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Ward too Good for Miranda

By Eric Thomas: Number #2 ranked World Boxing Council super middleweight contender Andre Ward (19-0, 12 KOs) kept his perfect record intact with a convincing 12-round unanimous decision tonight over Edison Miranda (32-4, 28 KOs) at the Oracle Arena, in Oakland, California. Ward, 26, was cut over his left eye in the opening round and had to fight with the bad cut for the next 11 rounds to get the victory.

It wasn’t easy for Ward, the 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist for the U.S., to protect the cut because Miranda was trying hard to home in on the cut with his big right hands and left hooks.

However, Ward helped himself by staying at a distance where he was hit much less often than he would have otherwise if Ward had chosen to trade shots with the powerful Miranda. The cut was caused by a head clash early in the round.

Miranda was able to land some big shots from time to time in the early going, but had problems with Ward’s southpaw stance and his elusive manner of fighting. In rounds six through eight, Miranda landed nice right hands in each of the rounds, but was unable to hurt Ward or put more than one or two punches together at a time.

Ward dominated the action in the last four rounds of the 12-round bout, hitting Miranda with fast combinations and then getting away before Miranda could fire back with anything in return. To his credit, Miranda kept trying to land the big one until the final bell in the 12th. He just didn’t have the speed to catch up to the wily Ward tonight.

With this win, Ward becomes the mandatory for WBC super middleweight champion Carl Froch. However, the way that Froch is looking at fighting a number of highly talented fighters, most recently a proposed unification match with International Boxing Federation super middleweight champion Lucian Bute, Froch might not have the title long enough for Ward to ever get a chance to fight him.

Although I like Ward’s chances greatly against Froch, I don’t think that Ward has the skills to defeat Bute. For Ward’s sake, hopefully Bute and Froch don’t end up fighting, because I feel that Bute would be too skillful and powerful for Ward to take on at this early point in his career.

As for Miranda, this loss sinks him ever deeper towards journeyman status. Miranda had already been beaten three times in the past three years, twice by Arthur Abraham and once to Kelly Pavlik. Before the loss to Pavlik in 2007, Miranda seemed to be on course for an eventual title shot against WBC/WBO middleweight champion Jermain Taylor.

With the loss to Pavlik, a 7th round TKO in 2007, the opportunity went to Pavlik instead of Miranda. Edison would then lose by a 4th round knockout to Abraham last year in a rematch of their 2006 bout. With tonight’s loss, Miranda needs to make some decisions about what to do with his career.

In hindsight, it seemed like a bad idea for Miranda to move down and take on a fighter as talented as Ward, because Miranda isn’t really all that technical compared to Ward. It may be that Miranda might be able to make his mark in the light heavyweight division where he would have lesser opposition than in the super middleweight division.

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