The CBZ Newswire

Seven Pounds

by on Oct.22, 2012, under Boxing News

Was the losing of seven critical pounds the primary mover for Dawson’s loss versus Ward?

By Hector Rodriguez

Ostensibly hindered by being weight drained, Dawson succumbs to the blows of

Ostensibly hindered by being weight drained, Dawson succumbs to the blows of Ward (photo by Brett Ostrowski)

Seven pounds, the amount of weight many newborns tip the scales at, human beings so minute that caution is at the forefront of the parents’ agendas. Seven pounds, the heaviness worth $2.31 after homeless people sell steel to recyclers, a sum so insignificant that one would be hard-pressed to lose sleep over its very loss. Seven pounds, the difference between two talented weight divisions, an advantage (or disadvantage) so scientific that its very substance enamors boxing purists.

This seemingly irrelevant measure is the price light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson had to pay in order to do something that his boxing predecessors were innately born with: a desire to fight the best even after attaining the highest possible status.

On September 8, 2012 in Oakland, California, super-middleweight champion of the world Andre Ward completely dismantled “Bad” Chad in a bout that pinned two pound-for-pound contenders against one another. This fight was highly reputable and compelling as the sport of boxing was uncommonly offering fans the opportunity to watch two pure boxers, the best in their respective weight classes, engage in pugilistic action to decide who the greatest in the world was in the middle weight categories. Unfortunately, one of the two brave champions would have to lose or gain seven pounds in order for this dream event to be possible. Chad Dawson exhibited behavior so peculiar, so unordinary for a boxer of his rank in announcing that it would be he who would waive one of his prized advantages (weight). The southpaw agreed to lose seven pounds (for the first time since 2005), a drop in one weight class, to make the seemingly impossible possible. It will go down as one of the gutsiest, admirable acts in the history of the dramatic sport. It will also be remembered as the seven-pound mistake that Team Dawson committed.

From the outside looking in, it appeared as if he was waiting for the appropriate time to pounce on his smaller prey. Oscar De La Hoya was an intelligent, calculating boxer who became victorious in many championship fights because of this very sage, piercing style. However, he had never looked so uninterested, so devoid of action as he had on the night he fought the greatest Filipino boxer of all-time. Manny Pacquiao was cruising to a dominant and brutal unanimous decision victory when a realization struck the countless audiences who were witnessing this unforeseen debacle: Oscar De La Hoya was a shot athlete. No, the “Golden Boy” was not implementing a strategy whereby his lack of activity would result in his opponent’s eventual fatigue. Perhaps that very thought did cross De La Hoya’s mind at one point during the onslaught, only to be replaced with Pacquiao’s straight left punches. What was actually occurring was the art of science plaguing the richest boxer in the history of the sport. The super-fight that took place on December 8, 2008 a the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was contested at the welterweight limit. For the first time in almost eight years, De La Hoya would have to lose an additional seven pounds as was stipulated in the signed contract between both of the involved parties. Nevertheless, he was the heavy favorite heading into the fight dubbed “The Dream Match” as he was the naturally bigger man. Pacquiao was stepping up two weight divisions, De La Hoya dropping down one. At the conclusion of their bout, it became obvious that it wasn’t exactly Father Time who was the culprit to blame for the Golden Boy’s loss. Some would even argue that it wasn’t inferior skills that played a part in the outcome; De La Hoya is the much better, wiser boxer of the two. Science was caught red-handed with breaking and entering De La Hoya’s realm. Losing seven pounds, it seems, was a stiff price that De La Hoya was not physically ready to pay.

One, two, three, four . . . Chad Dawson’s ears were the subject of a sequence of numbers that toddlers are taught to memorize. Andre “S.O.G.” Ward had landed a relatively modest hook against Dawson, one that, at first glance, didn’t seem to be full of anger. Even after the replay of it one had to almost dig deep into the bag of reasons to search for a more overwhelming explanation. A flash knockdown, most concurred. However, Dawson didn’t seem to fully recuperate after that knockdown, further evoking a peculiarity that only added to the rather strange night. Certainly, fans of Bad Chad had to be pleading with him to throw a jab, a double-jab, anything from his extremely gifted arsenal that would prove efficient against the hometown fighter. Aside from a few decent counter-punches, Dawson elicited loneliness, passiveness, and nothingness, all characteristics of a boxer who is shot. The man hailing from New Haven, Connecticut is thirty years of age – how can he possibly be spent already? After highly respected trainer John Scully verbally slapped his star pupil in the later rounds in an attempt to wake him up from his reverie, a glimpse of hope made itself present. After all, boxing is the Theater of the Unexpected, the platform on which Diego Corrales and others have brilliantly reversed the plot of a fight and triumphed in the past. The “Son of God” would not accept such an Oscar-worthy performance from his adversary, though. He continued to pummel his opponent, knocking him down a few more times en route to a TKO victory that would immensely solidify his already-impressive resume. If there is one thing that Oscar De La Hoya and Chad Dawson have in common, it is the look in their eyes that they each portrayed the moment before they quit in front of Manny Pacquiao and Andre Ward, respectively. It is an appearance that only a boxer who has had to lose seven pounds for the first time in several years to compete in a prize fight can offer. Losing seven pounds, it seems, was a stiff price that Dawson was not physically ready to pay.

The 2004 Summer Olympic gold-medalist, Andre Ward exhibited every attribute that only a select few have in the history of boxing on that fateful night in September. He could very well retire undefeated and distance himself from a cadre of Hall-of-Famers to enter the echelon of the top-25 greatest boxers of all-time. Of course, it is difficult to predict the future career of a great like him for time after time boxing has presented the world with a plethora of talent that eventually collided with a force too great to absorb. But, at this pace, the Son of God will accomplish godly achievements. It is because of the accolades Ward has undertaken that nothing can be taken away from his performance against Dawson. Absolutely nothing. He fought the perfect fight, executed like never before, and impressed virtually every boxing pundit in unprecedented fashion. For the first time ever, Andre Ward was exciting to watch.

There is something poetic, tantalizing about a pure boxer that a brawler is unable to shadow. Watching Chad Dawson perform at his craft is a thing of true beauty. One would be challenged to find a more artistic fighter than Dawson, and if the search does prove successful only a handful of people will truly appreciate such a picture. The public demands blood and a disregard from safety from those they pay to watch. Chad Dawson is not the person most would be willing to spend significant amounts of money on. But, he is the individual that earnest students of the boxing game will crave about, understanding that purity can be beautiful in this violent, dramatic sport. His jab is perfection in vehement form, his combinations smooth as sandpaper, and his natural aptitude arguably supersedes that of anyone else’s from his peers. Chad Dawson is the most talented boxer in the world. Arguably. He didn’t lose an ounce of recognition or capacity after the super-fight labeled “Made In America” was recorded in boxing’s database. He was merely a victim of his own doing, an attitude as ballsy as they come. He is commended for losing seven pounds, but he really should have negotiated this vital stipulation. Being weight-drained can be anything but positive, and it begs the question – how would the fight have played out in the weight class that Dawson is champion of? It matters none. What took place took place. One boxer catapulted himself into the top three of the mythical pound-for-pound list, and another fighter will continue his reign in a weight division where he is, by far, the most skillful practitioner. If there is a certainty beyond the possibility of doubt, it is that Chad Dawson will not lose seven pounds ever again in order to showcase his greatness to those of us lucky enough to embrace it.

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