The Ward of Oakland and self proclaimed Son of God managed make it to the weigh in of his scheduled bout against Sullivan Barrera without injury, but can he make it to the scratch line and beat a legit lightheavyweight tonite at the Oracle on Oakland?
Nobody really knows since Andre Ward tried his damnedest to wriggle out of this fight, denying the match repeatedly over twitter in spite of Barrera and his manager possessing the contract for the fight signed, sealed, and delivered. Ward may look like he lost his way in boxing, but that didn’t prevent the bookies from making him a huge favorite, so what are they seeing?
The venue, Oakland, always Oakland these days, of course. Ward has all the advantages of hand picked refs and judges ready to mug Barrera who is a relatively unproven fighter thus far, so nobody wants to go against such a blatant canned hunt setup for Ward. My guess is his promoter, Roc Nation, will have to dynamite him out of Oakland into a big venue and big fight to recoup losses since Ward’s signing, this representing the first step towards that goal.
Barrera does look overmatched on paper and he’s Cuban, so two strikes against him before the first bell sounds, but make no mistake, this guy has excellent amateur credentials and has been making a solid transition into the pro style unlike most Cubans with 6 straight knockouts. In short, he ain’t a runner, so cutting to the chase, he’s a whole lot hungrier fighter than the fainthearted Ward who noted he’s become a shoe collector in the manner of the infamous Imelda Marcos. Barrera is much more dangerous than that. He happens to hold ama wins over Chad Dawson, Beibut Shumenov, and wants to knock Ward out of his shoes. His problem being that he’ll have to defend against a blizzard of head butts, getting hit on the break, low blows, elbows, all delivered without penalty as the ref pulls him off Ward anytime he gets on top of him.
I get the feeling Barrera knows it’s an uphill battle and will be ready for the dirty stuff that most Cubans already know about. This is a non title fight. Bet on the outcome at your own risk.