Andre Ward previews Lomachenko vs. Commey

By Boxing News - 12/11/2021 - Comments

By Huck Allen: Andre Ward rates Vasily Lomachenko as possibly the best fighter in the 135-lb division ahead of tonight’s crucial clash against Richard Commey at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Lomachenko (15-2, 11 KOs) will be battling one of the hardest punchers in the lightweight division tonight against former IBF 135-lb champion Commey (30-3, 27 KOs) on ESPN.

This fight will put the winner in as the WBO mandatory to unbeaten undisputed lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr, who said on Friday that he wants to fight Lomachenko next, should he defeat Commey.

Lomachenko = a “Bad man” at 135, says Ward

“His last fight against Nakatani showed me a lot. He came out and looked different than he has in his last few fights,” said Andre Ward to Max On Boxing on ESPN on Lomachenko.

Image: Andre Ward previews Lomachenko vs. Commey

“He did everything right, and he dismantled a guy [Masayoshi Nakatani] that many people thought was going to give Loma some trouble. If he can build off that, and I think he will because he still has that fire burning in him off that loss [to Teofimo Lopez], he’s still a really bad, bad man at 135 pounds,” said Ward about Lomachenko.

“It seems to me in the Teofimo fight, he started late and was coming on. I don’t know who wins that rematch, and I don’t know who I pick against Lomachenko on any given night at lightweight,” said Max Kellerman about Lomachenko’s fight with Teofimo Lopez in 2020.

Lomachenko is still the best at lightweight

“He might still be the best lightweight in the world,” continued Kellerman about Lomachenko. “Commey is a good test.

“Of course, the fact that Teofimo did away with him so early [two rounds], we’ll see if Lomachenko can look spectacular enough in his own way to convince people that maybe he still is the best.

“There’s a blue-chip lightweight prospect on the card too, Keyshawn Davis, who won silver in the Tokyo Olympics this past summer, and he narrowly lost to the best amateur in the world in the weight class, Cuban star Andy Cruz. How good a prospect is Keyshawn Davis?” asked Kellerman.

“I think Keyshawn has all the makings to be a boxing superstar,” said Ward. “He seems to want to do the work to be a star, and he smiles and seems to be very conscious of what he says in front of the media.

“In terms of his ability, he is a blue-chipper. He has the potential to be a champion and potentially a great one. Only time will tell if he realizes that potential,” said Ward on Keyshawn Davis.

With the hulking welterweight-sized Teofimo Lopez now gone from the 135-lb division, Lomachenko might very well be the #1 guy.

The only fighter in the lightweight division that could give Lomachenko problems is WBA champion Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, but he’s been sectioned off by Mayweather Promotions.

They’ve essentially isolated Tank Davis, keeping him fighting on Mayweather Promotions and PBC fighters, so we’ll never see him and Lomachenko fight.

Lomachenko’s only competition at 135 are these fighters:

  • Devin Haney
  • Isaac Cruz
  • Ryan Garcia
  • Jorge Linares
  • Joseph ‘Jojo’ Diaz Jr

Unfortunately, you can’t include Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero in the list of potential competition with Lomachenko because he’s also with Mayweather Promotions.

YouTube video

Ward talks Jared Anderson

“What about [heavyweight] Jared Anderson? “Andre, to me, that’s the best American heavyweight prospect since Deontay Wilder. He’s also on the undercard; the undercard is stacked with interesting prospects,” said Max Kellerman.

“He faces Oleksandr Teslenko on the Lomachenko vs. Commey undercard. What’s Anderson’s potential?” said Kellerman to Ward.

“I think the sky is the limit with him,” Ward said of heavyweight prospect Jared Anderson. “He’s also another one that is very personable with the media. He’s always smiling, and I’ve never had a bad conversation with him in our fighting meetings.

“I’ve never seen him give a bad interview, and that’s going to work in his favor in terms of his stardom and how far he goes outside of the ring. But in the ring, he has all the ability, and he has to continue to evolve,” said Ward.

