Ward: I’m a combination of Mayweather, Jones Jr and Hopkins
By Patrick McHugh: Andre Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) broke down the guys that he’s patterned his fighting style after last night following his 12 round decision win over Alexander Brand at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. Ward said that he’s a combination of Floyd Mayweather Jr., Roy Jones Jr. and Bernard Hopkins. It was interesting to hear Ward explain where he got his fighting style.
Hopkins is someone that jumps out at you when you look at how Ward fought last night and in his previous fights. Mayweather and Jones Jr. are fighters that completely different from how Ward fights like. I don’t see any of those fighters’ styles inside Ward’s style.
Ward is mostly Hopkins and the rest largely being stuff he’s learned from his trainer Virgil Hunter.
“I think I’m a combination of Roy Jones Jr., Bernard Hopkins and Floyd Mayweather Jr,” said Ward at the post-fight press conference last Saturday night. “That may sound arrogant, but those are the guys I really study and that’s who I have in my style and obviously Andre Ward. Virgil’s style mixed in with all those styles. I can fight inside, I can get rough. I can be flashy. I can do certain things when I need to. I can be really systematic like Floyd and break a guy down. I think I’ve taken something from all those guys. At the same time, I try to stay true to myself. I try to be formless like Bruce Lee said. I don’t have a style. I be what I need to be. It’s funny because people try to tag me, ‘Oh, he’s a technical fighter. Oh, he’s a slick fighter.’ Not really. There’s a lot more going on in there than being slick, because if there wasn’t a lot of the guys I fought would try to walk through me. I’ve fought some of the biggest punchers in my division. If I wasn’t hitting hard and if I didn’t have nothing to offer, trust me…It’s the same thing they say about Floyd; ‘Ah, he can’t hit.’ Somebody is stopping them from running in,” said Jones.
With the over-matched opponent that Ward had in the ring with him last night in 39-year-old Brand, the easy victory seems to have gone to Ward’s head. He’s talking about himself in glowing terms instead of putting the victory in perspective by admitting that he was matched up against a soft touch in Brand, who didn’t have the size or the talent to get the job done. Ward should have been matched up against a better fighter than Brand, because this was supposed to have been a fight that was a tune-up to get him ready for the Kovalev title shot.
By doing it on the cheap by being matched against an opponent that reportedly only received $30,000 for the fight in Brand, Ward didn’t get the kind of tune-up that he needed to for him to get fully prepared for the Kovalev fight. You get what you pay for in boxing just like with everything, and unfortunately for Ward, he wasn’t tested enough to get the rust out from his years of inactivity.
Ward lacks the hand speed to be like Mayweather and Jones Jr., as both of those guys were blazing fast during the primes of their careers. Ward has never had that kind of hand speed, and he certainly hasn’t gotten faster with his inactivity during the last four years. What we saw from his win over Alexander Brand last night was that Ward can still wrestle on the inside like he did in the past. He’s got Hopkins’ wrestling ability down.
If Ward is going to have any chance of beating his next opponent Sergey Kovalev, he’s going to need to find some hand speed and a bit more boxing ability for him to get out of that fight in one piece. It’s going to be bad news for Ward if he can’t find some speed and movement to get him through that fight, because wrestling alone won’t do the job for him against a guy with the punching power or Kovalev. The guys that have tried to wrestle Kovalev in the past have fought out the hard way that he can punch with major power from up close. Kovalev is one of those rare fighters that can hang with a lot of power with shots thrown at a short distance.
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