Andre Ward believes Alexander Brand could be dangerous on Saturday

Andre Ward/Photo courtesy of Roc Nation Sports

 

Alexander Brand of Colombia has 26 professional fights, with all but four of them taking place in his homeland. Three were in the States, but none on a big stage. The other was in the Dominican Republic.

Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) is therefore nothing close to a known commodity. But Andre Ward, who Saturday will tangle with Brand in the light heavyweight main event at Oracle Arena in Oakland (on HBO), says he knows what he needs to know about the 39-year-old Colombian.

“I know enough about Brand,” said Ward, a former super middleweight champion. “He’s got everything to gain and nothing to lose. He swings for the fences with every punch. He’s a dangerous guy to fight.”

Brand has a knockout ratio of 73 percent. Ward’s, at 29-0 with 15 knockouts, is 52 percent. But Ward is so much better, that disparity won’t mean much when he squares off with Brand.

A victory for Ward will mean he’ll next challenge Sergey Kovalev for his light heavyweight title Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

 

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Andre Ward claims he has only one opponent on mind – Alexander Brand

Andre Ward/Photo courtesy of Roc Nation Sports

 

When unheralded Abner Lopez gave top-ranked junior welterweight Antonio Orozco all kinds of grief this past Saturday at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio before Orozco emerged victorious, it made one wonder if perhaps Orozco was looking past Lopez to a world-title shot that figures to come sooner rather than later.

Well, we’ll be looking at a similar situation this Saturday when Andre Ward takes on Alexander Brand, a relative unknown out of Colombia at Oracle Arena in Ward’s native Oakland (on HBO).

Ward has a Nov. 19 fight scheduled with ferocious light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev of Russia at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. A loss by Ward would mess that up, as unlikely as that would be to happen. Still, it wasn’t surprising to hear Ward’s response recently when he was asked if he had watched Kovalev’s victory over Isaac Chilemba on July 11 in Kovalev’s native Russia.

Ward’s response was telling.

“No, I did not watch it,” Ward said. “He’s not my next opponent. It is, obviously, the end game and what we’re trying to get. But I didn’t watch it. I have to compartmentalize what I have to do right now. That’s just kind of how I operate and how I stay focused. I don’t want to juggle two opponents right now. I have to focus on one guy and that’s Alexander Brand on Aug. 6.”

Ward vows he won’t take a victory over Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) for granted.

“I will not take him lightly,” said Ward, a former super middleweight champion with a record of 29-0 and 15 knockouts.. “If I’m not successful Aug. 6, there is no fight down the road with me and Kovalev, and I’m very clear that it’s not just a fight for me.”

Ward said he holds himself and his team to very high standards, so just defeating Brand is not good enough.

“I have a certain amount of pressure on myself to go out there, perform and, hopefully, look good doing it,” Ward said. “So my team has looked at it (Kovalev-Chilemba), they are doing their due diligence. But, no, I personally have not looked at it.”

 

 

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SPOILER ALERT: Check out results of Kovalev-Chilemba title fight in Russia

Sergey Kovalev/Photo courtesy of Main Events Inc.

 

 

Sergey Kovalev on Monday retained his three light heavyweight belts when he pounded out a 12-round, unanimous decision over Isaac Chilemba in Kovalev’s native Russia.

Kovalev won by scores of 116-111, 117-110 and 118-109.

Kovalev decked Chilemba (24-4-2), of South Africa via Malawi,  in the seventh round. But Chilemba was able to take Kovalev the distance for just the fourth time in Kovalev’s career.

Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs) is slated to next defend against former super middleweight champion Andre Ward on Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena. Ward must first get past Alexander Brand on Aug. 6 at Oracle Arena in Ward’s native Oakland.

Kovalev-Chilemba will be televised by HBO later Monday night.

 

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Sergey Kovalev, Isaac Chilemba saying good things about obvious mismatch

Sergey Kovalev/Photo courtesy of Main Events Inc.

 

Fighters know they have to help promote their fights, so you’ll rarely hear any of them say they are about to take on an overmatched fighter because they know the viewership could suffer.

It therefore wasn’t surprising to hear what Sergey Kovalev said at Friday’s final news conference for his light heavyweight title defense against Isaac Chilemba on Monday in Kovalev’s native Russia (on HBO).

“The hardest time of my training camp is past now and I am going to give you good show,” Kovalev said. “My opponent, Chilemba, is very motivated and that is why he is so dangerous.”

Well, Kovalev is 29-0-1 with 26 knockouts and is one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world. That’s dangerous. Chilemba is 24-3-2 with just 10 knockouts and he’s coming off a majority-decision loss to contender Eleider Alvarez in November.

Anyway, Chilemba, of South Africa via Malawi, is also talking a good game.

“… This is my time, this is my destiny,” he said. “I believe I was destined to be WBO, WBA and IBF World Champion”

Those are the three belts Kovalev holds and will continue to hold after he knocks out Chilemba. Kovalev is then slated to take on Andre Ward on Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Ward will take on Alexander Brand of Colombia in is own tune-up fight Aug. 6 at Oracle Arena in Ward’s native Oakland (on HBO).

 

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VIDEO: Check out mean work by light heavyweight champ Sergey Kovalev

 (Associated Press)

Sergey Kovalev will next defend against Isaac Chilemba on July 11 in Russia/Associated Press file photo

 

Light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev of Russia has become one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world and, along with middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, one of the scariest.

