By Ryan Maquiñana
With only three days to go until his super middleweight title showdown with Andre Ward at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., Chad Dawson and his team arrived in the Bay Area Tuesday afternoon.
The reigning light heavyweight champion, who will descend from 175 to 168 pounds to fight for Ward’s trio of belts, spoke to BoxingScene.com heading into Saturday’s career-defining matchup.
DAWSON ON MOVING DOWN TO SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT:
Everything’s good. I feel good, and I haven’t had any problems coming down in weight. I’m about 173 [pounds] right now, and I’ll be ready for Saturday.
DAWSON’S MESSAGE TO WARD’S HOMETOWN FANS IN OAKLAND:
I’m just coming here to dethrone their champion. I don’t care about the crowd. Everybody’s worried about the officials and the refs and everything, but that’s the last thing on my mind. My main objective is to come in here, and beat Andre Ward—and beat him good.
DAWSON ON EXPECTATIONS THAT HE WILL TRY TO STAY ON THE OUTSIDE WHILE WARD WILL ATTEMPT TO FIGHT IN THE POCKET:
I tell you what. If he thinks that the fight’s going to be on the inside the whole night, it’s going to be a short night for him. I tell you that right now. He’s a good fighter. He’s good at what he does, but I’m better.
DAWSON ON COMPARING HIS WIN OVER BERNARD HOPKINS TO THE MATCHUP WITH WARD, A 3-TO-1 FAVORITE:
In the Bernard fight, I was supposed to win that fight. I was younger, stronger, and faster. I had every advantage, so it was supposed to happen. This is the fight that’s going to make Chad Dawson.
DAWSON ON THE IMPACT OF THIS WIN ON HIS VIABILITY AS THE NEXT AMERICAN SUPERSTAR:
You got the best fighting the best. It’s not where Andre Ward is the champion and I’m the number three or number four. This is the real fight.
We’re both on the pound-for-pound list, but we want to be at the top of the pound-for-pound list under Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Saying that, it should be a great fight. If he wants it as much as I want it, and I want it as much as he wants it, it should be a great fight.
TRAINER JOHN SCULLY ON DAWSON’S ABILITY TO FIGHT ON THE INSIDE:
I always said Chad is a very good puncher. He has potential to be a great body puncher. I think he’s very strong on the inside, and people subconsciously, when you think of Chad Dawson, you think of a boxer.
When you think of Andre Ward, you think of a guy who can rough you up and adapt, and certain guys just have a stigma, or thought process that people think of when they think of them and they don’t give them credit for other facets of their game. I don’t think [Chad] is going to be getting outmuscled. I know you won’t see that.
SCULLY ON WHETHER A WIN ELEVATES HIM INTO THE DISCUSSION OF ELITE TRAINERS:
Boxing is such a surreal thing to me. I’m just happy people even know my name. That’s kind of cool. I’m just happy being part of the whole thing, so whatever comes on top of that is just gravy.
SCULLY’S PREDICTION FOR SATURDAY:
Based off the way Chad’s looking, the way he feels, the way he’s talking, his confidence, I can’t see him losing. I’m not really a betting man, but if I was to bet, I’d feel very comfortable putting money on Chad Dawson.
PROMOTER GARY SHAW ON WHY THE FAN ON THE FENCE SHOULD BUY A TICKET FOR SATURDAY:
If I have to tell them why they should come out for this card, then they’re not a boxing fan or they’re not interested in entertainment. They should come out because the first fight of Antonio DeMarco and [John] Molina is going to be a great fight, great fireworks. And in the main event, with Dawson and in Andre Ward, you have the two best fighters in the world right now.
Everyone’s talking about Mayweather and Pacquiao, Mayweather and Pacquiao. This is the fight. This is the fight. It’s an Olympian, an undefeated fighter in Andre Ward. It’s a fighter in Andre Ward who’s afraid to leave the Oakland area. It’s a fight that Chad Dawson, [who] travels, [is] a real throwback fighter. It’s going to be a great night.
Ryan Maquiñana is the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com and writes a weekly boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at [email protected], check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.