Head to head: Ward-Green
ANDRE WARD vs. ALLAN GREEN
When: Saturday, June 19
Where: Oakland, Calif.
TV: Showtime, 10 pm. ET (live) / PT (delayed)
Weight: Super middleweight (168 pounds)
Title(s) at stake: Ward’s super middleweight title
Also on the card: Tony Thompson vs. Friday Ahunanya, 10 rounds heavyweights; Kendall Holt vs. Jesse Feliciano, 8 rounds, welterweight.
Height / reach: 6-1 (185cm) / 73 (185cm)
Hometown: Oakland, Calif.
Turned pro: 2004
Record: 21-0 (13 knockouts)
Trainer: Virgil Hunter
Fight-by-fight: Fight-by-fight: Fight-by-fight: http://www.boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=281958&cat=boxer
The Ring rating: No. 2 super middleweight
Titles: WBC super middleweight
Biggest victories: Edison Miranda, May 16, 2009, UD 12; Mikkel Kessler, Nov. 21, 2009, TD 11
Height / Reach: 6-2 (188cm) / 73 (185cm)
Hometown: Tulsa, Okla.
Nickname: Ghost Dog
Turned pro: 2002
Record: 29-1 (20 knockouts)
Trainer: John David Jackson
Fight-by-fight: Fight-by-fight: http://boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=149791&cat=boxer
The Ring rating: No. 8 super middleweight
Biggest victories: Carl Daniels, Nov. 15, 2008, TKO 7; Carlos De Leon Jr., April 25, TKO 2; Tarvis Simms, Oct. 2, 2009, UD 10
Losses: Edison Miranda, March 3, 2007, UD 10
Skills: Both Ward and Green are classic stand-up orthodox boxers who use a sharp left jab to set up accurate power punches. They are thinking fighters who pride themselves on their ability to anticipate and counter or shut down their opponents’ moves. Ward is a little more focused than Green and his technique is cleaner.
Power: Ward has underrated power but Green’s left hook is a bona fide game changer. He doubles up with the hook to the body and head very well and he can end fights if it connects squarely to his opponent’s jaw. Green’s right cross is also a formidable weapon. The 30-year-old Oklahoman is also the naturally bigger man. Green turned pro at light heavyweight and fought his first 15 bouts between 171 and 181 pounds. Ward, who won his Olympic gold medal at 178 pounds, is no pipsqueak, but he was able to make middleweight during the first two years of his pro career. Green is likely the physically stronger man.
Speed and athletic ability: Both men are exceptional athletes who are gifted with speed, power and superb hand-eye coordination. However, Ward’s hands and reflexes are just a tad quicker than Green’s.
Defense: Neither man likes to get hit, but Green, who likes to stalk his opponents, is more offense-minded than Ward and thus gets tagged more often by his opponents. Ward often utilizes an in-and-out/clinching strategy that limits his opponents’ offensive openings. He’s either out of range, striking from mid-range or tying his opponents up on the inside. Ward also tucks in his chin a little bit better than Green does.
Experience: Ward and Green have two common opponents, Rubin Williams and Jerson Ravelo. Green fought and defeated both fighters first. However, Ward has victories over two RING-rated super middleweight contenders in Miranda and Kessler, and one fringe contender (Henry Buchanan). Green has yet to defeat a current RING-rated contender (his one loss is to Miranda, who was ranked by the magazine at the time) but he has faced more prospects (Ola Afolabi, who went on win a cruiserweight interim belt and earn a RING ranking in the 200-pound division, Jaidon Codrington, DeLeon Jr., and Ravelo) and veterans (Anthony Bonsante, Emmett Linton and Simms).
Chin: Neither fighter is Jake LaMotta in terms of their ability to take a hard shot to the chops. Both Ward and Green have been dropped by rank journeymen. Green was down and nearly out in the third round of his fight with Donny McCrary after he dropped the raw puncher with a body shot. (Green rallied and stopped McCrary in the sixth round of his 20th pro bout.) Ward was seriously rocked in the second round of his second pro bout against Kenny Kost, who he outpointed over six rounds. Ward was dropped in the third round of his seventh pro bout against spoiler Darnell Boone, who he outpointed in a six-round bout.
Conditioning: Neither Ward nor Green has ever appeared out of shape for a fight and both have displayed professional stamina in their distance bouts. Ward has gone the 12-round distance twice. He fought into the 11th round in his technical decision victory over Kessler. Green has never fought 12 rounds but he’s gone the 10-round distance five times.
Wear and tear: Neither man has ever taken an extended beating in the ring or has even been in a particularly grueling fight.
Corner: Virgil Hunter has done a masterful job with Ward, who he’s trained from the very beginning. It’s obvious the two have a successful rapport. Ward has gone from amateur champ to Olympic gold medalist to professional titleholder under his God father’s guidance. However, Hunter’s experience beyond his God son is limited, and we have yet to see how he will react to adversity once Ward experiences it in the ring. Green has been paired with John David Jackson for his last 10. Jackson is a former two-division titleholder who has also worked with Bernard Hopkins (as an assistant trainer), Shane Mosley and still serves as Nate Campbell’s head trainer.
Outcome: Ward and Green are among the most intelligent active boxers in the sport, so fans can expect an intense chess match in the early rounds of the bout. As Green gradually begins to apply pressure and attempts to close the distance, Ward will engage more and attempt to tie Green up on the inside. Green, the bigger and possibly stronger man, will not comply during the clinches, which will spark some rough and sometimes ugly grappling during the middle rounds of the bout. Both men have the speed and timing to land flush power shots and both possess enough power to do serious damage, so knockdowns are also a possibility during the middle rounds of the bout when they begin to settle into their rhythms and figure out the other’s style. If there is a knockdown, expect the downed fighter to get up and know how to survive until his head clears. The fight will be close going into the late rounds, but Ward, the more focused fighter, will execute more effectively down the stretch of a hotly contested boxing match.
Prediction: Ward by close decision
Michael Rosenthal contributed to this feature.