"Andre Ward is not a big puncher at all. I mean, at the end of the day, he has to do something to make me not think that I can overpower him, and I don't think he has the punching power to do that, you know. I mean, this is boxing and anything can happen. Any punch can end it for anybody, but I really don't think he has the punching power to keep me on the outside and to not make me want to jump on the inside and not mix it up with him...Don't rule out the knockout because the knockout can come. Andre Ward has been down, I've been down before, but I don't think I've ever been as bad as he's been hurt," stated WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, who talked about his highly-anticipated September 8th showdown with super middleweight king Andre Ward. Check it out!
BT: What's going on, Chad?
CD: Ben, how you doing man?
BT: I'm doing good. How you doing, bro?
CD: I'm doing great!
BT: No doubt. Chad, you're coming off the biggest win of your career, a victory over Bernard Hopkins, plus you've got wins over the likes of Tomasz Adamek, Glen Johnson, and Antonio Tarver. So why call out Andre Ward?
CD: You know, that's just boxing. When I called Andre Ward out on HBO after I beat Bernard, you know, I did it for boxing. Everything I'm doing, I'm doing for boxing. I want to show fighters that the best need to fight the best, you know? 168 and 175 is pretty much the same class. I mean, I'm fighting at a 7-pound heavier weight class than he's fighting at, but I can make 168. I could make 168 for the last 3 years and I've always known that. I'm just doing this because I want to prove a point, and at the same time, I want to make history. There's never been a fighter to win a title at a higher weight class and go down a weight class and win another world title, so I'm looking forward to that. Like I said, I'm just doing it for boxing.
BT: I know you're fighting him at 168, but was that the plan to begin with or were you actually hoping to face him at a catchweight?
CD: 168 is no problem. I don't think people remember maybe a year ago or 2 years ago, when somebody fell out of the Super Six tournament, I had the option to join the tournament, but I turned it down because I didn't want to give up my title at light heavyweight. 168 has always been in the back of my mind. People don't realize, when I fought from 160 to 168, you know, that's when I was knocking guys out. I was dominating at that weight. I walk around at 182 or 180 pounds. For me to get into camp and fight at light heavyweight, there's no struggle and no strain. I make the weight easy. I eat what I want; burgers, cake, mashed potatoes, everything, you know? The only thing I have to do different this camp is diet. I'm not able to eat the foods that I was eating when I was fighting at light heavyweight. I'm not able to relax and chill and just put weight on and go in the gym and just burn it off. You know, this fight, I really have to watch my diet and watch how I eat; from 4 meals a day to more meals, you know, keep my metabolism running and everything. I mean, everything is going great. Everything is going according to plan. I'm 175 pounds right now. I'm lean, I'm cut, I'm muscular. I'm just looking good and it's fun. I'm having fun doing it.
BT: Obviously you've fought at 168 before. Have you noticed any difference in getting back to that weight, like do you feel faster at the lower weight than you do at 175?
CD: I mean, everything is coming back to me; everything. The hand speed, the different variety of combinations, you know, the foot work; everything is coming back. It's like I'm a child again, you know, playing around in the gym and just doing the things that I knew I was capable of doing. The weight loss is doing wonders for me, you know, going down to my natural weight, 168 pounds.
BT: A lot of people like to compare Ward's style to that of Bernard Hopkins, where he likes to get inside and rough guys up. Do you think the fact that you've already had two camps preparing for that type of fight was beneficial in helping you prepare for what Ward will bring to the ring on September 8th?
CD: Yeah, definitely, definitely. The fact that he likes to get inside and likes to rough guys up, he uses his head like Bernard, you know, he tucks his head down and he throws at the chest, he does a lot of things like Bernard, but I'm not going to say that he and Bernard are the same fighter because he's much, much younger than Bernard. He'll be able to pull the trigger faster than Bernard, so I have to be on my A game. I have to be focused the whole 12 rounds, you know. I can't slip up and lay back. I can't let him rest when he wants to rest and I'm not going to be able to rest when I want to rest. I have to be 100% and I have to be aware of everything that's going on in that ring for 12 rounds.
