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31 OCTOBER 2014

 

Ward Dominates Miranda On ShoBox


Andre Ward wins
Andre Ward wins

By Michael Norby: Undefeated super middleweight contender Andre Ward passed his first major test as a professional boxer with flying colors on Saturday night after he thoroughly out-boxed hard hitting Colombian Edison Miranda over twelve rounds at The Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, USA.

Ward 19-0 (12), who emerged from the 2004 Olympics with a gold medal and an equally golden reputation, elected to adopt a patient approach to his professional career. Some might say a little too patient as, over time, his name largely vanished from the lips of boxing fans across the country. Even though he is only 25-years-old, he desperately needed an impressive performance this evening to clear the road to the higher echelons of the super middleweight division.

Miranda 32-4 (28) with two devastating knockout defeats suffered at the hands of Kelly Pavlik and Arthur Abraham dominating his resume, was equally hungry for a big win but it was clear, soon after the fight started, that Ward would be too much for the Colombian. The Californian commanded the fight with wonderful technique early on and punished his opponent at times down the stretch to ensure a majestic, coming of age victory that adds further intrigue to the already interesting 168lb weight class.

Ward looked extremely focused to begin the fight and he pumped his right jab into the face of Miranda as both fighters circled each other. With one minute gone, Miranda let loose with a sweeping right hand that only glanced against the jaw of his opponent but the subsequent melee prompted a clash of heads that opened a cut above the left eye of Ward. The Olympian attacked more aggressively after that and thumped Miranda to the body with combinations followed by a pair of hard straight left hands in the final minute of the round.

Both guys landed heavy shots in the opening minute of the second round but Ward, switching stances repeatedly, tagged Miranda with the tastier punches throughout the round. The bloodied American was fully out-boxing his opponent but, in the final minute of the round, Miranda began to land his right hand more frequently and with authority - all taken well by Ward.

The pace was scintillating and the punches were flying in the third as Miranda barreled forward and Ward employed his terrific timing skills to score regularly as the Colombian made his way inside. Ward’s corner were coping well with the cut above their man’s eye and only droplets of blood appeared now, allowing the hometown favorite to work without distraction and he fought extremely well – launching spirited attacks and showing tremendous defense throughout the round.

Miranda improved early in the fourth and he cracked Ward in the opening minute with a big right hand that forced him to the ropes. Ward responded in kind and thoroughly controlled the final two thirds of the round – making Miranda miss wildly at times and making him pay with body shots and fast sequences to the head.

Sensing that Miranda may be tiring, Ward’s corner implored their man to step on the gas and he began the fifth round with a pair of stiff straight left hands that split the guard of the Colombian. Ward was menacing now and he began to hurt Miranda later in the frame particularly after a left uppercut, followed by a left hand/right hook combination to the head and body landed cleanly in the final minute.

Ward continued to press home his advantage in the middle rounds even though Miranda emerged with increased energy in the sixth and seventh. The Colombian succeeded in landing several, snapping right hands in those rounds, but Ward again absorbed the punches well and responded with hooks, uppercuts and straight left hands as he continued to pocket rounds.

Miranda’s team conceded that their fighter was badly behind on points after the seventh round and told him to go after his opponent more vigorously. He did that in the eighth, but Ward hammered him as they traded fire in a neutral corner for a prolonged period. The American rolled under or caught whatever Miranda threw at him and strafed the Colombian throughout the round, prompting his corner to proclaim after the frame, “You’re breaking his heart.”

Miranda had long crossed the knockout required barrier and, as he searched desperately for fireworks in the later rounds, it was he who was rattled. He walked into thunderous punches in the ninth and tenth rounds and landed only sporadically for his brave efforts.

This was a fabulous performance by Ward and he completely dominated Miranda from the opening bell. He out-muscled, out-boxed, and out-thought the former middleweight world title challenger and, after continuing his command in the final pair of rounds, he thrust his brand onto the top shelf of the super-middleweight division with a terrific victory.

Scores: 116-112; 119-109; 119-109

Undercard Report

Rising undefeated junior lightweight puncher John Molina scored a second round stoppage victory over veteran Frankie Archuleta.

Molina 17-0 (13) looked wild at times as he tried to corral the smaller fighter throughout the first four minutes of the contest. Archuleta 25-7-1 (14) moved well and scored with brief, opportunistic combinations and was causing the 26-year-old prospect all sorts of problems.

Midway through the second round, however, Archuleta got a little reckless as he attacked his opponent and Molina began to land his right hand regularly – hurting the 33-year-old with a hook to the body before sending him to the canvas seconds later after a further slew of punches.

Referee David Mendoza began the count but, after feeling Molina’s power, Archuleta decided that he did not want to fight on.

Time of stoppage: 2:06 RD2


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