Ward vs Green, simple, right? Just basic American single syllable names in a simple basic rockem-sockem American style fight, right?
Let’s take a look.
Green was the replacement for Jermaine Taylor who chose to withdraw from the tourney after being knocked out so devastatingly by Arthur Abraham. Hard to believe that Allan Green has kicked around as a pro now for some 8 yrs now without ever beating a top ten contender or receiving a single title shot, but there it is, the dilemma of the modern American fighter, nibbling around at the fringe, darting among the shadows.
The Ward challenge represents a quantum leap in class and opportunity against another American oddity, America’s last Olympic gold medalist in boxing from the 2004 team. Andre Ward was supposed to be another Golden Boy, a 20 yr old phenom turning pro in the golden hills of California with a sunny, smiling disposition borne of golden Olympic credentials, yet he too has seemingly had a modern American shadow cast on his career, nibbling at the fringe primarily in California.
In the biggest fights of his career, 3 of his last 4 will have taken place in Ward’s hometown of Oakland, California, perhaps a testament of the residual weight Olympic Gold carries in these barren American boxing days. Currently the hometown is vastly favored in the Super Six Tourney, 5-0, so the hometown advantage is quite distinct. Green has also campaigned mostly in his home state of Oklahoma, but he has traveled to distant locales within the US and even made it Puerto Rico for his biggest fight, Edison Miranda, whom he dropped a 10 rd decision to.
Oddly enough, Andre Ward has never once fought in Las Vegas, much less Nevada, nor has he appeared in Madison Square Garden, very unusual for such a uniquely all American creation. In comparison, Green did make Las Vegas on a Friday night undercard as a 4 rd novice, but otherwise has stayed away from the glittering lights.
So, the oddsmakers will be making Ward the big favorite with him coming off his biggest win against the top ranked Mikkel Kessler combined with the glittering amateur credentials and hometown advantage.
Ward does have a strike against him though, he’s also coming off of reconstructive knee surgery after the Kessler bout. We saw an example of how devastating knee problems can be a few weeks back in the Yuri Foreman defense against Miguel Cotto, so until the knee is properly tested, there will be a concern to any players as to the odds they’re getting.
Allan Green has had far more serious medical problems though, having had most of his colon removed back in 2007, a major debilitating operation. He seems to have rebounded nicely with 5-0, 3 KO record against fringe contender types, but as mentioned, as yet still untested against top opposition.
So the bout has some intrigue born of both fighters needing a testing to see what they have left. Andre Ward represents the boxer in this bout with his unblemished 21-0, 13 KO record. He was rumored to have a soft chin that needed soft opposition coming up, but his chin was intact with solid performances against big punching Miranda and Kessler, so perhaps those rumors were unfounded.
Ward is meeting a huge, hard punching fighter in Green who turned pro at the lightheavy limit and has been as high as 181 lbs, but Green made a career decision in 2005 to campaign in the super middle class, so here he is, 29-1, 20 KO, feeling neglected and hungry for opportunity which finally seems to be unlocking it’s doors to him.
As to the tactics, well, Ward is going to use movement to keep Green moving and box him in and out much like he did Miranda and Kessler. Green is going to box to prevent himself from looking bad on the cards, and setting traps, looking for the big counter or hands down moment to deliver his bomb. It should be a decent technical fight at very least, and it could be a dramatic fight if Green can solve Ward’s footwork and put him in some trouble.
Logic dictates a Ward win, but I’m going against all logic here because I feel Green will be in the condition of his life and has some untapped potential that might well prove to be America’s newest Superman’s kryptonite.
So, it’s Green for me unless some breaking news comes out that would alter my pick. I just got that funny feelin’.
6/21/10- Post Fight Review:
Well, excuses are like gas, everyone has some, but it was well noted in the media that Green may have overtrained, and, indeed, that appears to be the case as Green as the bigger, allegedly stronger fighter having been as high as cruiserweight early in his career, turned up as weak and meek and tiny as a newborn kitty.
It could be that the 80% bowel resectioning has weakened him enough to be exposed at the elite level, or maybe the hype of the interviews coming into his first major event took a mental and physical toll on Green as he only weighed 166 after previously being at the 168 lb supermiddle limit in his last two fights. He certainly had the style, the punch, and the reach to be a major danger, but, Ward tossed a blanket on his tiger and smothered him inside, near suffocating Green by the end.
I’m reading in the Ring blog where the author acknowledges the boredom of the bout, but justifying it on thrilling technical merit, but I’m sorry, but that’s complete hogwash. It was a fight that was 90% contested inside, nose to nose, grabbing and tossing out popcorn and kisses for punches. Nobody was ever buzzed, staggered, or more than barely mussed from the best punches.
That reminds me of a host of great inside work done by Dick Tiger who was The Man slaying a landscape of monsters in his day. Thinking also of scarcely remembered crown jewels of boxing such as Griffith/Paret III and Frazier/Quarry I & II if you want to see the way the all timers do nose to nose blasting demolition against prime hungry man eating predators.
For me, the best fights of the super six series have been Froch/Kessler who brought some old school technique and toughness into that donnybrook, and Abraham/Taylor which featured Taylor in the physical condition of his life working Abraham as hard as he’s ever been worked in his career to give it all up with one of the most dramatic one punch KOs you can ever witness.
Moreover, not that hometown cooking played a role in this final result, the hometown fighters are 6-0 in the series. I do take issue with the scoring as Green was game and fighting even up with Ward through the first 5 rds before his boiler ran out of steam. He operated at around 20% capacity after that, just using his skills and experience to hold on for the big Home Run Shot Heard Round the World that never came.
Queuing up as we speak, perhaps Froch/Abraham can deliver a Fight of the Year classic, with some possibilities for Ward/Dirrell and Green/Kessler.
Yes they can…….keep hope alive……..and never say die when one punch changes everything.