Paul Smith shouldn’t don’t be too difficult an out for Andre Ward tomorrow night in Oakland, in a catchweight (172 or less) fight which will run on BET.
But…ring rust; Ward might have a pretty heavy coat of it covering him.
Sure, sure, he’s been in the gym, been in shape, is ready to rock. But he hasn’t fought for real since November 2013, when he defeated Edwin Rodriguez. He handled E-Rod with ease and I think he does the same with the 32-year-old Smith, who has lost step-up fights…but we won’t know until we know.
The Ward power should be there, but his game has never been a power game. But his timing, his accuracy, which he relies heavily upon, will they be present at a level which we’ve been accustomed to?
Will the 27-0 (14 KOs) Ward not be able to do his thing, which is be an ace ring general, fight ultra-smart, be economical, choose the right punch at the right time, maintain the distance and pace to his liking at all times, put together nasty combos when the time is right, get in-get out, slip n dip n rip, make ‘im miss and make ‘im pay?
Will that left hook, and that hookercut, not be in A grade form, because it hasn’t been used that much of late? I expect all those elements will be in place against Smith, on this card put together by Roc Nation’s boxing team, a willing but not as able sort. I see the long jab bothering him, and the 31-year-old Ward being able to tie up if a bull rush bothers him. The left hooks that stung Arthur Abraham a tiny bit likely won’t land on or bother Ward. The stationary head target that Abraham found a bunch will be ringing from Ward stings…The relative immobility should be made to order for Ward…the single jab from Smith (35-5 with 20 Kos, been stopped twice) should be easy to decipher and time and adapt to…the high guard should be easy enough to pierce for the accurate sniper Ward…Should be..
We have to wait, and see, and verify…because rust is real, and stubborn…but I’m thinking if Ward has been touched by it, it will have a minimal effect on him, and he should get the UD on BET.
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