HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Andre Ward vs. Alexander Brand
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Andre Ward will return to the ring to face Alexander Brand in what most boxing analysts feel is a tune up bout.
Andre Ward will be fighting at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California for the third time in his career and for the fourth time in his past five fights. The Oracle Arena is a friendly venue for Andre Ward, who grew up in the area, and a hostile environment for his opponents.
Several promising boxers will appear on the undercard, including Maruice Hooker, Darmani Rock, and Raquel Miller. However, HBO will likely only televise the light heavyweight matchup between Andre Ward and Alexander Brand.
The following is a preview of the main event for HBO World Championshp Boxing on Saturday, August 6, 2016.
Andre Ward (29-0) vs. Alexander Brand (25-1); Light Heavyweight
Andre Ward did not fight from November 2013 to June 2015 due to a contract dispute with Goosen Tutor Promotions. However, he was able to resolve that dispute and sign with Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports.
Ward is already scheduled to fight Sergey Kovalev on November 19th in Las Vegas on a major bout that will be televised on HBO PPV. Andre Ward and his team know that the Kovalev bout is a big money bout, and decided to face Alexander Bout in low risk-stay busy fight.
Andre Ward will be about a half an inch taller than Brand but will be giving up a half an inch in reach. Ward is also seven years younger than Brand, who is thirty nine years old.
Ward’s amateur success is well noted, for he was an Olympic Gold Medalist for the United States in 2004 in the light heavyweight division and is a two time US National Champion. Brand had some success on the regional circuits as an amateur competing for Colombia, but never made it to the Olympics and came nowhere near the success of Andre Ward.
The one area that Brand may have an advantage over Ward is power. Brand has stopped nineteen of his opponents, while Ward has only stopped fifteen of his opponents while having three more fights. Ward has stopped two of his past five opponents.
Inactivity may be an Issue for Ward. He has only fought three times since September of 2012, three times in nearly four years. However, Brand has only been slightly more active than Ward has he fought twice in 2015 and once in 2014.
Brand has spent most of his career fighting in Colombia. He has fought three times in the United States, and his lone loss came in the United States to Badou Jack.
Andre Ward clearly has the better resume as a professional. He is the former WBC, WBA, Ring Magazine and lineal super middleweight champion. He also won the often overlooked Super Six World Boxing Classic that Showtime had a few years ago and won the BWAA Fighter of the Year in 2011.
Ward has beaten the likes of Sullivan Barrera, Paul Smith, Edwin Rodriguez, Chad Dawson, Carl Foch, Arthur Abraham, Sakio Bika, Allan Green, Mikkel Kessler, and Edison Miranda.
Brand has not defeated anyone of note, and his best wins have come against Medzhid Bektemirov, Bernard Donfack, and Jorge Rodriguez Olivera.
Andre Ward will have the toughest test of his career in November when he fights Sergey Kovalev. Saturday’s bout, however, should be one of the easiest fights he has had in the past five years.