Friday afternoon, multiple sources close to the promotion confirmed to TQBR the site of the Sept. 8 super middleweight showdown between Andre Ward and Chad Dawson.
Ward-Dawson will take place at Oakland, Calif.’s Oracle Arena, which has hosted four of the last seven Andre Ward bouts. Over 10,000 were in attendance for Ward’s title victory over Mikkel Kessler in the first stage of the Showtime Super Six World Boxing Classic in November 2009, but subsequent bouts against Allan Green and Sakio Bika drew much smaller crowds.
The fight will be formally announced in Las Vegas this weekend amidst the major attraction that is Manny Pacquiao against Timothy Bradley.
Ward (25-0, 13 KOs) has fought in California 18 times in his career to date. Oakland always made the most sense once Chad Dawson was the announced opponent because Dawson has never been a big draw despite being one of the sport’s best fighters for the past four or five years.
Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs) is coming off a majority decision victory over Bernard Hopkins in their April rematch. Dawson has the distinction of giving Hopkins his first clear and decisive defeat since Roy Jones Jr. proved to be the better man in their May 1993 clash.
Oakland was reported as the site of Ward-Dawson by Maxboxing.com’s Steve Kim, but negotiations were still ongoing at that point and it was a toss up whether the fight would take place in Oakland or Atlantic City.
This will be Ward’s first fight in Oakland since before the semi-finals of the Super Six, and will serve as sort of a homecoming for the Bay Area’s favorite son. With three months to prepare and a more established Ward, as well as a formidable opponent in Dawson, there is no reason this fight shouldn’t draw considerably well.
Also, as confirmed by Boxingscene.com, the televised support to Ward-Dawson will be a lightweight title defense by Antonio DeMarco against Goossen-Tutor lightweight John Molina, who will have been out of the ring for 364 days when he fights June 23 in a tuneup fight on Telefutura’s SoloBoxeo.
Goossen-Tutor Promotions confirmed to me earlier this week that Molina will fight Miguel Angel Munguia (25-23-1, 21 KOs) of Mexico City in an 8-round over-the-limit lightweight bout set for 139 pounds, as opposed to the fighter listed by BoxRec.
DeMarco (27-2-1, 20 KOs) was penciled in for a rematch with Jorge Linares on July 7 in southern California, but Linares was shockingly stopped in two rounds by unheralded Sergio Thompson in a tuneup bout on Mar. 31. The anticipated rematch went up in smoke and now DeMarco will take a tuneup bout of his own against Daniel Estrada in Baja California, Mexico on July 21.
Molina (23-1, 19 KOs) has won five straight dating back to a unanimous decision loss to Martin Honorio on ShoBox in November 2009. One of those victories came against world ranked Henry Lundy in an ESPN Friday Night Fights main event in July 2010. Molina was trailing badly on the scorecards before stopping Lundy in the 11th round.
Mark Ortega can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed via Twitter at www.twitter.com/MarkEOrtega. Mark also contributes to renowned boxing publications RING Magazine and Boxing Monthly, and is a member of the Boxing Writer’s Association of America and RING Ratings Advisory Panel. Check the June issue of Boxing Monthly for his piece on Timothy Bradley in anticipation of his clash with Manny Pacquiao.