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Ward didn’t impress against Brand

Andre Ward

By Allan Fox: Andre Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) still didn’t impress last Saturday night despite being matched against an old and smaller fighter in 39-year-old Alexander Brand (25-2, 19 KOs) at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. In fact, the fight was boring because of Ward. He made it boring by not going after a guy that was a showcase opponent. While some boxing fans are calling Ward’s performance last Saturday against Brand as a “great performance,” I think it was a boring safety first performance.

There was an official explanation given why Ward had to fight an guy from the super middleweight division in Alexander Brand rather than fighting someone from the 175lb division.

Some boxing fans think it was a combination of the following reasons: A. Brand was willing to accept the $30K that was offered to him by Ward’s management for the fight. B. By bringing in a smaller and older fighter, it would increase the chances or Ward to look good and get a knockout to help create interest in his November 19th fight against IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. C. Brand was viewed as someone that could give Ward rounds so that he could get the rust off. Ward did get rounds, but he looked rusty as ever.

Ward’s management obviously wanted Brand badly enough for him to fight that they were willing to reschedule him for Ward after the two of them were unable to fight last November on the Miguel Cotto vs. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez card. Ward suffered a knee injury that caused him to pull out of the fight card. His opponent was supposed to be Brand. It’s hard to believe that Ward’s management wanted Brand enough to bother rescheduling him for last Saturday. In looking at how small and limited that Brand was in the fight against Ward, there was no reason for him to be used as an opponent.

The fact that Ward wasn’t able to KO Brand or even land his punches with accuracy was a major negative. Ward did not look sharp in the fight when you compare him to the performances he put in during the Super Six tournament. Ward wasn’t the same fighter he’d been during the tournament many years ago in 2011.

You can say that Ward dominated the fight, but he didn’t look as good as guys like Adonis Stevenson, Sergey Kovalev, Joe Smith Jr. and Artur Beterbiev. Those are Ward’s competition in the 175lb division. Alexander Brand is not Ward’s competition. He was just an old and small guy that Ward’s promoters pulled up from the super middleweight division. Ward did not look sharp, and you can argue that the above mentioned light heavyweights would have blown Brand out of the water last Saturday night. If you honestly believe that Brand would have been able to go the distance with Kovalev and Stevenson if they were the ones slugging him in the face for 12 rounds.

If you think that Ward is going to be able to do the same thing against Kovalev that he did against Brand, you’re kidding yourself because it’s not going to happen. Kovalev is bigger, stronger and with longer reach than Brand and Ward. Kovalev is going to be able to hit Ward with his shots all night long in their fight on November 19 and there’s nothing that Ward can throw that will keep Kovalev off of him.

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