HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Andre Ward Picks Apart Alexander Brand, Kovalev Next
By: William Holmes
The Oracle Arena in Oakland, California was once again the host site for Andre “Son Of God” Ward’s (29-0) return to the ring in a light heavyweight matchup against the Colombian Alexander Brand (25-1).
Ward has had most of his success in the super middleweight division, but a big money showdown with light heavyweight kingpin Sergey Kovalev awaits him if he is able to walk away victorious.
Many fans, including the HBO announcers, viewed this bout as little more than a tune up bout. Sergei Kovalev was in attendance.
Andre Ward, a lefty who fights out of an orthodox stance, focused on his jab in the opening round and was trying to find his range. Brand was short with almost of his shots, and that reapeated in the first three stanzas.
Ward was able to land his lead left hooks in the second round, and attacked to the body more in the third round. Brand was able to land an uppercut and a jab in the third, which may have been the first punches he landed in the fight.
Ward was able to pick up the pace in the fourth round and had Brand backing up with a consistent stream of jabs to the body. Ward was able to crack Brandi n his jaw with a lead left hook as Brand was moving backwards, and followed it up with a jab cross combo to the head.
Ward’s accuracy improved in the fifth round as he get the crowd’s approval several times with sharp crosses to the head of Brand. Ward even switched to a southpaw stance, and he looked like he was going for the knockout.
Ward stayed in a southpaw stance in the sixth round, and ripped several hard combinations to the body and head on Brand at will. The show continued into the seventh round as Ward switched seamlessly from orthodox stance to a southpaw stance and picked the overmatched Brand apart.
Brand’s eye was cut in the seventh round and showed signs of swelling in the eighth. Ward’s lead left hook from the orthodox stance was thrown with violence in the eighth, and the force behind his right crosses were more noticeable than before.
Brand was just trying to survive in the ninth round, and slipped badly in the middle of the ring in an attempt to counter Ward.
Brand’s corner told him before the tenth to try and just survive the rounds, and he followed their advice and took hardly any risks. Ward, however, continued to go for the stoppage and was able to catch Brand with several hard right crosses.
Ward went for the knockout, and Brand tried to avoid the knockout, in the final two rounds. Brand, at the very least, was successful in his goal of surviving.
Andre Ward wins the shutout decision with scores of 120-108 on all three scorecards.
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.