could be the key.
If it’s fun to watch, that will be the biggest shock of the night. Let’s be real: this could be ugly. HBO has done a good job buffing out the night to ward off any disappointment. WBC heavyweight beltholder Vitali Klitschko (44-2, 40 KO) will dish an almost certain beating to Manuel Charr (21-0, 11 KO) to help lure in the masses. Once in the tent, an outstanding Lightweight clash between WBC titlist Antonio DeMarco (27-2-1, 20 KO) and John Molina (23-1, 19 KO) should be a fan maker.
Pick Showtime: #4 Lucas Matthysse vs. #10 Ajose Olusegun (Saturday, Showtime, 9 PM EST)
Based solely on anticipated leather flying, Showtime may have the better main event this Saturday. Matthysse (31-2, 29 KO) is a smart puncher and has a chance to snare an interim WBC belt at Jr. Welterweight after hard luck losses to Zab Judah and Devon Alexander. Olusegun (30-0, 14 KO) has been waiting for a chance to bust out from the pack. Can he keep the handed Argentine off of him? It’s a question worth seeing the answer to.
Pick Other: Three more on Saturday
For those who must see it all, Fox Deportes (Luis Ramos-Noe Bolanos & Deontay Wilder), Telefutura (Ivan Morales-Luis Maldonado), and Wealth TV (Tomasz Adamek-Travis Walker), are all on tap on Saturday as well. That’s too much for any one DVR to bear. Push comes to shove, there is nothing in this crowd that MUST be seen but it’s there for those who want it.
Back in seven.
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Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at email@example.com