Sharkie's Machine: Andre Ward Out Classes Edison Miranda
By Frank Gonzalez Jr. exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (May 17, 2009) Photo © Jan Sanders/SHOWTIME  
Saturday night at the Oracle Arena in Oakland California, Super Middleweight prospect Andre “S.O.G” Ward (19-0, 12 KO’s) faced his biggest challenge so far as a professional boxer and put in a grade A performance against Edison “Pantera” Miranda (32-4, 28 KO’s).

The most exciting part of this fight was the first couple of rounds, when it was a competitive fight. After that, it was all Ward, landing his left hook at will and clinching whenever Miranda got close. Miranda chased Ward with his right hand cocked back and telegraphed. Ward always found ways to neutralize Miranda by smothering him with punches in close, out boxing him on the outside or clinching—until the referee would break them up.

The fight began with Miranda aggressively chasing Ward and landing a few clean right hands in the process. Miranda was warned for a head butt in the first round. Ward landed a few good lefts and the round ended with both exchanging power punches.

In the second round, Miranda was able to find his range and land his right a few times with good effect. I thought Miranda closely won the first two rounds—but went on to lose every round afterwards, compliments of Ward’s superior boxing skills, particularly his mobility, which enabled him to counter Miranda and successfully land his left hook at will.

In the third round, Miranda landed a couple of lefts. Ward focused his attack on the body and established his jab as a weapon to keep Miranda out of range. Miranda looked a bit tired by the end of the third, where he took a few clean shots from Ward, who capped off the round with a double up and down combination.

The rest of the fight was more of the same, with Miranda chasing Ward ineffectively and Ward countering effectively. Miranda had no plan B and as the fight grew longer, Miranda looked less and less effective. It was a sloppy affair, as Miranda brought a street fighter mentality to a boxing match against an Olympic Gold medalist and discovered once again that aggression alone isn’t enough to beat a good boxer that knows how to move, shift speeds and clinch.

For all his short comings in this fight, Miranda was almost always pressing the action—albeit ineffectively. Ward would often use Miranda’s momentum in an aikido like way to turn him against the ropes, where he would let his hands go and tag Miranda at a ratio of about five to one. Because of Ward’s ability to turn in close, most of Miranda’s punches were either blocked or only able to graze him.

This was a disappointing performance by Miranda, who earned his reputation as a big banger by fighting top level guys in wild, memorable slugfests. There were moments when this fight felt like a slugfest as Ward was unafraid to mix it up with Miranda, particularly since Miranda showed himself to be one dimensional all night. At times, Miranda would paw with his jab…while telegraphing his intent to throw the right, which made it easy for Ward to anticipate and defend against what turned out to be Miranda’s only weapon.

There were some rough house tactics by both guys in spots, with Miranda throwing a few low blows and Ward doing an awful lot of clinching. The ref warned Ward maybe twice for holding and warned Miranda twice for hitting behind the head.

In the end, Ward proved too much for Miranda and his limited approach in this fight. Ward had great footwork and often seemed to stop on a dime and change directions, leaving Miranda looking like Wile E Coyote after being dusted by the Road Runner. Ward’s mobility magnified Miranda’s poor footwork. Miranda looked awkward and frustrated throughout this fight. Ward didn’t allow Miranda to be in position to trade with him often since Ward could either move out of the way or clinch whenever Miranda even looked ready to throw a punch.

After 12 rounds were done, Miranda walked dejectedly towards his corner while Ward got up on the corner ropes to address his hometown fans, cheering in the stands.

During the post fight interview, Ward said he was disappointed in his performance, particularly because he wanted to win by knockout. He also mentioned that winning this fight put him in place to be the mandatory challenger for the current WBC 168 pound titlist, Carl Froch (25-0, 20 KO’s), who recently knocked out Jermain Taylor in the 12th round of a fight he was losing on the scorecards. Froch is a big puncher but a sloppy boxer based on what I saw against Taylor . Andre Ward is a smart boxer who demonstrated very good stamina while keeping very busy against Edison Miranda, who once upon a time, was a most dangerous proposition for anyone.

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