Andre “S.O.G” Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) won his tune-up fight on Saturday night to stay unbeaten in defeating Alexander Brand (25-2, 19 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. The fight was televised by HBO Boxing, and you have to wonder whether they regretted agreeing to televise this fight. It was very boring performance from Ward from the 1st round until the 12th. Ward looked like he never got out of 1st gear tonight, as he just slowly plodded around the ring like a heavyweight than a light heavyweight. it was like watching paint dry. Brand was no better. He ran from Ward for 12 rounds and made it impossible to watch.
The judges scored the fight 120-108 x 3. You couldn’t give Brand any of the rounds in the fight because he was fighting defensively by moving and holding for the entire fight. It looked like Brand made up his mind that he wasn’t going to get hurt or stopped. By using movement, Brand ensured that he would get through the fight. But it’s not as if Ward showed any real punching [power. His shots didn’t have enough power on them for them to bother Brand in any real way.
Ward switched to southpaw in the 6th in an attempt to throw Brand off, but it didn’t work. Brand did better with Ward fighting as a southpaw. Ward was smart to realize this and switch back to the orthodox stance.
Brand’s right eye was reddened in the 7th from a left hand from Ward.
With all the exciting contenders and prospects in the sport for HBO to televise, it was sad to see this boring affair from Ward because it was really bad television. For the boxing fans that saw the recent dull performance from Terence Crawford last July in his fight against Viktor Postol on HBO pay-per-view, tonight’s performance from Ward rivaled that one. It’s not that Ward ran from the smaller Brand in the fight. On the contrary, Ward was constantly stalking the 39-year-old Brand around the ring in the fight, but he wasn’t letting his punches fly nearly enough for the fight to be an entertaining one. Ward looked like he was waiting for the exact right moment to throw his punches for fear that he would miss and get countered. If Ward had just thrown his punches anyway, he likely would have nailed Brand many more times.
It almost looked like Ward was carrying the over-matched Brand intentionally in order to give the boxing fans a show. A younger Ward would have hit Brand at will tonight and likely stopped him. However, the 32-year-old Ward we saw tonight wasn’t the fighter he’d been seven years ago, as he doesn’t throw punches as often as he used to, and his accuracy isn’t as goo either. Ward’s mobility is not the same as well. Ward used to be a highly mobile fighter that could move around the ring quickly. Ward can’t do that anymore. He now plods around the ring like a tank with the added muscle he’s put on his frame.
Ward will be facing IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev next on November 19. I would favor Kovalev by a long shot against Ward right now. Ward has gotten too old and isn’t good enough to keep Kovalev off of him.