Ward knocks Barrera down, wins by unanimous decision

By John J. Raspanti at ringside



Andre Ward (29-0, 15 KOs) moved one step closer to a fall showdown with light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev by winning a wide 12-round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Sullivan Barrera (17-1, 12 KOs) at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA. Saturday night.

All three judges had Ward winning the bout by scores of 117-109, 119-109, and 117-108.
Ward, making his debut in the light heavyweight division, had some trouble with Barrera’s length in the early going. The bigger man worked his jab--while Ward studied him. Barrera stalked Ward, looking for something to land. Both boxers connected with right hands. Ward landed two left hooks near the end of the round two.
A minute into round three, Ward connected with that left hook again--sending Barrera to the canvas with a surprised look on his face. Barrera pulled himself up at the count of six.
Ward fired a few more hooks, but Barrera wasn’t seriously hurt. Ward dug a left to the body in round four that seemed to bother Barrera.
In rounds five and six, Ward, now fully warmed up, tagged Barrera with combinations. Barrera found Ward with a glancing left, but the former Olympic gold medalist is blessed with a tight defense. The quicker Ward ducked a right and connected with a jolting hook.
Ward , 32, used his jab consistently in round seven. Barrera fought back, but Ward’s slight movement, and sharper punches, were making it difficult for the 34-year-old Cuban to find any kind of rhythm. Ward continued to beat Barrera to the punch in round eight. He sidestepped a lazy Barrera left and snapped his opponents head back with a sweeping hook. Seconds later, a right landed.
The last three rounds were all Ward. Barrera missed a right and ate a combination. Ward landed a pretty left-right combination. Barrera was tired, but he continued to throw his heavy right hand. One landed, but Ward absorbed it.
"The hometown fans came out like they always do,” said Ward in the ring. “I give myself a b minus. I’m a young veteran in the sport. I’m more efficient now.”

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