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Ward dominates Brand, faces Kovalev in November


By John J. Raspanti

Andre Ward did what Andre Ward does Saturday night at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA. He won every round against overmatched Alexander Brand, but a knockout seemed to be what the former Olympic gold medalist really wanted. 
The workmanlike 12-round unanimous decision set up his November 19 super-fight against undisputed light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev, who looked on from ringside. 
Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) controlled the fight from the get go, flashing speed and stinging combinations.  Brand (25-2, 19 KOs) came into the fight a huge underdog. He lacked polish and was basically brought to Oakland as a tune-up for Ward. His heavy swings whiffed repeatedly. Ward worked over Brand’s body throughout the bout. 
In Round three, a Ward left hook opened up a cut on Brand’s eyelid. Seconds later, he connected with two rib shots and later, a right to the head. Ward switched to southpaw in the last minute of Round five, lacing Brand with left hands. 
Brand went into full-out slugger mode in Round six. He threw violent punches at Ward, who skipped away unharmed. 

Ward connected with a combination to open Round seven. Brand dropped his hands and swung uppercuts from the southside of Oakland. One landed. Ward ignored the blow and continued to work.
In Round nine, Ward stung Brand with a left hand. Brand’s right eye was swollen. The Colombian boxer was tired and eating punches. He looked embarrassed after slipping and falling near the end of the round. Ward smashed him for his trouble. Brand staggered, but survived.


Brand almost went down in Round 10. He was trying to be more aggressive, but his punches were slow and lacked conviction. Ward nailed him with two left hooks at the bell. 

The last round was a carbon copy of the previous eleven. Ward pursued and punched, while Brand moved and occasionally fired some blows. Ward won every round but a knockout wasn’t in the cards. 

All three judges scored the fight 120-108 for Ward.
“We knew this guy was going to be hard to knock out,” said Ward after the fight. “I didn’t get it, but it was good to get the rounds"
Kovalev, standing nearby as Ward was interviewed said, “He’s ready and I’m ready, too".  
So are the boxing fans. 


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