Allen Green screamed to the heavens that hed been screwed when Showtime didnt invite him into their Super Six super middleweight tournament. But he showed against Andre Ward that the network made the right call when they left him behind during the bracket formation. Andre Ward won just about every second of every round at his hometown Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA on Saturday night, and skated to a simple unanimous decision win, by scores of 120-108, 120-108, 120-108.
Green came to the tournament when Jermain Taylor exited after being stopped by Arthur Abraham, after being finished off by Carl Froch in his SS debut. But the challenger was curiously listless, and seemed to be on autopilot from early on. Check that--wed seen Green get lazy for long stretches before, and suspected that hed not be changing his spots now. But this was worse than wed foreseen. He talked a good game before, but his work rate didnt come close to matching his yapping.
The WBA super middleweight champion Ward (21-0 with 13 KOs; age 26; 6-1; from Oakland, CA; beat Mikkel Kessler for the title last year) weighed 167 3/4 pounds, while tournament newcomer Green (29-1, with 20 KOs; WBA No. 4; age 30; 6-2; from Tulsa, Oklahoma) was 166 pounds. Raul Caiz reffed the main event.
In the first, the 6-1 underdog Green looked to be the aggressor. His height advantage looked to be more than an inch. It was a feel em out round, but Ward perked up late.
In the second, we saw that the 6-1 edge for the challenger looked too hefty. Greens hand speed is more than respectable, and he wasnt acting like he was just playing out the string. But Ward was warming up, and his jabs were quicker and he started to get some combos together. Green, whose sole loss was to Edison Miranda in 2007, tapped Wards gloves after the round. Where was his eye of the tiger?
In the third, Ward pinned Green on the ropes. The Cali guy did nice work, strafing the gut. Why didnt Green spin out, give himself some room?
In the fourth, we saw more clinching early. It was not a fan friendly fight, particularly, to this point. But Ward was coming on, getting more confident as he saw Green wasnt seemingly on on this evening. Ward did eat a counter left hook in the last minute which reminded him that Green has some tools at his disposal. The champ told Green to give it to him again, suggesting that Greens power is overrated.
In the fifth, we wondered where the jab was for both men. Really, we wondered why Green wasnt throwing more, period. He was in the champs palace, he needed to prove he deserved to win.
In the sixth, Greens legs buckled after a combo. Ward ripped shots with Greens back on the ropes. He cracked below, and came up top. There was no reason for Green to stay there and not at least try and slither out. Green awoke at the end of the round but it was too little, waaay too late.
In the seventh, Ward was in complete control still. His right cross was on target, his jab had stiffened, and Green basically ate his gruel, in stoic silence. With a minute left, Ward went lefty, but switched back quickly. Announcer Gus Johnson went over the top, sorry, when he said, Andre Ward is starting to resemble a young Sugar Ray Leonard. Sorry....no. Thats all Im saying. No.
In the eighth, Green again sat on the ropes. His trainer John David Jackson didnt seem to be as fiery as one might think he would be post-round. His fighter lacked urgency, lacked effort, and needed an ass kicking. In the ninth, Green scored with a swell body shot. But he ate five for every one he threw. A right cross from Ward drew appreciative ahhs from the crowd. Green went 1-3 in the jab department, a beyond woeful stat for which there is no excuse.
In the tenth, Ward started out guns a blazing. He wanted a KO, as had been promised by trainer Virgil Hunter. Ward used Greens best weapon, the left hook, against him. Ward looked to finish off Green in the 12th, but instead had to settle for the UD. Analyst Antonio Tarver took Green to task for not showing fire.
Ward secured a spot in the tourney semifinals. He told Jim Gray after that he got amped pre-fight by Greens yapping. He smothered Green, he said, because Green gave that to him. The winner admitted he expected a tougher fight, and more from the loser. Next is Dirrell. Ward said itll be hard to fight his friend Dirrell.
Green said to Gray he felt worn out from training, that he was too light. I felt dead. I had three training camps since December. I knew coming in I wasnt feeling my best, he said. Explanations, excuses, whatever you want to call them, Green cannot be proud of his effort, or lack thereof. Hell meet Mikkel Kessler next. Or...maybe Showtime has time to insert another hungrier 168 pounder.
SPEEDBAG Friend of TSS Al Bernstein had a half-ass mike to kick off his intro at the top of the show. But they got that rectified after thirty seconds.
--Andre Dirrell was in the house. Hes set to tangle with Ward in stage 3. He told Jim Gray that fighting his friend Ward, because its business.
--Ward wore a warmup jacket that read Nick Charles We Are Praying For You. Cool
--Green stayed at trainer John David Jacksons house in Tampa to train.
--Our own Ray Markarian scored for Showtime. Good job, kid.
---Guess what? I love Tarvers candor. It was a landslide. Andre Ward put in the work, Allan Green didnt. Whether he was weak or not, he showed he was out of his class tonight, Tarver said after, as we saw the punch numbers, with Ward (267-520) whomped Green (148-329).
---Tarver said he wanted to go to cruiser, but will instead go up to heavyweight. The Klitschkos and David Haye be on the lookout, cause Im coming, he said before Johnson signed off for the crew.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV