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Andre Ward Wants Chavez If Chavez Beats Martinez



WardDawson TJHogan18If you believe in magic and you are a sports fan then you should watch last Saturday’s fight between Andre Ward and Chad Dawson with a close eye. Because, for thirty minutes, Andre Ward tricked us in to believing he was in a fight. He didn’t just dominate a lethal boxing world champion; he did it coming away without a scratch on his face.

Punch stats show Chad Dawson hit Ward twenty-nine times in 10 rounds, averaging less than a punch a minute, but Ward says he felt two clean shots. Ward entertained the boxing world escaping punches and puzzling his opponent in to submission. Now, some boxing experts consider Ward as the best fighter in the world.

Andre Ward knows how to move in the ring, and captivate a crowd, but he didn’t evade the questions we threw at him last night.

Fresh off of the biggest win of his career, Andre Ward reflected on his performance against Chad Dawson, explained why he isn’t a complete fighter, and called out the winner of Saturday’s big fight between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez.

RM: Hey Andre, It’s been a couple of days after the Dawson fight. How do you feel?

AW: I feel good. My body is a little sore you know, fighting another man in a boxing ring, other than just the small bumps and bruises, I feel good. It was the kind of performance I wanted to put on, my return to HBO, winning in front of my home crowd, and beating a fighter of Chad’s caliber, this is the kind of win I was looking for.

RM: Was it everything you expected?
AW: It absolutely was. I am not the type of guy to predict a knockout. A lot of people had things to say about my knockouts. But my response has always been that it is a lot harder to get a stoppage or a knockout at this level, at the world-class level.

RM: Right.
AW: And I am still a young fighter. I am still learning my craft. Actually, the result was better than expected.

RM: I’m sure you saw the punch stats after the fight. Chad Dawson hit you twenty-nine times in ten rounds. What are your thoughts?
AW: Well, a fighter knows what is going on in the ring. I don’t know how many times I get hit or how many times I hit my opponent, but I have a pretty good idea. A lot of the shots he landed I got under, I buried, or I blocked. I can probably remember maybe two or three clean punches he landed. So I was not surprised by the punch stats but it is gratifying because I had to take risks to get the knockout. When you beat a guy of Chad’s caliber without taking punishment in return, it makes you happy.

RM: After the fight, John Scully said Chad Dawson’s weight loss and strength coach might have affected Chad’s performance. What do you think?
AW: I’m not saying the weight did or did not have an effect on his performance. I just know that it is not my fault if it did. For the last few years, Chad Dawson and his team said they were willing to move down to 168. He even called out the winner of the Super Six. I’ve never called Chad out. I’ve never bothered Chad. I’ve always praised Chad when I was asked about him. But they came looking for me in my weight class. And throughout training camp, even at the press conference, Scully said, the weight is the last thing they are worrying about. I think the best thing to do is give credit where credit is due just like Chad did. It is not a good look for Scully to point blame on the conditioning coach or for the conditioning coach to point blame at Scully. I mean, I was always taught that the head coach is commander-in-chief, no matter who else is a part of the team. The commander-in-chief is the overseer of everything. Whether the weight was an issue or not, the respectful thing to do is what Chad Dawson did. He said, hey, I’m moving back up to 175 and I am going to continue my career. But it is not a good look for Scully to make excuses.

RM: Do you think those excuses are taking away from your victory?
AW: No, I don’t think so. Based on how verbal Chad and his team were shows that I earned the victory. I mean I had to cut weight too. I think he said that he weighed about 182 to start camp and I weighed 182. I made a sacrifice like he did. And Chad pushed for the fight at that weight. I think everybody understands that. You might have a few negative comments. But I think I am getting my just due.

RM: I think you are getting the proper respect for the win. There are always some people making excuses in every fight. But as long as Dawson is not saying anything then you are getting the full credit right?
AW: Yeah, I think Chad was still strong in there. He threw strong punches. I think there was more than weight bothering him. I think it had more to do with what I brought to the table.

RM: Yeah.
AW: From the game plan to the strength, to the pressure, to the conditioning. I think it was a combination of what I did that caused Chad to not want to continue.

RM: Now, do you think the fight would have been different if it took place at 175 pounds?
AW: I don’t think so. Maybe there would less room for excuses afterwards.
But I would be a lot stronger at 175 too.

RM: I heard rumors before and after the fight about Edison Miranda apparently knocking down Chad Dawson during sparring. Did you hear anything about that?
AW: Yeah, I saw the article man, just like everybody else. You hear rumors about stuff, but I wasn’t in that gym. I don’t know what’s true. My job is not to focus on rumors. My job is to prepare for the best Chad Dawson. I don’t know what they were doing. From what I saw on 24/7, it looked like they were doing great work. As a fighter, I have to go off the visual. I can’t listen to that. We heard whispers. But we just stayed focused.

RM: Do you feel more gratification from this victory than any other in your career?
AW: I do. It is not just that we won. It is the way we won. I think that is why I feel vindicated. Some people thought Chad was going to beat me. Some others thought I was going to win by decision. But nobody picked Chad to be stopped. For us to stop Chad Dawson is a major statement in the boxing world.

RM: So do you think all of this talk about Andre’s lack of punching power should be stopped now?
AW: Well, I still got a lot of work to do. But I’m not going to come out of myself. And I didn’t come out of myself against Chad. I’m telling you, at this level, if you go out looking for a knockout, you are going to find yourself looking at the lights. Because guys that are smart and sharp in this sport will set you up. So, if the knockout comes it comes. If it doesn’t it doesn’t. The game is about getting your hands raised. You can still be entertaining if you don’t get a knockout. So that is what I am going to continue to do. Be entertaining.

RM: Do you feel like you are a complete fighter?
AW: No, I don’t think so. You know it was a great fight. I still feel I am 80 or 85 percent. I just have to keep doing what I am doing, just stay dedicated to the sport. I need to keep working on my craft, and continue fighting top-flight competition. I don’t think I am at my best yet.

RM: Well, you say you want to keep on working, but what’s missing?
AW: I don’t think there is anything missing; I just think it takes time.

RM: Yeah.
AW: I feel like I am approaching my prime. I’m approaching that maturity level in the ring that you can’t teach. It just comes with time. You come in to a zone around age 29, 30, 31, when everything starts to slow down. You really start to understand how to fight. I am approaching that. With Chad, things were a lot slower than I anticipated. I’ve watched Chad for years. He has a couple of inches of reach and height, and I know he has speed, but I saw everything coming.

RM: Some people are calling you the best pound for pound fighter in the world after this fight.
AW: I appreciate it. It is exciting to hear, and it continues to motivate me. It really motivates me. That kind of attention will either cause you to slow down, or pick it up and stay motivated. But I’m not there yet. I’m not the best fighter in the world. I take my hat off to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Those guys have done it a lot longer than me. They have been at the highest level for a very long time. I respect those guys. I think I am getting close. All I can do is continue doing what I am doing.

RM: How does it feel to come out of a fight without a scratch on your face?
AW: I love it man. It is a beautiful feeling. To be able to win a championship fight against another champion looking close to clean, feels good.

RM: That means you are getting close to being perfect right?
AW: I wish man. But there is always something. And there should be always something. Every time I look at the tape I say, “I have to go back and work on this.” I have seen guys have flawless performances in the ring. Bernard Hopkins against Tito Trinidad, Floyd Mayweather against Diego Corrales, Floyd Mayweather against Arturo Gatti, Roy Jones against James Toney. Those are the fights that jump out to you. I don’t think the fight with Chad was flawless. But it was a good performance.

RM: Do you think the Carl Froch win and the Super Six was bigger than the win over Chad Dawson?
AW: No, no, no, the Chad Dawson fight was much bigger. I think the Froch fight was 1B and this one was 1A, just based on Chad’s credentials, and the event being on HBO.

RM: OK. Do you have any idea what comes next?
AW: Well, my team and I will get together next week. Obviously we have our eyes on the winner of this fight between Chavez Jr. and Martinez. But other than that, we haven’t talked any names.

RM: You are keeping a close eye on the Chavez/Martinez fight?
AW: Absolutely, my son has a game on Saturday. But if I have enough time, I might hop on a plane and try to get there that night.

RM: Who do you think is going to win?
AW:Well, it is a pick em’ fight. You have the obvious contrast of size and speed with Chavez being the bigger man and Martinez being faster. If Martinez wins, he says I have to come down to 160. There is no way. I’d have to chop off an arm and a leg to get to 160. But Chavez is seemingly outgrowing the middleweight division. And with the name that he has –and the credentials that I have– I think it would be a blockbuster mega event.

RM: So, if Chavez wins you would want to fight him next?
AW: Oh, I would definitely fight Chavez next. I just think it would be a natural fit. I mean, why not?

RM: Well, what about a move to 175?
AW: I don’t think I’d move to 175 for my next fight. I really don’t know. In this business all doors are open until they are closed. I think 175 is a few fights down the road. I have to be careful about that because when I go up I am not coming back down. So I don’t want to prematurely go up and have to scale back down to 168 for some reason. I definitely want to be a multi-divisional champion in the future.

RM: But, ideally it would be a fight with Chavez around April or May 2013 correct?
AW: That would be ideal. That would give him time to rest. That would give me time to rest. And May 5th, Cinco de Mayo is a great date. I’d love to fight Chavez on Cinco de Mayo. We’ll see, I mean, I’m willing to do it. I’d love to fight Martinez too. But I think the weight difference is a problem.

RM: Man, I hear people calling out names and I just want you to clear the air. People on Twitter are calling for you to fight Floyd Mayweather at a catch weight, or Canelo Alvarez. Are either of those fights on your radar?
AW: Absolutely not from the standpoint of weight. Those guys, in my opinion, are too small. They have great names and they would be great matchups in terms of the namesake, but I just don’t see how it could happen.

RM: I hear you. Hey, you were talking about fighting Chavez; it’s funny, I’ve never heard you call anyone’s name out.
AW: Well, I just think that a fight with Chavez is the natural fit for both of us. His name has been brought to me many times. And I feel– if Chavez has issues with weight, and he gets by Sergio Martinez on a big stage, he should move up and make the fight. There is no disrespect. Why not?

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Fast Results From London: Joshua Takes Out Povetkin in the 7th



UK sporting

It was a very wet night at Wembley Stadium, but the dampness didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the crowd which welcomed UK sporting hero Anthony Joshua into the ring with a thunderous ovation. And Joshua didn’t disappoint. After six relatively even rounds, he found his range in the seventh and became the first man to stop Alexander Povetkin. A three punch combo that began with an overhand right sent Povetkin sprawling into the ropes. The Russian beat the count, but Joshua smelled blood and as soon as the ref allowed the proceedings to continue he moved in for the kill. The official time was 1:59.

Povetkin started fast and in the eyes of many observers won the first three rounds. A sharp right hand in the waning seconds of round one reddened Joshua’s nose which leaked blood in the next round. The tide began to turn in round four when Povetkin suffered a cut above his left eye.

Povetkin (now 34-2), was the lighter man by 23 pounds. Joshua had a four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage. And it mattered greatly that AJ was the younger man by 10-plus years. Povetkin wasn’t intimidated by Joshua and had several good moments but, at age 39, his reflexes betrayed him once the fight had crossed the midpoint.

Joshua, who owns three of the four meaningful heavyweight title belts, improved to 22-0 with his 21st stoppage. His next fight is penciled in for April 13 of next year against an opponent to be determined. His promoter Eddie Hearn has reserved that date at Wembley Stadium.

Other Bouts

In a 12-round lightweight bout, Joshua’s Olympic Games teammate and fellow gold medalist Luke Campbell (19-2) avenged the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-111,116-112) over France’s Yvan Mendy (40-5-1). This was Campbell’s second start since coming up short in a bid for Jorge Linares’s lightweight title and his first fight under his new trainer Shane McGuigan.

In their first meeting in December of 2015 at London’s O2 Arena, Mendy won a split decision that should have been unanimous. Campbell insisted that he had improved greatly in the interim and tonight’s fight bore witness. However, he needs to develop a harder punch to rank among the top lightweights in the world, a list headed by Mikey Garcia. As this fight was framed as a WBC title eliminator, Campbell is next in line to meet Garcia, but Mikey has indicated that he will pursue bigger game.

Lawrence Okolie, a 2016 Olympian who trains with Anthony Joshua, won a Lonsdale belt in only his 10th pro start with a 12-round decision over defending BBBofC cruiserweight champion Matty Askin in a messy fight. The undefeated Okolie had a point deducted in round five for leading with his head and had two more points deducted for holding, but banked enough rounds to get the nod on all three cards: 116-110, 114-112, and 114-113. Askin, who declined to 23-4-1, had won five straight heading in.

A 10-round heavyweight match between Sergey Kuzmin (13-0, 1 NC) and David Price (22-6) ended suddenly when Price retired on his stool after four relatively even rounds. The six-foot-eight, china-chinned Price claimed to have aggravated a biceps tear.

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.



Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face



Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

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