Oakland’s Andre Ward meets the ever dangerous Allan Green and his savage fists this weekend in a super middleweight battle that should have taken place long ago. But sometimes things work out for the better.
The Super Six Super Middleweight tournament features IBF super middleweight titleholder Ward (20-0, 13 KOs) in his home grounds hoping his brittle knee holds up against hard swinging Green (29-1, 20 KOs) at the Oracle Arena on Saturday. Showtime will televise the Goossen-Tutor main event.
Both fighters have gimpy knees.
If you know anything about Ward it’s that he has super speed and is agile as a cat. Those legs helped him win the gold medal in the 2004 Olympics in Greece and carried him to the world title in his last bout: a win over Denmark’s Mikkel Kessler last November in a big upset.
Basketball and too much training forced the Oakland prizefighter to first undergo knee surgery then rehabilitation. Fighting a taller and long armed boxer puncher like Green makes it mandatory that he have all cylinders pumping in this encounter.
“In my mind I’m preparing for a very physical and very grueling fight. And if there is anything left, then that’s fine,” Ward, 26, says.
Green is a late substitute for former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor who was brutally knocked out in the first round of the tourney by Arthur Abraham. Unable to continue, a replacement was found in Oklahoma’s Green.
“The thing I didn’t understand was Jermain Taylor getting into the tournament. No offense against Jermain but we fought on the same show and I won my fight and he lost his fight. I got pushed back to ShoBox and he got put into the tournament. That’s what I didn’t understand,” said Green, 30, who is making his debut in the tournament.
So far the only loss Green suffered came against Edison Miranda in a give and take battle that was won by the Colombian. What few knew before that fight in 2007 is Green had to undergo an operation to remove much of his intestine.
Like Ward, a knee operation has Green on questionable legs but the Oklahoma fighter does not fight a hit and run style and seldom fights laterally. He prefers to go forward and blast opponents out of there.
“My right knee is fine. We’ve had no issues with the knee throughout our entire training camp. Coming off of surgery there are certain things you need to do in rehabilitation just to keep the muscles and the hamstring and all the different muscles that wrap around the knee; just keeping them strong. The knee has really been a non-issue in this camp,” Green said.
Just more than a week ago a similar fight took place where a fighter Yuri Foreman with a bum knee was unable to move against a slugger like Miguel Cotto and found himself too vulnerable and lost badly. Could that happen to Ward?
“What I’m prepared for is a dog fight. I’m prepared for anything he’s got,” says Ward who has shown lately an ability to fight inside as he did against Kessler in his last fight. “I know eventually I’m going to get respect for the dog that’s in me and for the bite down that I have. It’s about going out there and taking care of my business. I expect him to have a chip on his shoulder because I definitely have one on mine.”
Ward has always displayed incredible athletic ability even as an amateur. In the past three years he’s layered those physical gifts with technical prowess especially fighting in close against supposed stronger punching opponents. Green can really punch.
“Andre looked great against Kessler but I’m not Kessler. Mikkel Kessler really couldn’t deal with a lot of things that Andre was doing,” Green said about Ward’s last win. “Andre is not the easiest guy to fight with his style but I understand how to fight him because I fought a lot of those guys in the amateurs. I understand his style.”
Ward believes that many underestimate his ability to change tactics and adapt to a different style if necessary.
“I try to say as little as possible before a fight. I’m not going to stand there and get pushed down or get bullied but at the end of the day I just shut my mouth, work hard and take care of business,” Ward said.
It’s a battle between America super middleweights or maybe it’s a battle between knees?
Fights on television
Wed. Showtime, 11 p.m., Rob Lawler (17-5) vs. Renato Sobral (35-9).
Fri. ESPN2, 7 p.m., Max Vlasov (17-0) vs. Kingsley Ikeke (27-3).
Fri. Telefutura, 11:30 p.m., Luis Ramos (15-0) vs. Joshua Allotey (16-8)
Sat. Fox Sports, 8 p.m., Rodel Mayol (26-4-2) vs. Omar Nino (28-3-2).
Sat. Showtime, 10 p.m., Andre Ward (20-0) vs. Allan Green (29-1).
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?