Andre the Giant: Ward Blanks Brand

By Robert Ecksel on August 7, 2016
Andre the Giant: Ward Blanks Brand
“You got to respect Sergey for the way he's gotten to where he's got.” (Photo: Courtesy)

Andre Ward is a tough sell in the best of times. In the worst of times, when a tune-up is a letdown, he is harder to sell than ever…

Andre Ward did himself no favors Saturday night.

In a fight televised live on HBO Championship Boxing from the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, former unified super middleweight champion Andre Ward (30-0, 15 KOs), now campaigning as a light heavyweight, won a lopsided unanimous decision over 85:1 underdog Alexander Brand (25-2, 19 KOs), from Bogotá, Colombia, to win the vacant WBO International light heavyweight title.

Ward swept the three judges’ cards by scores of 120-108.

The fight was a mismatch on paper. It was a mismatch in the ring. Brand had won all his fights, with the exception of a split decision loss to Badou Jack in 2012, against relative unknowns, and he had never fought at light heavyweight, let alone against a future Hall-of-Famer seven year his junior.

Under the circumstances, Brand performed admirably. He went the distance with Andre Ward. But the fight was little more than a glorified sparring session. It was not a strong selling point for the November 19 pay-per-view fight against WBA/IBF/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev.

“We knew this guy was going to be really, really hard to knock out,” said Ward after the fight. “He’s a veteran. People got to realize that when a guy with experience doesn’t want to get knocked out, it’s hard, and he’s throwing punches from crazy angles and has got nothing to lose. So I tried to press it. Didn’t get it. But it’s good to get the rounds.”

CompuBox doesn’t use words like “slaughter,” but no one would have winced if they had. Ward landed 190 of 490 total punches (38.8 percent) to Brand’s 45 of 285 (15.8 percent). Ward landed 69 of 282 jabs (24.5 percent) to 8 of 88 (9.1 percent) for Brand. And Ward connected with 121 of 208 power punches (58.2 percent) to Brand’s 37 of 197 (18.8 percent).

Andre Ward is a tough sell in the best of times. In the worst of times, when a tune-up is a letdown, he is harder to sell than ever. He is brilliant—the Super Six Tournament was evidence of that—but he may have peaked. Ward is also an acquired taste, much as Bernard Hopkins and Guillermo Rigondeaux are acquired tastes (and which some have no intention of acquiring). They make boxing look easy. They did not, however, in the case of Hopkins, and may not, in the case of Ward, make one want to fork over pay-per-view dollars.

That’s where Kovalev comes in. The knockout artist from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, by way of Kopeysk, Russia, generates excitement in spades, but he, like Ward, is a thinking man’s fighter. “Krusher” will be looking for a knockout. It’s his calling card, the thing he does best. But Kovalev won’t be reckless. Ward will be looking to go the distance, putting those superior skills to superior use. He won’t be reckless either. Jim Lampley’s disclaimer prior to last night’s fight, about it not being up to HBO’s standards, was right on the money. Ward performed as Ward performs and he was as clinical as he was exemplary. Brand was wild, awkward, swinging for the fences.

He had a great amateur career, but he’s not in the amateurs anymore.

Those who expect a slugfest when Ward fights Kovalev may go home disappointed.

Ward is too smart to trade if he can get away with it.

The same is true of Kovalev.

“You got to respect Sergey for the way he’s gotten to where he’s got,” Ward said. “He hasn’t had soft touches. He wasn’t protected. And he wasn’t really pushed by the media. He’s a guy who should get more credit than he has. The winner of the fight could possibly be pound-for-pound.”

“I’m ready,” said Kovalev. “He’s ready. I want to say let’s do this.”

“I’m looking forward to it,” replied Ward. “I want to be the light heavyweight champion of the world.

“I’ll see you in November.”

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Andre Ward vs. Alexander Brand: World Championship Boxing Highlights (HBO Boxing)

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  1. NYIrish 03:29am, 08/11/2016

    SOG ? WGAF ?

  2. non_prophet 12:21pm, 08/10/2016

    whole lotta wishful thinking on this thread. (Looking at you Andrew and Didier)

  3. Koolz 05:07pm, 08/09/2016

    Ward and his team failed to show up at the Media Gathering and they have not agreed to the Venue for the fight.
    Here we go!  Drama time!

  4. andrew 04:13pm, 08/08/2016

    Irish: I hope we can take Krusher fighting the Pimp before Ward to the bank because it will be a much better fight than SOG running and grabbing.

  5. didier 06:58am, 08/08/2016

    Ward is going to get smashed to pieces by Kovalev

  6. Eric 06:30am, 08/08/2016

    oops, meant to say, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God was a Nazarene. Sorry amigo.

  7. Eric 06:26am, 08/08/2016

    Jesus of Nazarene referred to himself as the, “Son Of Man,” while he was actually the REAL Son Of God. We are all supposedly God’s children, although I’m certain that judging by our world there are some who have to be Lucifer’s offspring. teehee. I guess every male could rightfully call himself the, “Son Of God,” but that title does seem a bit over the top and pretty blasphemous. Since Kovalev is perceived as the REAL 175lb champ, if boxing was truly run right, Stevenson would face Ward in an eliminator, with the winner receiving a shot at Kovalev. Kovalev by 8th round stoppage over Ward.

  8. art 07:40pm, 08/07/2016

    Just when I thought we are finally free of a boring fighter like Floydie, here comes Ward who. with his hugging and clinching, turns boxing into lovefest.  And arrogantly calls himself Son of God.  Remember one of the Commandments “Do not use My Name in vain”......Ward is being blasphemous.

  9. Koolz 05:07pm, 08/07/2016

    I am agreeing with Irish Again!  Basically when Kovalev fought Hopkins he made sure it went to 12 rounds to show he can go to 12 rounds.

    I am pretty sure Irish you must mean Chilemba.  Kovalev got careless with a cold and it messed up his training.

    I Just see Kovalev catching Ward and knocking him down.  Then winning the fight if they fight?

    I would have like to see Chilemba fight Ward before Kovalev.  I think Ward vs Kovalev is rather funny really, SOG against the Krusher is sure to be Krushed.

    Got to see that Russian Judo in the Olympics !! Damn That was Awesome!

  10. Marky brown 03:47pm, 08/07/2016

    Adonis stevenson flattens both ward and kovalev! Period!  That’s why these 2 have avoided at all costs

  11. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 01:31pm, 08/07/2016

    100:1…..and the smirking SOG couldn’t get Brand out of there. I’ll tell you who could get Brand out of there….Chilemba, that’s who. Kovalev woefully under performed against Hopkins and if he doesn’t get Ward out of there it will be deja vu all over again. Not to worry though….this fight is not going to happen any time soon, if ever. Kovalev will fight Stevenson before he fights Ward and you can take that to the bank.

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