Often in this sport we are happy to predict that when 2 relatively boring fighters face off, we will end up with a boring fight. Predictions however can be wrong and that's exactly what we saw as Andre Ward (26-0, 14) defended his WBA "super" and WBC "regular" Super Middleweight titles against Chad Dawson (31-2-0-1, 17) in a relatively entertaining bout.
The bout started in the expected manner with neither fighter really doing much at all. To be fair the first 3 rounds were unmemorable with more holding and posing than actual punching. If anything Dawson was perhaps in a slender lead having landed a number of eye catching right hooks in round 2. It wouldn't take long however for Andre Ward's class to pay off.
In round 3 the bout came alive with Andre Ward finding a home for his fast left hook and surprisingly he dropped Dawson with a beautiful single shot. After dropping Dawson, Ward seemed to put his foot on the gas and really started to let his hands go at the end of the round with his left hook tagging Dawson's head time and time again. The following round Ward really turned the screw not only dropping Dawson again but going all out for the stoppage and buckling the legs of Dawson again.
The 2 knockdowns seemed to effectively kill off Dawson's hopes and Ward began to really impose his will on the bout as Dawson struggled to land anything of note. Despite having a reach advantage Dawson was unable to do anything with his jab, his hook's were being neutralised and Dawson was effectively shut down.
After a number of slower rounds Ward again turned up the heat in round 8 as the two men fought up close with Ward ripping a number of hard and clean uppercuts to Dawson's chin. Whilst the two men clashed heads on a number of occasions it was the clean punches that Ward was landing landing that were really catching the eye.
By the start of round 10 Ward really was just beating Dawson up. Dawson was doing very little as Ward did as he pleased landing every shot in the book. Ward just continued to beat up Dawson through out the 10th round and wobbled Dawson before the challenger took a knee. Despite recovering to his feet Dawson looked like he didn't want to continue and Steve Smoger waved the bout off.
This performance really did show how good Ward can be on both the defense and offense. Not only did the "Son Of God" shut down Dawson's offense but he also became the first man to stop Dawson. Sadly however we do need to remember that Dawson was "dragged down" from Light Heavyweight for this bout and as a result he may have been feeling the effects of making the lower weight. The performance was brilliant but it could be considered tainted.
For Dawson, he may write his loss off as a loss at a lower weight however he was simply dominated. He may well return to 175 but I dare say he'll never be the fighter he once was, his confidence will be bust by this loss, he was out sped, out muscled and dropped repeatedly before being forced to quit. It may be a long road back for Dawson mentally.