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Styles will clash when Ward, Dawson square off in Oakland

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alexis terrazas/special to the s.f. examiner
Andre Ward and Chad Dawson
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OAKLAND —But they won’t.

Rather, their respected fighters, Andre Ward and Chad Dawson, two of the finest American pugilists today, will.

In what is touted as one of the premier boxing bouts of the summer, the 168-pound champion Ward will stake his title against Dawson, the best 175-pounder in the world, on Sept. 8. It will be Ward’s first fight at Oracle since 2010.

Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs), who claimed the lineal light heavyweight championship last April with a points win over Bernard Hopkins, immediately issued a challenge to the Oakland native Ward (25-0, 13 KOs), and he promptly responded.

The match between the peculiarly effective, sometime stylistically messy Ward and the counterpunching Dawson is one that could potentially catapult either man into boxing’s reserved stardom. But both combatants admit that their respected feats won’t be easy.

“He’s a tall order — literally and figuratively,” Ward said, who’s an inch shorter than the 6-foot-1 Dawson. “That just adds to the intrigue of the fight and that’s what we have the next two months for is to come up with a plan that’s gonna chop this tree down.”

But it’s Connecticut-based Dawson who’ll be doing some cutting of his own. But there’s sensible reason in the calm southpaw boxer dropping seven pounds.

“I want to be the pound-for-pound king,” Dawson said, who twice before has fought in his opponents’ hometowns. “I’m quiet. I don’t like to talk, I don’t say much. But on the 8th, they’re going to see why in don’t talk much, and why I save it for the ring.”

And it was in the ring where Ward’s trainer, Virgil Hunter, first glimpsed the lanky lefty and his problematic style.

“I called Andre. I said, ‘That kid there, that’s the one who’s going to give you some trouble. Him, right there,’” Hunter recalled.

“But that was then, and this is now.”

Based on the bickered banter exchanged at Monday’s news conference at Oracle Arena, you’d think that rival promoters Dan Goosen and Gary Shaw would be the ones squaring up later this September.

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