By Keith Idec
Dan Goossen said Thursday that he and fellow promoter Gary Shaw have made significant progress in negotiations to make an Andre Ward-Chad Dawson fight sometime in September.
“I’ve had good talks with Gary,” Goossen told BoxingScene.com. “I think we’re on the same page. I know both fighters are on the same page and want to make the fight happen. There’s still some detail that has to be worked out, but I believe we’re going to have the lineal super middleweight champion fighting the lineal light heavyweight champion.”
Dawson acknowledged in the immediate aftermath of his light heavyweight championship rematch victory over Bernard Hopkins that he was very interested in facing Ward (25-0, 13 KOs), the WBA/WBC super middleweight champion. Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs, 2 NC), who won the WBC 175-pound crown from Hopkins on April 28 in Atlantic City, added that he was willing to go down to 168 pounds to make the fight.
“I’ll fight anybody [at] 168, 175,” Dawson said. “I’m not saying I would prefer to come out of my comfort zone, which is 175. But I could make 168. I come into camp at about 178 pounds. … I’m just looking for some big fights.”
That prompted almost immediate discussions between Goossen, who promotes Ward, and Shaw, who promotes Dawson.
“We’re still working on the weight,” Goossen said, “but Andre and Chad have both mentioned 168, so that’s what my intent is. That’s what I want to get accomplished. I believe that we’re going to come to a deal fairly soon.”
HBO Sports president Ken Hershman has expressed interest in his network televising the fight, which would at least temporarily halt Ward’s long partnership with Showtime, the network Hershman previously ran. Showtime Sports executives had hoped to match Ward against IBF super middleweight champ Lucian Bute, but Ward wanted to pursue other options after defeating England’s Carl Froch in the final of Showtime’s “Super Six World Boxing Classic” on Dec. 17 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Bute (30-0, 24 KOs), a native Romanian who has become a huge attraction in his adopted hometown of Montreal, will face Froch (28-2, 20 KOs) on May 26 in Froch’s hometown of Nottingham, England.
Dawson’s options at light heavyweight are somewhat limited if he wants a “big” fight next. His most appealing light heavyweight opponents, Jean Pascal (26-2-1, 16 KOs) and IBF title-holder Tavoris Cloud (24-0, 19 KOs), are scheduled to face each other Aug. 11.
Meanwhile, a date and a site still have to be set for a probable Ward-Dawson fight. The date will depend on HBO’s September schedule, and although Goossen would love to bring the Ward-Dawson fight to Ward’s native Oakland, Calif., Atlantic City seems to be a more likely destination.
“I know that Atlantic City is very interested in it,” Goossen said. “I know this last fight was very successful, with Chad and Hopkins. There was a great crowd. The fans out there know who Andre is and they would certainly gravitate toward this. I make it no secret that I think we can get 19,000 fans over in Oakland, but I’m talking to Gary about it and hopefully we can get things resolved. I know Atlantic City is very interested in the fight and wants it. Los Angeles is also a possibility.”
The Dawson-Hopkins fight drew a crowd of 7,705 to Boardwalk Hall. Ward’s win against Froch drew a crowd of 5,626 to Boardwalk Hall, which can accommodate about 12,000 for boxing.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.