Ward Walks Through Green to Super Six Semis

WARD WALKS THROUGH GREEN TO SUPER SIX SEMIFINALS

Making his debut in the Super Six World Boxing Classic one fight behind all of the other competitors, Allan Green had some catching up to do against undefeated WBA Champion Andre Ward. But in the biggest fight of his career, Green had nothing to offer but excuses in dropping a one-sided fight to the champion.

Green was fortunate to be in the Super Six at all. Taking the place of Jermain Taylor, who dropped out after suffering a hard knockout loss to Arthur Abraham in Group Stage 1, Green was originally set to face Sakio Bika. When Taylor opted out, the fight with Bika was proposed as an eliminator for Jermain’s spot. But given that Taylor and Green both fight under Lou DiBella, one of six different promoters involved in the tournament, Green got the go-ahead light without having to fight his way in.

As it turns out, a tune-up fight could have been helpful.

From the first bell to the last, Ward made easy work of the taller challenger. Fighting in front of his hometown fans in Oakland, Ward put on a masterful performance that demonstrated why he is considered the favorite to win the tournament. Green, who spent the buildup to the fight convincing everyone he belonged among the best super middleweights and belittling Ward at every opportunity, looked lost on the big stage.

In round one, Ward planted his jab to the body of Green when fighting at a distance. And when Green moved in, Ward wisely tied him up and kept his guard tight, wary of the challenger’s punching power. That became the trend in round two, which consisted almost entirely of holding and hitting by both men. At times, Referee Raul Caiz Sr. seemed to be working harder than the fighters, warning them repeatedly about keeping punches up and watching their heads. Caiz made them touch gloves at one juncture, determined to set the tone for a clean fight.

Ward did manage to land two clean right hands in the final minute of the second round but caught a left hook from Green in return. Ward landed one of his own shortly thereafter and followed up with a combination to secure the round.

In round three, Ward jumped in with a left hook and tagged Green with an uppercut moments later. He then pressed Green against the ropes and proceeded to stuff shots into and around his guard as the Oakland crowd voiced its approval. For two whole minutes, Ward kept Green pinned down in the same position, landing few clean shots but establishing total control. Green even appeared woozy as he headed to his corner, telling himself he was fine but almost losing his balance for a moment.

Through three rounds, the best shots Green had dished out were verbal ones, which is why Caiz began round four by warning both men to cut the chatter. Green finally landed a big punch when they traded left hooks. Unfortunately for him, Ward took it well, nodding and beckoning the challenger on for more. Caiz urged Ward to stop talking as he hit Green with a right in return. After Ward pounded in some short left hooks, Caiz again made them touch gloves and repeated his warning about talking. An uppercut by Ward ended another round in his favor.

They spent most of round five boxing in the center of the ring, and Ward reigned supreme there as well, tagging Green with jabs and hooks. In the final seconds, Ward punctuated the round with a head-turning right hand.

Ward rushed Green to start round six, immediately pinning him back on the ropes the way he did in the third. He hammered a left hook to the body, followed by one to the head of Green. The challenger felt it and jumped away from the ropes, pushing Ward’s torso through the strands. Moving back to the center of the ring, Ward blasted Green with a right and followed up with two left-right combinations that had Green looking momentarily in trouble as he covered up.

Taking advantage, Ward pushed Green back into the ropes and continued to punish him with hard shots from both hands. Just before the bell, Ward turned Green’s head with a hard left hook against the ropes. Green could do nothing but take it.

Round seven picked up right where the sixth left off as Ward walloped Green against the ropes. Measuring with his glove, he drilled Green with a hard straight right hand and bounced a one-two off his head. Switching between a conventional and southpaw stance, Ward went after Green to end another one-sided round.

By the end of the eighth round, the fight was as good as over, Ward having won every minute of it. But even though he guaranteed himself a place in the semifinals with a win over Green, Ward was looking for the knockout to pick up an extra point. He rained some heavy right hands on Green throughout round nine in search of it.

After spending much of round ten on the ropes, Green ate a left hook from Ward right at the bell. His nose bloodied and no longer in a position to talk, Green gave Ward a tap on the chest and glared at him before heading to his corner. Hopelessly behind on points and entering the championship rounds for the first time in his career, choosing to go on was about the only impressive thing Green did all night.

But Green was only looking to survive and refused to engage Ward in the eleventh, despite the champion pounding on him. A right hand from Ward in the final seconds seemed to leave Green wobbly, but he made it through another disastrous round. Caiz questioned him before round twelve, but Green assured him he could continue.

Round twelve looked no different than those that preceded it, with Ward roughing Green up whenever he wanted. The champion seemed almost bored as he pinned Green against the ropes and nodded to the crowd while waiting for the final bell. When it was over, Green quickly made his way to Ward to congratulate him and hopefully apologizing for the trash talk he didn’t come close to backing up.

As expected, all three judges awarded Ward every round by identical scores of 120-108. With the shutout, Ward has yet to lose a round in the Super Six tournament on the cards of most observers. His dominance of Mikkel Kessler back in November was a virtual shutout as well.

With the win, Ward became the Super Six points leader, overtaking Arthur Abraham, and also the first to secure a place in the semifinals. He next faces fellow American and 2004 Olympic teammate Andre Dirrell in September in a dream match for fans of the sweet science. Dirrell was in attendance to get a close look at his next opponent and knows now that Ward can fight as well as he can box.

Green predictably came up with an excuse, saying he over-trained for the fight, having been in camp more or less since December. With DiBella at his side, Green said going into the fight with Ward after three straight training camps and no interim bout was the wrong way to approach a fight.

Green is not out of the tournament yet. With a knockout over Kessler, his Group Stage 3 opponent, combined with losses by Carl Froch and Dirrell, Green can still make it into the semifinals alongside Ward. Froch and Dirrell will likely be underdogs for their bouts against Abraham and Dirrell respectively, but Kessler has never been stopped, so Green will have his work cut out for him.

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