Ward outpoints Miranda over 12
Super middleweight prospect Andre Ward (19-0, 12 knockouts) took a big step in his pro career by scoring a dominant 12-round unanimous decision over former title challenger Edison Miranda (32-4, 28 KOs) in the main event of a Showtime-televised card from the Oakland Arena in Oakland, Calif. on Saturday.
Ward, who won by scores of 116-112 and 119-109 (twice), had to overcome a rocky first round in which the much-stronger Miranda landed a couple hard right hands and an accidental headbutt produced a nasty cut above the 25-year-old Oakland native's left eye.
After sticking and moving in the second round, Ward began to assert himself by standing his ground in spots — often after switching to a southpaw stance — and trading with Miranda. Ward mixed hard body shots in with his quick two- and three-punch combinations in rounds three, four, five and six; often making Miranda miss and then pay by landing the more accurate shots.
In the late rounds Ward reverted to his orthodox stance and though he frustrated Miranda by alternately moving and smothering his tough Colombian foe, he abandoned his body attack and didn't appear to take advantage of the veteran's fatigue and ineffective aggression.
However, it should be noted that Ward was in new territory with the limited but strong-willed Miranda. Never had the 2004 Olympic gold medalist been in with an opponent as strong and powerful as Miranda; and none of his previous opponents were able to take the clean power shots that the Colombian took round after round.
Some of the late rounds were ugly with all of the mauling that took place, but Ward was more effective in close than his more experienced opponent.
Although Ward gained invaluable experience going 12 rounds with Miranda, the talented boxer was not as thrilled with his ring work as his vocal hometown crowd was.
“I'm not happy with my performance,” Ward said afterward. “I put my body in positions that made me open to getting hit, but I think I answered some questions people had (about how I would react to getting) hit and cut.”
With the victory, Ward picked up the NABF 168-pound title and advanced to the WBC's No. 1 contender. The WBC title is held by England's Carl Froch (25-0, 20 KOs), who is coming off a TKO victory over former middleweight champ Jermain Taylor.