OAKLAND– Whatever your scorecard at the end of the 10th round of Andre Ward’s dominant and newly-minted career-defining victory over Chad Dawson, you can score this outing in favor of the boxing purists who expected a high level fight from two of boxing’s top pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Early on, it looked as though Ward was headed for a tough night on HBO, as Dawson’s southpaw style and athleticism troubled Ward in the first few rounds. It also looked like those in the boxing community who dogged this fight as a technically sound but not quite aesthetically pleasing one were going to be right on the money. That is, until late in the 3rd round when Ward shockingly put Dawson on the canvas with a left hook.
From that point on, the boxing purists who got behind this fight because of what was on the line and the level it was being contested at were able to enjoy an exciting but one-sided drubbing on behalf of Ward, who would go on and put Dawson down in the 4th and 10th rounds before referee Steve Smoger halted the bout with Dawson back on his feet.
Dawson proved to be a dangerous foe throughout, even as he got up from the multiple knockdowns. Ward was never fully out of the woods until the fight was officially deemed over as Dawson had moments where he showed he could catch Ward with some good power shots. However, from the 3rd round on you could nary find a round to award in favor of Dawson and as the fight poured in, it became clear that Dawson was going to need a knockout that seemed destined not to come.
Ward once again showed his ability to adapt and change gameplans and after possibly dropping the first two rounds, he began timing Dawson and countering him. As well, Ward moved the fight to the inside from that point on where Dawson was adept, but not versatile like Ward.
After Dawson was dropped in the opening seconds of the 4th, Ward looked for the stoppage, pouring on the offense that Dawson gamely was able to stay standing through. A bevvy of uppercuts and hooks in close rocked Dawson, but he made it through the round.
It looked as though Ward decided to take his foot off the gas a bit in the coming rounds, maybe worried that he wasn’t going to have enough in the tank for the championship rounds, should it get there. Dawson again showed glimmers of his old self, but was just not active enough to really sway the judges. Dawson abandoned his jab after he was hurt, and it was an easier night for Ward because of it.
If this was Ward’s Roy Jones Jr.-James Toney fight, let us hope that what we’ll see next won’t recall the stretch of Jones’ career where he fought Richard Frazier and Julio Gonzalez level guys for years in HBO headlining fights. Based on Ward’s competitiveness and his having participated and won the Showtime Super Six, it would be hard to see that coming.
Covina, Calif. lightweight John Molina’s world title aspirations lasted less than a minute as reigning WBC beltholder Antonio DeMarco of Tijuana, Mexico secured a 1st round technical knockout stoppage at the 44 second mark.
Molina was badly hurt by a DeMarco straight left just seconds into the fight, sending him into the opposing ropes. Molina stayed on his feet barely as DeMarco just went to town with wide power shots and referee Jack Reiss had no choice but to halt the bout when Molina didn’t go down. Had Molina gone to a knee he conceivably could have seen an opportunity to come back, but he was too proud to take a count.
“He got caught by a left that buzzed him, DeMarco threw a lot of punches. John should have taken a knee and got an eight-count, but it is hard to think when you are in a position like that,” recounted Molina’s trainer Joe Goossen after the fight.
Molina moves to 28-2-1 (21 KOs), while Molina’s record falls to 24-2 (19 KOs).
Unbeaten heavyweight Malik Scott (35-0, 12 KOs) of Philadelphia, Penn. received his first test since returning from a long layoff, as he received an 8th round TKO victory over Bowie Tupou (22-2, 16 KOs) of Los Angeles in a lackluster eight-round heavyweight bout. The fight was stopped due to a presumed hyperextension of the elbow of Tupou according to a ringside physician. The fight was booed dramatically by the crowd throughout and featured very little in terms of action, but Tupou was trailing widely on the scorecards on the time of the stoppage.
2000 Olympic U.S. silver medalist Ricardo Williams Jr. (20-3, 10 KOs) of Cincinnati, Ohio got back in the win column, but it wasn’t easy, as he earned a hard-fought majority decision over tough Anthony Lenk (14-2, 7 KOs) from Las Vegas. There were lulls in action aplenty, as well, there were spurts where the two exchanged bombs in this all-southpaw junior welterweight affair. Williams was the superior technician of the two, but Lenk found moments where he landed some pretty big lead overhand lefts. The scores read 57-57 and 58-56 twice in favor of Williams.
“World rated” heavyweight Franklin Lawrence (18-2-2, 12 KOs) of Indianapolis, Ind. scored an 8th round stoppage of Homero Fonseca (9-6-3, 2 KO) of Peirsaw, Tex. in their heavyweight bout when referee Edward Collantes stopped the fight at the end of the 7th. Lawrence, a Gary Shaw fighter, pretty much had his way with Fonseca, who was game but a few skill levels below that of Lawrence.
Lawrence worked his offense to the fairly large belly of Fonseca early on and began closing his left eye into the middle rounds. It was far from competitive or really spectacular but Lawrence got the win, which was a shutout or near to it at the time of the stoppage.
In the first of two walkout bouts, local journeyman Tony Hirsch (13-5-2, 6 KOs) picked up a victory against Roberto Yong (5-6-1, 4 KOs) in their four-round middleweight bout. Hirsch more or less dominated the fight but was hurt in the final round. Yong didn’t have enough time to build anything off of it and Hirsch prevailed by scores of 40-36 twice and 39-37.
In the final walkout bout of the night, Randy Guerrero (0-0-1), younger brother of Robert, fought a four-round draw with Juan Urbina (0-0-1) in a featherweight war. The bout was action-packed as the outsized Urbina traded with Guerrero willingly. Scores were 38-38 twice and 39-37 for Guerrero.
In attendance were MLB all-time hit king Pete Rose, Metta World Peace, as well as Andre Berto, Adrien Broner, Tavoris Cloud, and Karim Mayfield.