BT: I don't consider Ward to be a dirty fighter, but there's been a couple of guys he's faced who have complained and said that he can get pretty rough on the inside. Is there any concern about dirty tactics coming into play?
CD: Nah, no concerns. Like I said, I've been in the ring with Bernard and if I can make it through that, I can make it through anything else.
BT: (Laughing) Good point. Ward's been with one trainer, Virgil Hunter, his whole career, whereas you've been able to work with a few top-notch trainers. Do you think that's an advantage, having worked with and being able to learn different things from the likes of Floyd Mayweather Sr., Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, and John Scully?
CD: I mean, the fact that I've worked with so many different styles, I was able to pick up something from all those guys. Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, I think I learned the most from him. He's a great trainer, great guy, and I still have a lot of respect for him. He's just a great trainer. Floyd Sr., I had a chance to work with him for a couple of fights. John Scully, you know, I worked with Scully early in my career and now we're back together. Dan Birmingham, I mean, I've worked with Hall of Fame trainers and I picked up a lot from all those guys. I think that does say a lot about my pedigree and what I've learned from these guys. Some people knock it, but I don't knock it because I look at it like this, if you're with a trainer and you don't feel like that trainer can do anymore for you or take you to the next level, then you gotta move on. You gotta do what's right for your career. The moves I've made were not to damage my career, they were just to make my career better and to better myself as a man and as a fighter. At the end of the day, I've got 4 kids and a wife that I gotta take care of, and if I didn't make those moves, I don't know where I would be at right now.
BT: Obviously you're being viewed as the bigger and stronger guy, but at the same time, you're coming down to what you said earlier was your natural weight. Do you think your size and strength is going to be that significant where it will actually play a factor in the fight?
CD: Absolutely. Yeah, I do. I think they think that they're physically stronger than me and they think they're going to go in there and muscle me and bully me, but it's not going to happen. I mean, fighting at light heavyweight, I've sparred with heavyweights, I've sparred with cruiserweights; I've been in the ring with big guys and Andre Ward is a weight class below me. And the second thing is Andre Ward is not a big puncher at all. I mean, at the end of the day, he has to do something to make me not think that I can overpower him, and I don't think he has the punching power to do that, you know. I mean, this is boxing and anything can happen. Any punch can end it for anybody, but I really don't think he has the punching power to keep me on the outside and to not make me want to jump on the inside and not mix it up with him. At the end of the day, just like I have to deal with the things that he does well, he's going to have to deal with the things that I do well, and deal with my size and my reach advantage, so it's going to be a good fight.
BT: When all is said and done and assuming everything goes well for you, where are you hoping this fight puts you in the grand scheme of things?
CD: Hopefully, it puts me right behind Floyd Mayweather as the pound-for-pound king; behind Floyd or Manny Pacquiao. I mean, I just hope this can be the launching of my career, you know. I remember when Floyd first came onto the scene, not when he came up the ranks, but when people started recognizing that this guys is one of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the world, I think it was right around the same time I think he was about 29 or 30 years old when he started getting the big paydays. I feel like, you know, I'm at the point in my career; I've beaten big names, I've fought everybody they put in front of me, and I've never turned down a fight. I've done everything that my promoters, the boxing fans, and everybody has asked of me; I've done it. I feel like now is my time to come out and let everybody know who I am. This is a big fight and there's a lot at stake for me and Andre Ward, so that's the reason it makes for a great fight because at the end of the day, we're both going to leave everything in the ring on the 8th. We know that the winner of this fight is going to go to the top.
BT: No doubt my man. Well Chad, I know you're busy and I don't want to keep you. You got any final predictions before the 8th gets here? Is Nick Cannon gonna mess up while announcing or anything?
CD: (Laughing) Nah man, Chad Dawson all day. Don't rule out the knockout because the knockout can come. Andre Ward has been down, I've been down before, but I don't think I've ever been as bad as he's been hurt. You look at the times he's been down and look at the times I've been down, he's definitely been hurt worse than what I've been hurt. Chad Dawson all day!