By W. White: Last Saturday night, as I observed Super Middleweight champion Andre Ward (28-0, 14KO’s) disassemble Britton Paul Smith (35-6, 20 KO’s) from press row, I had questions. What was the purpose them fighting at a 172lb catch weight? Did Paul Smith purposely coming overweight to give him some sort of advantage? Is this a fight the general boxing public really wanted to see? How would Andre Ward perform given his 19 month absence from the ring? Who could possibly be next after this fight? As the fight progressed and I observed Ward tactfully picking his spots with his jab and sneaking in straight rights through Smith’s guard, I realized it was only a matter of time.
Ward kept Smith in the middle of the ring circling, probing, and striking routinely as Smith surprisingly continued to move forward. By the middle rounds, Smith’s face was flush and beginning to swell. It would seem as if this was just an over-hyped sparring match for Ward to continue to pick a part his opponent and shake of any ring dust. I say dust because there was an apparent lack of rust as Ward seemed sharp, movement wise, defensively and in overall ring generalship.