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Ward vs. Miranda This Saturday

By Jim Dower: This Saturday night former 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist for the U.S. Andre Ward (18-0, 12 KOs) will be facing Colombian knockout artist Edison Miranda (32-3, 28 KOs) at the Oracle Arena, in Oakland, California.

The bout will be shown on Showtime, giving both fighters some much needed visibility in front of a large U.S. audience. Ward, 25, is ranked highly in the super middleweight division and is counting on getting a title shot in the near future. However, Ward’s boxing resume is pretty vacant of talented opposition, which is why Miranda was chosen as an opponent.

If Ward can beat Miranda in an impressive fashion, it will help make a name for Ward and give him a great deal of media attention for his five-year pro career. Goodness knows Ward needs a respected name like Miranda for his resume because Ward has been put in with mostly soft opposition up until now.

Ward’s most recent fight was a 12-round decision over Henry Buchanan. Ward has much less experience against top quality opposition compared to Miranda. While Miranda has been in with Arthur Abraham, Kelly Pavlik, Allan Green and Howard Eastman, Ward has been in with no one resembling those kinds of fighters.

This is why it’s unknown how well Ward will do against a puncher like Miranda. I’ve seen Ward fight on four prior occasions and he’s looked very good in each of the bouts. However, in each case Ward was facing a much talented fighter with a lot less power than what Miranda is going to be bringing into the bout on Saturday night against Ward.

Miranda also is likely to be the bigger fighter of the two by the time the two fighters enter the fight, because Miranda fights at light heavyweight and walks around at 190. It’s probable that after the weigh-in, Miranda will re-hydrate back up to the 180+ range.

If it was only weight, it wouldn’t be nearly so bad. However, Miranda not only will weigh more than Ward, but he’ll also have the much bigger power in each hand. Ward can out-box Miranda for 11 rounds, but if Miranda connects with his left or right hand, he has the power to end the fight with one punch.

Miranda, 28, really needs this win badly for his career, as he’s been beaten three times in the past three years, losing twice to Arthur Abraham and once to Kelly Pavlik. Those losses have really taken the steam out of Miranda’s once hot career.

Miranda’s problems started with a controversial 12-round unanimous decision loss to Abraham in 2006, a fight in which Miranda broke Abraham’s jaw with a big right hand in the 5th. However, Miranda would soon find himself being penalized repeatedly for head butts and low blows.

Although Miranda won most of the rounds based on his aggressive punching, he ended up losing he fight because of the constant point deductions that were taken away from Miranda by the referee. I’ve seen the fight several times and I can only see one instance in which I felt that Miranda should have been penalized and that was when he head butted Abraham.

But beyond that, it looked as if Miranda was given the business in Germany. Things took a turn for the worse for Miranda following that fight, as he was stopped in the 7th round by Pavlik in 2007. Miranda used the wrong fight strategy when he decided to go right at the hard punching Pavlik and trying to beat him at his own game.

Maybe if Miranda’s chin was better he could have possibly taken Pavlik out, but it wasn’t to be as Pavlik methodically wore Miranda out and eventually stopped him in the 7th.

If Ward can avoid getting caught by one of Miranda’s huge shots, I think Ward will easily beat Miranda by a 12-round decision. However, Ward is going to need to have a good chin to take the heavy shots that Miranda will be throwing his way. Ward needs to try and take Miranda out as soon as possible so that he can avoid getting hit with one of Miranda’s big shots.

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