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Join Date: Jul 2010
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My Round-By-Round Observations & Technical Summary of Ward-Dawson
These are some of the things that I observed as I was watching the fight, and some I came up with afterwards, which I think were the most relevant. Let me know what you think!
Round 1: From really early on, Ward is knocking Chad’s right jab down, even before he thinks to throw it. As both feint and jab, Ward leaps in and lands a good number of straight rights to the body. What I noticed as they fell into clinches is that Dawson seems to be able to fold himself over Dawson or push him back, using his size as a strength advantage. This theme plays on a little bit into the next few rounds, and I think it makes Ward decide that he can’t just bully himself in there. Regardless, those straight rights to the lower midsection in round 1 made the difference. 10-9 Ward.
Round 2: In this round, Ward keeps lunging in a bit to land the straight right inside, and as he does it, Dawson is able to catch him with consecutive right hook counters. Shooting in from too far away allowed Dawson to take positioning on the ground and catch ward. This is the only round I gave Dawson. I think Ward was still trying to find the best way to get his lead foot on the outside without neglecting to press and get his timing just right. 10-9 Chad.
Round 3: Ward is starting to land stiff left jabs and left hooks at close range. It seems like as Dawson ducks down (as he was doing to tie up around the waist when Ward rushed forward earlier), Ward anticipates this and catches him with a left hook over his low right hand. In giving up his height leaning down instead of stepping back first, he leaves the side of his head exposed. Normally, I feel Chad might have tried to roll punches while moving back (hence Scully saying “you gotta roll that shoulder, you look real good when you roll your shoulders). Instead, Ward’s feints made him unable to gauge the distance properly and opened Chad’s right side up to hard jabs and an angled left hook while Ward stepped leftwards (reminiscent of the first Cotto-Pacquiao knockdown). 10-8 Ward.
Round 4: Ward continues to land his left hook on an angle, stepping leftwards more intentionally now as he advances from outside inward. He drives Dawson back to the ropes and goes to work as Dawson just shells up; the pressure seems to give Chad no time to think on his feet and move coherently. Ward lands a particularly hard left uppercut that splits the guard and pops Chad’s head out. The same angled left drops Chad, whose feet are defensively planted. 10-8 Ward.
Round 5: Ward continues to step into his jab as he turns Dawson. He was caught by one straight left as he backed up, but Dawson was out of position to put much torque into the angle, despite his reach allowing him to cross over. Dawson’s output is dropping and seems to have no answer as he is purely on the defensive. 10-9 Ward.
Round 6: Ward is dominating with lead foot positioning at this point. Even when he circles back towards the left to shoot a right hand from out of range into the inside, he ducks down as he does so, rendering that long left straight useless while he shoots the straight down the middle (similar to how JMM feinted with his left and landed the right while ducking inwards on Pacman). Dawson lands another straight left as Ward momentarily backs straight up towards the ropes, but shakes it off and circles out. 10-9 Ward.
Round 7: The left hooks and jabs are more frequent now, and Ward is mixing them up with right hands in combination as he continues to turn Dawson, who without his jab, looks more useless than ever. 10-9 Ward.
Round 8: Left and right hooks to the body being added more frequently by Ward. Now we see Ward doing more clinch-work, which he’d been building towards in the previous round. Dawson has no way of keeping Ward from coming in (no jab), no way to turn Ward into a left or right (no legs to circle out), and a waning physical constitution. Now Ward starts to maul him, and this is what leaves me to believe Ward put aside this game-plan while implementing his ambush tactics, possibly for a more appropriate time, which came late in the fight. 10-9 Ward.
Round 9: Ward is landing very authoritative left & right hands, and continues to work well on the inside defensively against the ropes with sharp punches. Now being completely comfortable with the range he’s established, Ward’s footwork looks so precise, and at times it almost looks like he’s the one with the longer reach with the way he’s dominating from the outside, jabbing and stepping back from a right hook counter to step right back in with another hard jab before circling out. Dawson tries for an inspired offensive combination, but Ward answers right back with a better one ending in a snapping left hook. 10-9 Ward.
Round 10: By now, Ward is hanging back a bit as he’d started to do in Round 9 and is walking Dawson into shots. I get the feeling that Ward and his corner are being very smart in anticipating Dawson’s potential aggression and urgency for a knockout shot; this tactic of backing up more on the outside seems perfect for discouraging any potential rallies by Chad, and it works like a charm. Jumping into another precise 3-punch combination as he pivots his foot leftward towards the outside angle, he hurts Chad yet again, and after continuing the barrage, Dawson quits.
Ward proved in this fight how complete a fighter he really is, and it’s probably his best performance to date. Was Dawson weight-drained? Given how strong he looked early on in clinches, I can’t say I think so, but you never know. Even if he was fine, it likely wasn’t ideal to be at 168, but given the speed difference, any diminishment in durability and punching power don’t seem like they would make much of a difference. I give a lot of respect to Dawson for giving Ward his props instead of rattling on excuses he could have justifiably made, like he seemed to try to do against Pascal.
One thing that interested me was the way Dawson said he wasn’t anticipating Ward’s speed or strength. The explosiveness of Ward’s ambushes is what in my opinion gave him an edge over an aged Hopkins attempting to give a similar approach. Also, Dawson seemed to fight the wrong fight. Ward has great lateral movement, but seemed a bit stationary at times when Dawson backed him straight up with punches as he pulled back; Dawson tried too much to read and anticipate Ward’s rushes, ceding him the ground he needed to do so successfully, instead of pressing him. Then again, Ward neutralized his jab so early that Dawson seemed unprepared and too overwhelmed to switch gears and create other offensive opportunities. I believe Chad expected to measure and time Ward as he came in at his own pace, and relying on that assumption, along with other factors, cost him the fight.
In closing, great, great fight. Lots of action like I had a feeling there would be, and a variety technical dynamics to observe and pick your brain over. Merchant’s grim outlook had surely changed by the end of this bout, as this was a great display of “the Sweet Science of Bruising”
Join Date: Jan 2012
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Heres my observation;
One guy came to fight............the other guy didn't!!
Dawson looked completely drained but thats on him for not being prepared to hold the weight drop. He's ok when boxing "tall" but never seems to stay that way! Mentally weak fighter!
Ward came to fight, made a nice adjustment when he was getting hit from the southpaws right hook then had no problem doing anything he wanted to do. Has the "Will" to win!
If thats the best a modern day champion can do you now know why boxing has fallen so far down in popularity. Ray
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