Andre Ward dominates Alexander Brand
By Scott Gilfoid: Andre Ward showed off his stuff in beating Alexander Brand in a clinical fashion on Saturday night in giving the boxing world a taste of what they’re going to get on November 19 when Ward works over IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) did everything that was asked of him tonight in beating Brand (25-2, 19 KOs) like a drum in front of a large crowd at the Oracle Arena in beautiful Oakland, California. HBO Boxing televised the fight for the U.S fans. They got the chance to see Ward put in a masterful performance that reminded me of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The judges did a great job of scoring the fight in giving Ward the victory by the scores of 120-108, 120-108 and 120-108. The 8,653 fans that showed up to see Ward fight got a real treat with his marvelous master class performance. Ward made Brand look like he had two left feet. Brand couldn’t do anything right in the ring tonight.
Heck, Brand was even stumbling around the ring and falling down after he missed with his punches. Against a lesser fighter than Ward, Brand would have been landing his big power shots and scoring knockdowns. Against Ward, Brand couldn’t lay a finger on him.
Ward looked like the same fighter that dominated the Super Six tournament many years ago, as he made the 39-year-old Brand miss repeatedly with his power shots. It wasn’t that Brand was too short. It was that Ward’s defense was like the iron curtain. He either blocked or dodged Brand’s best power shots to completely neutralize his offense in the fight.
It was embarrassing how badly Ward dominated Brand. We’re talking about a very high quality super middleweight in Brand. He wasn’t just some fodder guy that was pulled out of a local pub to fight Ward. We’re talking about a very good fighter in Brand. He just couldn’t land a thing in the fight because Ward kept making him miss.
Some boxing fans have been quick to downgrade the fight by calling it a mismatch, but the only reason it was one-sided was because of the incredible talent of Ward.
Ward is a technician and you can’t expect him to go out and try to KO a guy like Brand, especially with the way that he was on the move after getting a small taste of Ward’s power early on. Ward hit Brand with a big left hook in the 4th round and from that point on, Brand was in the shutdown mode and not willing to let himself get caught again by one of Ward’s power shots.
I was really impressed by Ward’s punching power in this fight. He showed really good power with either hand in landing some real bombs in the fight. Brand showed a great chin in taking Ward’s best punches without getting knocked out or knocked down.
Ward will fight Sergey Kovalev next for his straps on November 19 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. There’s a chance that the fight could wind up in New York. Hopefully it stays in Las Vegas, because that way Ward’s fan from Oakland will have an easier time making it to the fight. It would be a hardship for many of Ward’s fans to have to fly all he ay across the United States in order to see him fight Kovalev in New York. That’s not right. The fight needs to happen in Las Vegas.
“We knew this guy was going to be really, really hard to knock out. He’s a veteran,” said Ward via ESPN.com about Brand. “People got to realize that when a guy with experience doesn’t want to get knocked out, it’s hard, and he’s throwing punches from crazy angles and has got nothing to lose. So I tried to press it. Didn’t get it. But it’s good to get the rounds.”
I totally agree with you, Mr. Ward. Brand didn’t want to get knocked out in the fight. Brand was using crazy angles, leaning backwards and not making the same mistakes twice. I noticed how when you would punch him, Brand would learn from the mistake he would make and not do the same thing a second time. Brand is a very smart fighter.
Ward connected on 190 of 490 punches for a connect percentage of 39 percent. Brand connected on 45 of 285 punches for 16 percent connect percentage. That was a dreadful number, I must say. I can’t remember ever seeing a fighter land only 16 percent of his punches like I saw tonight with Brand. He was throwing punches in a wild manner, as if he wasn’t even trying to land them. They seemed more like punches being thrown to avoid getting hit with any of Ward’s shots. In other words, Brand appeared to be throwing punches to scare Ward off rather than to hit him with anything. It’s kind of like how British heavyweight Tyson Fury fought in his fight against Wladimir Klitschko last November in Dusseldorf, Germany. Fury was throwing punches to scare Wladimir away rather than to connect with them. Brand really struggled to land punches in round two, four and 11.
Brand connected on just two punches in round 2, 4 and 1 punch in the 11th round. Only landing 45 punches in the entire fight was a pathetic number by Brand. That was a totally inept performance from Brand, because he should have been able to do better than that. But you have to remember, Brand was fighting a major talent in Ward, so it’s not surprising that he was only able to land 16% of his punches in the fight.
In looking at the way Brand fought tonight, I wonder if this had to do with the purse he got for the fight. Brand’s purse for tonight’s fight against Ward was $30,000 to Ward’s 850,000. I hope that Brand didn’t hold his game in reserve because of the money he received in the fight.
Ward had problems getting opponents to face him. Three guys reportedly said no to a fight against him, according to Dan Rafael. I think Brand tried his best to win the fight, but when he realized at some point that he didn’t have the talent to win, he played it safe.
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