Sunday, April 02, 2023  |



Ward dominates Green, makes it look easy but not exciting

Fighters Network

Andre Ward took the fight to Allen Green from beginning to end in their Super Six tournament bout Saturday in Oakland, Calif. Photo / Tom Casino-Showtime.

OAKLAND — Andre Ward continued his winning ways in Showtime’s Super Six Boxing Classic with a unanimous decision over tournament newcomer Allan Green on Saturday. And he continued to make it look easy.

Ward (22-0, 13 knockouts) shut Green out on the official scorecards, winning by unanimous scores of 120-108 in front of an appreciative and enthusiastic hometown crowd at the Oracle Arena.

In his first bout of the super middleweight round robin, Ward upset tournament favorite Mikkel Kessler to take the Dane’s title. The 2004 Olympic gold medalist dominated Kessler, a 3-to-1 betting favorite, to win a ninth-round technical decision.

Green (29-2, 18 KOs) wasn’t impressed with Ward’s victory over Kessler coming into Saturday’s bout.

“Kessler is a good fighter from Denmark who speaks English and understands English, but he doesn’t speak or understand jive. I do,” Green told the week of the fight.

In other words, Green believed that Kessler’s trouble with Ward stemmed from an inability to deal with an African-American boxing style. Green, who is big, fast, athletic (and yes African American, as Ward happens to be), thought he had what it took to hand the 26-year-old titleholder his first pro loss.

Green was wrong. The 30-year-old contender from Oklahoma quickly learned that Ward is a handful regardless of what “language” his opponents speak in the ring.

Green said that he would back Ward up with a hard jab, force the titleholder to fight on the inside and work him over along the ropes. Green said a lot of things before he got in the ring with Ward.

He couldn't even begin to back up his words in the ring, though. Ward, who doesn’t say much before his fights, made sure of that.

He walked Green down for much of the fight. In fact, Ward did to Green exactly what Green said he would do to him. He backed Green up with his jab, outworked him on the inside and beat him up along the ropes.

“We planned to go inside but not until the second round,” Ward said after the fight, “but Green obliged me, so I said OK. I expected a tougher fight.”

It should have been, but Green was not willing to let his hands go. Green claimed to have over-trained for the fight and couldn't get his punches off.

“I’ve had three training camps since December, and it really drained me,” Green said. “I came in at 166 (pounds). It made me feel really weak. I stopped running three weeks ago because I felt so weak. I wasn’t feeling my best. My stomach shrunk a lot. Ward showed me a lot of things. I trained hard, but not effectively.”

Ward is one of the sport’s most effective technicians. His ability to systematically neutralize his opponents’ strengths and physically wear them down over the course of a fight is reminiscent of a prime Bernard Hopkins.

This style has served him well in the Super Six, in which he has four points and clinched a place in the semifinals. Ward is probably the favorite to win the tournament among U.S. boxing writers and fans.

Ward’s toughest fight might not come from any of his fellow Super Six participants. His biggest challenge will be attracting casual fans with his technical approach to boxing.

Ward has the talent, skill and attitude to be a star. Does he have the style?

For boxing purists who appreciate ring generalship, he’s a delight to watch. However, Ward is not must-see TV for the regular sports fan who craves a little violence and sustained action in a boxing match.

Before the blood-thirsty hardcore fans and thrill-seeking casual observers write Ward off as a boring boxer, they should wait to see what the single-elimination semifinals of the Super Six brings.

Ward’s Group Stage 3 opponent, friend and 2004 Olympic teammate Andre Dirrell, will probably not produce fireworks, but potential semifinal showdowns with aggressive-minded European participants Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham just might.

Ward won’t dwell on what the future might bring.

“It will be difficult to fight Andre Dirrell,” he said, “but I’m going to put that aside and rest, and see how it goes from there.”

For now, Ward can be satisfied with another dominating performance and being a hometown hero. The crowd of 8,797 chanted “Let’s go Andre!” and his nickname “S.O.G.” throughout the fight.

He may not be Mr. Excitement but they love him in the Bay Area and he’s a winner.

On the non-televised undercard of Ward-Green, welterweight prospect Steve Upsher Chambers of Philadelphia scored a unanimous eight-round decision over Hector Alatorre, of Tulare, Calif.

Chambers (22-1-1, 6 KOs), the younger brother of heavyweight contender Eddie Chambers, boxed effectively from a distance for much of the bout to earn 80-72 and 79-73 (twice) scorecards. The quick and rangy welterweight, who fought with a bad gash on the outer corner of his left eye, was occasionally pressed to the ropes by Alatorre (16-10, 5 KOs) but was in command for most of the fight.

Light heavyweight prospect Mark Tucker of Eldersburgh, Md., survived the constant aggressive charges of Billy Bailey of Bakersfield, Calif., to win an unpopular eight-round decision.

Tucker (14-0, 7 KOs), a tall and rangy southpaw, won by scores of 78-77 and 77-75 (twice), but he was mugged by Bailey (10-8, 4 KOs). Tucker did well when sticking and moving. Bailey, who loaded up with almost every shot, had his best moments when Tucker’s back was to the ropes.

In the opening bout of the Goossen Tutor/DiBella Entertainment-promoted card, junior welterweight prospect Alexander Podrezov (2-0) of Los Angeles (by way of Russia) won a four-round slugfest with John Dunham (1-6-1), of Stockton, Calif.