Allan Green proved once and for all that a junkyard dog without teeth is of little interest unless it can whistle when Andre Ward shut him out and shut him up over 12 lopsided rounds in the Group Stage II finale of the World Boxing Classic at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. With the win–120-108 across the board–Ward earns two points and takes over the top spot of the Super Six tournament. Arthur Abraham, who faces Carl Froch next, is currently in second place with three points.
As for the fight—well, there was no fight, as Ward, 167 3/4, put a dunce cap on Green early, led him into a corner, and refused to let him out for the rest of the night. Surprisingly, Ward opted to maul Green for most of the fight, stifling the bigger puncher on the inside and mangling Green against the ropes. It was not pretty and it was not particularly exciting, but Ward put his spoiling tactics to good use against a fighter not emotionally capable of handling them.
Green, who slips to 29-2 (20), was marginally competitive for two and a half rounds, doubling up his jab and landing a stiff right midway through the first, but once Ward decided to bullyrag Green against the ropes, the fight was essentially over. Despite his fast hands and quick feet, Ward, 26, is essentially a junkball artist, a magician at marring, and when he saw Green was mesmerized by his legerdemain, he pulled every trick out of his hat in rapid succession.
Occasionally Green, Tulsa, Oklahoma, managed to spin Ward around and retreat to center ring, but he was as hopeless outside as he was inside, and Ward dropped right after right over the top, banged lefts to the body, and tied Green up in an assortment of armbars and neck locks. He also had the smarts to realize that Green cannot fight backing up, needs room to place his shots, and is as weak as a foal on the inside. Ward worked Green up, down, over, under, with uppercuts, noogies, and an occasional smack from portside for good measure.
Aside from a sharp counter left hook landed with a minute to go in the fourth and a few good body shots here and there, Green, 30, put up only token resistance. He did jaw with Ward during the middle rounds, but Ward, 21-0 (13), jawed back, and referee Raul Caiz stepped in to warn both men about soliloquizing. The Cruelest Sport hired a lip reader, not a very good one, perhaps, who swears the last thing Ward said to Green was, “I never promised you a rose garden, Allan.”
During the last quarter of the fight, it appeared as if Ward was on the verge of stopping Green, but he simply did not have the power to do it. As Green, an eye-opening 166, languished against the ropes, Ward pounded him down like a man tenderizing an oversized cut of beef, but, ironically, Green proved resilient in yielding the fight.
For Green, whose erratic nature is symbolized by the seemingly infinite number of nicknames he goes by–“Sweetness,” “Ghost Dog,” “Hammer,” and “Soul Rebel”–his lack of big time opportunities over the years seems validated by his poor performance last night. He is now all but mathematically eliminated from advancing to the semi-finals of the Super Six and will be stuck in the trip wire role against Mikkel Kessler in Group Stage III. He blamed staleness and overtraining for his loss, but it simply looked like his confidence sagged once Ward turned the fight into an alleyway scrap.
Ward, who cinched a spot in the semi-finals, moves on to face Andre Dirrell in Group Stage III.
Comparisons to Sugar Ray Leonard and Roy Jones Jr. are specious, of course, but Ward, Oakland, California, is clearly one of the smartest and most versatile fighters in the world, with a work ethic and confidence to match. He is capable of adjusting his game mid-fight and, with his clinch and club tactics, is an expert at nullifying his opponents. Green, for example, had nary a chance to test his left hook on Ward. It will take an awful lot of willpower to keep from being spellbound by Andre Ward in the ring.