Ward Proves He Deserves the Spotlight

May 17, 2009

Oakland, California -- Andre Ward took center stage Saturday night in an anticipated matchup with Edison Miranda, drawing a partisan Oakland crowd which kept the decibel level elevated at Oracle Arena. This event was billed as the fight which would either validate Ward's position as the preeminent young super middleweight to watch, or expose him as a fighter with a manufactured record. That evaluation would hinge, in large part, on Ward's ability or inability to take punches from the powerful Miranda.

Here is my round by round evaluation from ringside:

Round 1

Contrary to the game plan laid out by boxing experts who expected Ward to merely jab and counter, Ward instead begins Round One as the aggressor, pawing with the jab, but throwing both lead rights and lefts effectively. Halfway through the round, Ward is cut by a head butt, and the crowd anxiously waits to see both how bad it is, and how Ward will deal with it. Miranda remains surprisingly calm, not landing much, but not getting hurt either.
Ward 10-9

Round 2

Ward's corner closes the cut nicely, and it proves to be a non-factor for the rest of the fight. In Round 2, Miranda becomes more aggressive, landing one good right to Ward's ear, but missing wildly with most of his punches. Ward lands a variety of good punches, including a solid left hook, a lead right, and a left uppercut during one of the copious close range exchanges.
Ward 10-9

Round 3

Ward starts to snap his jab rather than paw with it, and he uses it to good effect. Ward appears to be figuring Miranda out, and catches him with a number of solid punches and combinations, again showing a wide variety of weapons in his arsenal. Ward also shows his escapability, backing to the ropes, and then moving out of danger. Miranda lands one good left hook, and despite taking a lot of punches from Ward, seems not to be hurt at all. While Ward is dominating, Miranda still looks dangerous.
Ward 10-9

Round 4

Miranda picks up the activity in this round, but he has trouble finding Ward. Meanwhile, Ward uses his superior handspeed to land body shots and several three and four-punch combinations. At one point, he lands 8 unanswered punches. It's becoming obvious that Ward is the much more skillful boxer.
Ward 10-9

Round 5

Ward continues his aggression, throwing his punches first, and catching Miranda with several good left hands. Miranda does land a right hook, and one good combination, but Ward proves he has a chin by shaking off Miranda's most solid punches of the night. Miranda appears to be waiting for a chance at a knockout punch, rather than fighting with any sort of game plan.
Ward 10-9

Round 6

This is the most interesting round of the fight. Either Ward takes the round off, or Miranda tries to make a last stand, but the result is Miranda's best round of the night. He lands several hard right hands, even knocking Ward's mouthpiece out with about 30 seconds left. Ward passes the chin test, making it through without any damage.
Miranda 10-9

Round 7

Ward gets back to work, landing a big left hand early in the round. Miranda shows his own chin and fires right back. With seconds left, and the round hanging in the balance, Ward lands a good three-punch combination to win the round.
Ward 10-9

Round 8

Ward continues to throw and land the cleaner, bigger punches. In a sign that Miranda is fading, Ward kept him pinned to the ropes for more than two minutes of the round.
Ward 10-9

Round 9

Miranda shows more fight in this round, landing a right hook, straight right, and right uppercut, but his punches lack the power to achieve the KO he needs. Ward continues to land jabs, and again throws and lands 6 unanswered punches.
Ward 10-9

Round 10

Ward continues to dominate. Miranda manages to get Ward to the canvas, but only by stepping on his foot. The referee rules it a slip.
Ward 10-9

Round 11

Ward, knowing that he's far ahead on the scorecards, begins to coast, using his jab and footspeed to elude Miranda, who seems content to let the fight go to the judges.
Ward 10-9

Round 12

This round plays out much like Round 11, but Ward, responding to the cheers from the crowd, finishes the round with a big left hook.
Ward 10-9

Final DSH Scorecard: Ward 119-109.

Two of the ringside judges also scored it this way, while the third saw it 116-112 for Ward.

What We Learned From This Fight

Ward proved tonight that his boxing skills are indeed as formidable as advertised, that his chin is solid, that he can execute a gameplan, and that he deserves the hype. He also proved that his power is not as devastating as his record might indicate. In spite of that shortcoming, his performance tonight went a long way towards solidifying his position as an elite contender for the super middleweight championship.

By David Granger
Staff Reporter for TheDailySportsHerald.com

1 comment:

  1. i saw the fight exactly the same. big win for ward. if he gets a fight with froch, he'll take that slow brit out!


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