By Ryan Maquiñana
Unified super middleweight champion Andre Ward is headed back to his hometown for a superfight against light heavyweight king Chad Dawson at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Sept. 8. According to Ward, his 168-pound WBC, WBA, and Ring Magazine titles would be on the line in a bout that will be televised on HBO. The fighter and his promoter, Dan Goossen, were on hand in Las Vegas to announce the fight on Saturday and spoke to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area . Here are their thoughts:
WARD ON FIGHTING AT HOME IN OAKLAND:
“I’m excited. I would’ve fought anywhere, and I think I’ve proven that in my last fight, but it’s going to be great for Oakland to have their champion come back home.”
WARD ON FIGHTING DAWSON:
“Chad has proven he wants to fight the best. I want to fight the best. You want to make a statement when you can, and I think this is the right time for a big fight like this.
GOOSSEN ON WARD FIGHTING DAWSON:
“It’s a risky fight, and Andre’s taking on a huge challenge, having just won the [unified] super middleweight title and fighting the light heavyweight champ. But he’s ready for this and the fans are going to get to see who is the preeminent fighter in these two divisions.”
GOOSSEN ON GETTING DAWSON TO AGREE TO TERMS:
“During negotiations, there were a lot of considerations, obviously, with Chad and [his promoter] Gary Shaw. I must commend both of them, because any benefits they got would have to do with going to Oakland. But they are man enough to fight Andre anywhere and we’re going to give the fans a great fight.”
GOOSSEN ON BRINGING THE FIGHT TO OAKLAND:
“Atlantic City was very aggressive. We’re just very confident that with such a major fight, with two world champions in their primes, that Oakland will come out and support. We believe in the Bay Area to come out to make it 19,000 strong and have him bring home that championship in front of his hometown fans.”
GOOSSEN ON WORKING WITH THE CITY OF OAKLAND:
“I talked to Mayor [Jean] Quan’s office. I talked to [City Councilman] Larry Reid. They all love and support Andre. Ron Little with Oracle Arena has been terrific to help make this fight. I know the city and fans are going to get behind it, and we’re going to bring a Las Vegas-style event to Oakland.”
Ryan Maquiñana 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.