SAN DIEGO – September 8, 2012 – The fall 2012 boxing season gets underway in earnest today with matchups on different sides of the Atlantic and at different points along the athletic career path commanding attention from fans.
At the Olympic Indoor Arena in Moscow, Russia, Vitali Klitschko (44-2-0, 40 KOs) reportedly plans to fight for the last time against Manuel Charr of Germany. (21-0-0, 11 KOs) The heavyweights will square off in front of 30,000-plus fans, one of them being Russian President Vladimir Putin. This is the Ukrainian Kltischko’s first fight in Russia; it is only the second fight for Charr outside Germany.
The 41-year-old Klitschko, who speaks several languages and is the first boxing champion to hold a Ph.D., plans to transitions to a career in politics in his native Ukraine, running for the nation’s Parliament on a platform of lowering taxes and maintaining transparency in government. Call him Congressman Ironfist.
At their weigh-in Friday, Klitschko weighed 247.5 pounds, and Charr weighed in at 241 pounds. Charr is four inches shorter than Klitschko with a build like a tank. Charr is undefeated but has half the experience of Klitschko and a fraction of the knockouts. The oddsmakers have Charr as a 40 to 1 underdog, but he expressed confidence in his youth (he’s 27) and his ability. Klitshcko himself says Charr “represents the new generation of heavyweight boxers.”
The truth is that the bar is not set high in this division. Outside of Klitschko and his brother Vitaly, the division is in disarray. As announcers like to say, the “oh” has got to go, but Charr can win much respect with a good showing. HBO will air the bout on delay prior to the Ward-Dawson bout.
Fighting in his hometown of Oakland, California, the undefeated Andre Ward (25-0-0, 13 KOs) faces off against “Bad” Chad Dawson (31-1-0, 17 KOs) at the Oracle Arena, Oakland. This fight will be shown on HBO Boxing at 9:45 p.m. Eastern.
Dawson is moving down to 168 pounds to fight Ward for the unified super middleweight title and he made the weight on the nose as did Ward at their weigh-in on Friday. Give credit to these two for giving us a champion versus champion fight and for Dawson for agreeing to the fight. He said it wasn’t that hard to make the weight with a good clean diet and training but that being forced to diet has not only made him leaner, but meaner because of having to restrict his eating.
Dawson has an advantage in height and reach, but there is much speculation about how fighting at a lighter weight will affect him. Dawson is in the “nothing to lose, everything to gain” situation. He retains his light heavyweight title even if he loses. He’s going up against a fighter who is skilled and thoughtful – but not formidable.
Andre Ward is a technician and a student of the sport. He isn’t likely to do anything too surprising or risky, and he keeps a cool head. He won’t engage if it means taking a risk on getting tagged. Ward, the last man to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing for the USA in 2004, says his only goal is to get that victory. It’s great for the won-loss record, not so good for the attendance and pay-per-view numbers. It’s the reason Ward isn’t a bigger star drawing the big money fights, because entertainment is secondary.
Dawson says he knows he’ll need to do plenty of work to beat Ward, and he predicts the fight will devolve down to more of a brawl before it’s all over. Don’t look for any knockouts here. These guys usually end up going to the scorecard, and while we’ve learned anything can happen, it’s likely to be Ward’s night.
It’s possible the winner could face Kazahk boxer Gennady Golovkin next. Golovkin got fans excited about him with an impressive knockout victory last weekend. Golovkin said he’d fight either Ward or Dawson. Whatever way it shakes out, Golovkin against anybody worthy of him is a fight fans will eagerly look forward to seeing.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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