20-20 Hindsight: After Beating Miranda, How Does Ward Measure Up Against the Best at 168?

Consider it a first test passed.

If you were waiting for Andre Ward to start to fulfill some of his promise - and if you were, you weren't alone - you had to like what you saw Saturday. Ward won a convincing decision against a pretty rough customer in Edison Miranda and even overcame a little adversity (an early cut) to pull it off.

True, I think we can safely say that Miranda isn't a world-beater by now, and may actually be morphing into a gatekeeper of sorts. But at the very least, his power posed a threat to a young fighter thought to have a questionable chin.

Ward was able to stand and trade effectively and a lot more often than I would have figured going in. He also switched stances numerous times, and while we often debate amongst ourselves here at BW how much that helps, it really seemed to befuddle Miranda.

It may not have been a star-making performance on its own, but the win answered some questions. Most importantly, it quelled my fears that he'd be a slightly lighter Chad Dawson - skilled but somewhat boring.

Saturday's victory also kept Ward moving up in what is suddenly a very interesting super middleweight division. How does S.O.G. stack up against the top guys at 168? Glad you asked.

Might as well start with the alphabet champs...

Carl Froch: It appears Ward may get a shot at The Cobra before anyone else. There's little doubt in my mind that Andre has the edge in athleticism and talent, but Froch probably has more power. And as we saw when he beat Jermain Taylor, you have to put him away when you have a chance, and Ward wasn't able to do that against Miranda.

Lucian Bute: Despite Bute's undefeated record, I like Ward if this fight is ever made. I'm not sure there's anything that Bute does that Ward doesn't do a little better. He is a southpaw and has a lot of KOs on his record, but his power doesn't seem like the type that would worry Andre.

Mikkel Kessler: Now here's someone Ward might not be ready to face just yet. Kessler hasn't been heard from on American TV since his relatively close loss to Joe Calzaghe, and it's doubtful he'd be matching up with Ward any time soon. But that's just as well, because Mikkel can really box and has some pop too.

Karoly Balzsay: He's... okay, I have to admit I don't know anything about this guy. It hardly matters, as Balzsay rarely ventures out of Germany and has an August bout already lined up. Let's move on.

And since the guys with the gold aren't the only interesting names in the division...

Librado Andrade: If Ward isn't ready for a title shot, here's a possible opponent to consider. His straightforward style would make for some action, though I think Ward would handle him barring getting caught with something big. You'd think this fight would sell in the Golden State, as Andrade lives in California.

Andre Dirrell: To me it just feels right that two young American fighters with the same first name in the same division would end up as rivals someday. The Matrix is still looking for the kind of affirming fight that Ward just had with Miranda. Down the road, though, who knows?

Jermain Taylor: I haven't read that he's retiring, so I have to assume Taylor is sticking around for now. It's worth remembering that he was on his way to beating Froch on the cards before his late fade. His name value (for now anyway) could make him an attractive opponent for Ward, and he'd be a different kind of test.

Posted by The Franchise

1 comment:

uatu said...

don't know