Andre Ward fights Chad Dawson tomorrow night in Oakland.
YouTube is doing for boxing what the printing press did for the Bible. We've reached a point where anyone with Internet access can watch every round of virtually any significant prizefight since the New Deal. Literally, as Joe Biden would say.
Boxing, even more than soccer and baseball, gets bastardized by the highlight clip process. The nuances of a fight's narrative arc are lost: the momentum fluctuations, the resiliency needed for a late-round comeback, the chess match of conflicting styles, the discipline of a dedicated body puncher, the anticipatory thrill that builds up and up and up before the adrenaline eruption of a knock-down.
Andre Ward, the undefeated super middleweight champ from Oakland, doesn't produce particularly brutal highlights. He controls a fight from bell to bell, reading his opponent, picking his spots, and racking up rounds with firecracker flurries. The Sparknotes versions don't do him justice. But the YouTube archives help tell the full story.
He'll fight 31-1 light heavyweight titlist Chad Dawson tomorrow night at Oracle Arena. Which means there's still time to binge on a few of his fights before the opening bell. If you're looking for somewhere to start, here are some humble suggestions:
Dec. 17, 2011: versus Carl Froch, then 28-1. To unify Ward's WBA Super World super middleweight title and Froch's WBC super middleweight title.
March 14, 2011: versus Arthur Abraham, then 32-2. Ward defends his WBA Super World Middle weight title for the third time in 12 months.
Nov. 21, 2009: versus Mikkel Kessler, then 42-1 WBA Super World super middleweight champion.
May 16, 2009: versus Edison Miranda, then 31-3. Ward's first fight at Oracle Arena.