It will be interesting to see how Jared progresses when his promoters at Top Rank begin matching him against better opposition. Anderson will likely do well tonight against Oleksandr Teslenko, as this guy is not on the same level as him.

We’ll see in the future if Jared has the goods when he begins facing fighters like Daniel Dubois, Joe Joyce, Joseph Parker, Frank Sanchez, Andy Ruiz Jr., and Robert Helenius.

Anderson’s ring IQ makes him special

“This is a more dangerous weight class than any other weight class because it’s the heavyweight division. So all your plans can go up in smoke with one punch, but he’s got skills, he’s got the ability, and he’s plenty big at 6’4″ to face these 6’7″ and 6’8″ guys,” said Ward of Jared Anderson.

“Yeah, that’s the question in the heavyweight division. Are you big enough?” said Kellerman. “I mean, even Oleksandr Usyk, he upset [Anthony] Joshua, but he was 230 lbs. In the old days, that was a huge heavyweight.

Image: Andre Ward previews Lomachenko vs. Commey

“But Anderson, you think, has the size, right? We just saw in those clips, which I always look for in heavyweight prospects, you see them putting ones and twos together and see them finishing with a hook, can they put four and five punches together?” said Kellerman.

“This guy [Jared Anderson] can do that. What do you think is his best attribute?”

“His IQ,” said Ward about Jared Anderson’s best attribute being his boxing intelligence. “He’s a thinker in there. He’s a big man, but he’s got a smaller fighter trapped in that body,” Ward said of Anderson.

Jared is a different type of heavyweight, but the style he uses works well for him. It’s hard to imagine Anderson using Mike Tyson’s old style of working his opponents over at close to medium distance.

Anderson does well with how he attacks in waves, coming forward to throw four-punch combinations before pulling back.

Andre wants Jared to move less

“The only thing I would say to Anderson is he has to remember he’s a heavyweight. It’s okay to do smaller fighter things, skillful things with the way he moves, but never forget that you’re not a welterweight, not a super middleweight.

“You are a heavyweight and move accordingly,” said Ward of Jared Anderson. “You may not have to do some of the smaller fighters do but use your skill, but you’re a heavyweight. And you can make things more efficient, especially if you start fighting better competition,” said Ward.

“When you say, ‘Remember you’re a heavyweight,’ is that partly because of what’s coming back at you like some of the dangers in the moves he’s making?” said Kellerman.

“I say that because it’s not like a middleweight hitting a middleweight. It’s not proportional to a heavyweight hitting a heavyweight at a certain size at 240 lbs. The human body was not meant to take that kind of impact.

“Is that why? Because it’s more dangerous at heavyweight?” said Kellerman.

“No, what I’m trying to say is it’s the offensive approach and the defensive approach from Jared Anderson,” said Ward. “Sometimes, he’ll make moves that he doesn’t have to make.”

It’s debatable whether Anderson can find success without moving around a lot because he’s hittable when he’s standing in the pocket, and he’s not the biggest puncher.

Even fighters like Andy Ruiz Jr. have better power and hand speed than Anderson, which is why it’s safer for him to move around rather than be stationary.

Jared moves like a super middleweight

“I’m thinking, ‘those are moves that a super middleweight or a middleweight would make.’ You don’t have to lean back and do extra movement to get out of the way of punches.

“Some of that is in him, and it’s been in him for a long time, and he’s never shaken that. But understand at heavyweight, you take a half step aside and rip a shot.

“You don’t have to dance and move around the ring like some of the smaller weight fighters do.

“You are a big man; even though he’s probably going to be the smaller man against most of these heavyweights, he’s plenty big. His IQ is vast enough, and it’ll continue to grow, and he hits a lot harder than people give him credit for,” said Ward about Jared Anderson.

“I hear you, but it’s just fun to watch him make those moves,” said Kellerman about Anderson.

He could get chewed up if Anderson stays in the pocket like some of the bigger heavyweights. Jared doesn’t have the same power as guys like Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, and Daniel Dubois.

When Anderson gets hit clean, he immediately retreats backward before coming forward to reset. In that respect, Jared fights more like Oleksandr Usyk than he typical heavyweight.