HBO Boxing Results for 3/27/16: Diaz and Ward win big with Unanimous Decisions
By: Matthew N. Becher
Live from the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, HBO and Rocnation Sports welcomed back one of the best fighters in the world and local homegrown talent, Andre Ward. The Arena filled to around 8,000 spectators as Ward made his official debut in the light heavyweight division. The celebrities were out in full swing to witness such a great talent in Ward, as he was able to be ushered into the ring by Michael B. Jordan (Hollywood Actor), Marshawn Lynch (All Pro NFL player) and the reigning NBA MVP Steph Curry.
Joseph Diaz Jr. (20-0 11KO) vs. Jayson Velez (23-2-1 16KO) Featherweight:
The undercard was a good matchup in the Featherweight division between once beaten Jayson Velez and undefeated former Olympian Jo Jo Diaz Jr.
Diaz and Velez both have very similar come forward styles and very strong chins. Velez tried to instill his will early, but did not have the power behind his shots to really gain any respect from Diaz.
Diaz was able to land multiple flurries throughout the fight and stagger Velez a few times. It was a one sided win for Diaz, who is now in contention for the next level of fighters in the Featherweight division, which is full of very tough fighters.
Diaz UD10 100-90, 99-91, 98-92
Andre Ward (29-0 15KO) vs. Sullivan Barrera (17-1 12KO) Light heavyweight:
The main event was never an issue for Andre Ward. Having last fought in the middle of last year, Ward was taking on the 34 year old, undefeated Cuban defector Sullivan Barrera. Ward was showcasing for an eventual date with the lineal light heavyweight champion, Sergey Kovalev, later on this year. Kovalev was in the first few rows scouting his future opponent.
Ward was not 100% himself. That is what you get with such a long layoff. He even gave himself a “B-“in his post-fight interview. But it was more than enough to easily dominate the Cuban. Ward controlled every aspect of the fight, from tempo, to power shots. Barrera was able to land some flush shots, but none had any effect on the former champion Ward.
Ward was able to land a left hand on the top of Barrera’s head in the 3rd round that sent an unsteadied Barrera to the canvas.
Ward looked good, and we hope to see him in the ring on a more consistent basis, since you forget what a talent he really is. The question will be what kind of approach he will take against a power puncher like Kovalev. All we know is that is the best fight that can be made in boxing right now.
Ward UD12 119-109, 117-108, 117-109