Andre Ward Dismantles Some Guy, But Krusher Kovalev Looms
"This fight is not in keeping with the best traditions here at HBO Sports."
Jim Lampley was characteristically blunt in the moments leading up to the glorified sparring session between undefeated Andre Ward and unknown Alexander Brand, whom Lampley described as having "no profile in the sport." The 39-year-old Colombian, a staggering 100-1 underdog, looked every bit the part. Compensated just $30,000 compared to Ward's $850,000, it's safe to say Brand didn't invest in a new pair of trunks for the bout.
What happened in the ring was worse than Lampley or anyone else could have expected.
With a match against light heavyweight destroyer Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev already on the calendar for November, Ward needed only a simple tune-up against an inferior opponent to shake off any rust built up over a mostly inactive three-year stretch. Brand was apparently the only guy available for the money.
During what may go down as the worst 12 rounds of boxing ever aired by HBO, Brand displayed the balance of a newborn fawn, the desperation of a schoolyard bully confronted by his classmate's angry father, and the offensive strategy of a blindfolded infant. At one point, a wild uppercut attempt left his right arm snagged outside the middle rope.
And then there was this:
Brand's foot movement was so awkward that if I didn't know any better I'd say he was injured.
Predictably, Ward controlled nearly every moment of the fight, inflicting periodic damage from a distance and avoiding the bizarre flurries Brand would unleash every few rounds after catching his breath.
The next task won't be so easy. What Ward lacks in power he makes up with intelligence, calibrating distance and picking his spots appropriately. Kovalev is less careful but perhaps twice as powerful. November 19 will bring about a true 50-50 match-up, a light heavyweight fight worthy of Mr. Lampley's revered HBO traditions. |ES|
Header image: Will Hart/HBO Boxing