August 7, 2016
August 7, 2016
Andre Ward

Stacey Verbeek

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WHILE a super-fight “marinates,” a willing opponent sometimes gets the call of a lifetime to face a star. The goal being to fill a time slot and help tune-up the big name for a more lucrative, and hopefully more interesting and entertaining, bout down the road. When that happens, fight fans are sometimes left with the kind of spectacle that took place last night in Oakland, California, with Andre Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) beating Alexander Brand (25-2, 19 KOs) for literally every minute of their 12 round matchup.

For perspective on how big of a mismatch this actually was, it’s helpful to note that Alexander Brand was a 100-1 underdog going into this fight. Further, Ward’s purse was reported to be $850,000 while Brand took home a measly $30,000.

Going into the fight, everyone knew that Brand would be no real test for the bigger, better, faster, stronger, more experienced and markedly more talented Ward. Yet the match took place anyway, and we watched.

“We knew he’d be hard to knock out,” said Ward. “We tried to press it. We didn’t get it but it’s good to get the rounds”

If it sounds like he’s describing a decent sparring match, it’s because that’s precisely what this fight resembled.

As expected, Ward was effective, offensively, throughout the night and was never in trouble or hurt in any way, shape or form. At times, he struggled with counters and finding the appropriate angles from which to launch an substantive attack due to Brand’s clumsy defense, but he found more than enough success to log another dominant win.

The crowd in attendance cheered every time their hometown hero landed on Brand but eventually seemed to grow frustrated with Ward’s inability to knock out his opponent.

Brand took everything that Ward was able to muster over the course of twelve rounds. He did hit the canvas once, but, much to Ward’s chagrin, it was due to a pirouette gone awry in the center of the ring that ended with him splayed on the canvas and the crowd giggling incredulously.

Ward seemed frustrated at times, unable to genuinely hurt Brand, and his opponent was content with making it to the end of the fight relying on a defense consisting primarily of awkwardness.

With Ward-Brand now firmly in the annals of boxing history, everyone can finally start planning for one of the biggest matches that can made in the sport, a showdown between Andre Ward and WBA, IBF, and WBO light-heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev.

When asked if he feels any more ready today, after his fight with Brand, than he did yesterday, Ward said “I’ve been preparing for this moment since I was a kid. Of course I’m ready.”