by Eric Raskin
“And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer.” Whether you attribute this quote to ancient Greek philosopher Plutarch or to more modern philosopher Hans Gruber of ‘Die Hard’ fame, it’s a quote that could have been applied a few months ago to either Chad Dawson or Andre Ward. Dawson had scaled the light heavyweight mountaintop, claiming the lineal 175-pound title by becoming the first fighter in nearly two decades to convincingly defeat Bernard Hopkins. Ward had effectively cleaned out the super middleweight division by dominating the “Super Six” tournament, the chasm between he and the rest of the 168-pound class growing wider with each victory.
Sure, there are always new challengers. But are there are always true challenges? For Dawson at light heavy and for Ward at super middle, it seemed the answer was no. Their respective worlds had been conquered.
Thankfully for fans of competitive, elite-level prize fighting, both Ward and Dawson stopped weeping long enough to realize that, beyond their immediate worlds, there was still one thing out there that needed conquering: each other.
Though the fight will be contested at the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds, it is essentially for supremacy over two weight classes. Maybe such affairs were common in the days of Henry Armstrong, but nowadays, a matchup like this one is a rarity. These are both pound-for-pound-level guys (ESPN.com ranks Ward fifth, Dawson 11th; Sports Illustrated positions them sixth and 12th, respectively; BoxRec.com has them seventh and eighth). And as we’ve learned rather painfully over the last few years, pound-for-pound guys who should be fighting each other don’t always end up fighting each other. Dawson and Ward deserve credit for actively seeking out this challenge.