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Ward Destroys Camou, Scott & Estrada Both Victorious

Andre WardBy Chris Williams: I suppose this was supposed to have been a step up for undefeated super middleweight contender Andre Ward (17-0, 12 KOs). However, as it turned out, the fight was just as easy as Ward’s previous 16 fights in his professional career, as he took apart veteran Esteban Camou (23-5, 19 KOs), stopping him in the 3rd round of a scheduled 10-round bout on Saturday night at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, in Cabazon, California.

Making his first appearance since badly injuring his right knee in a pickup basketball game six months ago, Ward, 24, a gold medal winner for the United States at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, dominated early and often against the badly over-matched Camou. The end came in the 3rd after Ward staggered Camou with a hard left hand, then followed it up with a flurry of shots, ending with referee Pat Russell stepping in and halting the action at 2:46 of the round.

From appearances, it seemed as if Russell was a little quick in stopping the bout, but considering that Camou had done next to nothing in the fight and was taking a serious one-sided beating, it seemed like the logical thing for Russell to do in stopping the fight. Ward turned southpaw in the 3rd round, and the change seemed to cause Camou all kinds of problems trying to adjust to it.

Initially, my thoughts were that Ward had turned to southpaw in order to take the strain off his surgically repaired right knee, which he was using to pivot on for his power shots, but later on, Ward said that he just felt like turning to southpaw, and that his knee was giving him no problems in the fight.

In the opening round, Ward used mainly his jab to control Camou, hitting him over and over again with superb-looking jabs and keeping him from landing his shots. Camou’s lack of hand speed was a big handicap for him, because he was unable to match Ward’s blazing speed and was forced to take a lot of punches each time he would attempt to get into punching range.

Perhaps for this reason, Camou only landed a couple of punches in the round and only rarely tried to start up his anemic offense. In the 2nd round, Camou came lunging out for the start of the round, throwing a flurry of punches with most missing.

Ward then got to work, landing hard left hooks to the body and throwing nice combinations to the head. Camou, again, did next to nothing in the round except for taking shots. In the 3rd round, Ward suddenly changed from orthodox to southpaw, hitting Camou at will with straight left hands and right hooks.

It was a move that was hardly needed by Ward, because he was dominating before then, but it had the effect of speeding up Camou’s defeat. Ward began to load up with his punches, putting much more power on them, as if he wanted to get the fight over with. After stunning Camou with a big left hand, Ward then poured in a flurry of shots, prompting for referee Pat Russell to stop the massacre.

In other action on the card, unbeaten super middleweight Shawn Estrada (2-0, 2 KOs) needed only 43 seconds to stop Shaun Spaid (3-3, 2 KOs) in the 1st round. Jumping on Spaid from the opening bell, Estrada, 23, the former 2008 Olympian for the U.S, dropped Spaid with three hard right hands to the head. After getting up and receiving a standing eight count, Spaid, his head down, went running after Estrada and was met with more right hands to the head.

Spaid was quickly beaten to the canvas for the second and final time, with a clubbing right hand to the head. Referee Lou Moret then stopped the fight at 0:43 of the round. As good as the win is, it’s hard to tell what Estrada got from the victory, because he fought with little technique, punching as if he were in a bar room brawl rather than a boxing match.

This was Estrada’s second 1st round knockout of his career, and one would hope that he starts using some of these valuable fights to work on his skills rather than just trying to finish off his over-matched opponents as quick as possible. Given the fact that the fight was so quick, it’s hard to tell whether Estrada has the skills to become quality fighter in the future or not.

Also on the undercard, undefeated heavyweight contender Malik Scott (32-0, 11 KOs) won an eight-round unanimous decision over journeyman Raphael Butler (34-8, 27 KOs). The final judges’ scores were 80-72, 80-72 and 79-73. Using his excellent jab, Scott, 28, controlled Butler throughout the fight. Butler, 24, a hard puncher, began finding Scott in the 4th round, landing some good shots in the round. Scott, however, continued to outwork him in rounds five and six with his jab. Scott, usually not a hard puncher, landed a big right hand in the 6th round.

Judging from the power on the shot, it seemed unusual that Scott wouldn’t load up more on his power shots, because when he wants to, he can punch as hard as anyone in the division. In the 7th round, Scott landed a clubbing right hand at the start of the round and traded big power shots with Butler. For his part, Butler’s bottom lip was bleeding and he was beginning to tire from the pace. Scott finished strong in the 8th and final round, landing hard right hands to the head of Butler and dominating the round.

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