Kovalev on July 11 in Russia will defend his three titles when he takes on Isaac Chilemba of South Africa (on HBO). Kovalev, who is tentatively slated to then defend against former super middleweight champion Andre Ward on Nov. 19 in Las Vegas, is 29-0-1 with 26 knockouts.

Check out some of his work on this video courtesy of HBO.

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Andre Ward to take on Alexander Brand as fight with Sergey Kovalev looms

Andre Ward stares at Sakio Bika after decking Bika in their November 2010 fight at Oracle Arena in Oakland/Associated Press photo by Jeff Chiu

 

Former super middleweight champion Andre Ward appears headed for a showdown with light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev, as the two are slated to tangle Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. However, both fighters first must get past other opponents and Ward’s next one was announced Tuesday.

Ward will take on Alexander Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) of Colombia in the main event Aug. 6 at Oracle Arena in Ward’s native Oakland (on HBO).

Ward, 32, is in can’t-wait mode.

“We can get it on right now,” he said. “Aug. 6, I will be ready.”

Ward (29-0, 15 KOs) currently fights under the Roc Nation Sports banner. Its COO – David Itskowitch – knows how important it is for Ward to stay focused on the task at hand so as not to upset the apple cart.

“Andre Ward’s quest to become the best light heavyweight on the planet and boxing’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter continues on Aug. 6,” Itskowitch said. “Alexander Brand has been waiting for this fight since last year and we have no doubt he is going to enter the ring hungry for a huge victory. There’s a lot on the line in this fight for Andre, who knows he can’t look past Brand toward a much-discussed clash with unified light heavyweight world champion Sergey Kovalev.”

Ward and Brand were supposed to fight in November, but Ward had to pull out with a leg injury.

Kovalev will defend his three titles against Isaac Chilemba of South Africa on July 11 in Kovalev’s native Russia (on HBO).

 

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Edwin Rodriguez makes weight-check limit for Andre Ward fight

Edwin Rodriguez on Saturday morning made the 180-pound weight-check limit for his fight with Andre Ward when he tipped the scales at 179.8 pounds.

Rodriguez weighed 170 on Friday, two pounds over the super middleweight limit. That rendered him unable to challenge. Ward for his super middleweight title in the main event at Citizens Business Bank Arena (on HBO).

Ward will walk away as champion no matter what happens in the fight. He insisted Rodriguez re-hydrate to no more than 180 Saturday morning, or there would be no fight.

Rodriguez will be forced to give 10 percent of his $1 million salary to Ward and 10 percent to the California State Athletic Commission.

Ward, of Oakland, is 26-0 with 14 knockouts. Rodriguez, of Worcester, Mass. via the Dominican Republic, is 24-0 with 16 knockouts.

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Dan Goossen wins decision over Andre Ward, who was trying to break contract

Super middleweight champion Andre Ward’s attempt to break free from promoter Dan Goossen failed when the California State Athletic Commission on Friday ruled in Goossen’s favor following a special meeting Tuesday.

Ward had been trying to get out of his contract in part because he said Goossen did not want to attend a meeting called by Ward for himself,  manager James Prince, co-promoter Antonio Leonard and Goossen and HBO executives. Prince suggested Goossen wanted to be the only one talking to HBO about Ward’s next fight.

In Ward’s mind, Goossen was hindering his return to the ring after he had shoulder surgery in January. Ward has not fought since last September, when he stopped Chad Dawson in the 10th round in Ward’s hometown of Oakland.

Ward, who has been promoted by Goossen his entire pro career, is 26-0 with 14 knockouts. He is considered the No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter in the world in most polls. He is 29.

 

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Andre Ward trying to break from Goossen Tutor; arbitration hearing Tuesday

An arbitration hearing with the California State Athletic Commission to discuss the status of super middleweight champion Andre Ward’s promotional contract with Goossen Tutor Promotions will be held Tuesday, a source very close to the situation said Monday.
There have been rumors in the industry indicating Ward wants to break free from his contract with Goossen-Tutor, which is run by longtime promoter Dan Goossen out of Sherman Oaks.
Ward, one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, had shoulder surgery in January. His most recent fight was a 10th-round TKO of Chad Dawson in September in Oakland.

Calls to Goossen have yet to be returned.

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A rematch between Andre Ward and Carl Froch would be great, but where?

Super middleweight champion Andre Ward was part of the HBO broadcast team for Saturday’s super middleweight title-unification bout between Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler, won by Froch via unanimous decision at O2 Arena in London.

Froch’s victory could have earned him a rematch with fellow champion Andre Ward, who is considered the best 168-pounder in the world. The two tangled in December 2011 in Atlantic City, Ward coming away with a unanimous decision.

Following Saturday’s bout, Ward talked about the possibility of a return fight. At the root of the conversation is where the fight would take place. Ward is from Oakland, Froch from England.

“At this stage of my career I’m open for any fight that makes sense. A rematch makes sense,” Ward said to HBO’s Jim Lampley just after the decision was announced, according to ESPN.com. “I don’t know if it would be in the U.K. or if it would be in the United States, but Froch’s promoter (Eddie Hearn) needs to show how bad he wants it here. They need to understand I don’t have to come here. If I come, it’s because I want to and I need a reward.”

Hearn told Sky Sports the fight would have to be in the United Kingdom.

“Andre has absolutely no options,” Hearn said. “Tell me another fight out there for him at super middleweight. That’s why he was at the O2 – he wants the fight with Froch. That’s a massive fight  … If Andre wants the fight, then it will have to be where we want it.”

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