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Dawson faces uphill task against Ward

The 30 year-old, who out-classed the evergreen Bernard Hopkins in May to become a three-time world title holder, will attempt to inflict a first defeat on Super-Six champion Ward, 28, as the two go head-to-head on HBO and Sky Sports.

Ward comes into the fight on the back of a career-best victory over the rejuvenated Carl Froch, in which the ‘S.O’G’ became WBC and WBA super-middleweight with a dominant twelve round performance.

The Californian gets home advantage for the mouth-watering contest as he prepares to defend his 25-fight unbeaten record, and goes into the contest as an overwhelming 2/9 favourite with the bookies to seal a 26th.

The fight rightfully takes main event billing at the Oracle Arena heading an undercard topped by Antonio DeMarco’s second defence of the WBC lightweight title against Covina’s John Molina.

Mexican DeMarco, 26, stunned Jorge Linares to claim the title in a gruesome upset TKO victory in October last year and has since defended the title successfully with a fifth round stoppage win over Miguel Roman.

Challenger Molina, three years older at 29, has racked up six straight wins since suffering his only career loss in 25 to Martin Honorio in November 2009 and has scored five knockouts en route to his first world title shot.

Six other fights in Franklin Lawrence v Homero Fonseca, Bowie Tupou v Malik Scott, Tony Hirsch v Roberto Yong, Ricardo Williams Jr. v Anthony Lenk and Randy Guerrero v Juan Urbina complete the card in California.

Andre Ward v Chad Dawson is live on HBO from 9:45pm (ET/PT) and Sky Sports from 2:30am (BST)