Sharkie's Machine: Ward and Kessler Win Tune Up Fights
By Frank Gonzalez Jr. exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (Sept 15, 2009)  
Boxing Saturday night in Temecula California was a slice of predictable fare, as California resident, Andre Ward (20-0, 13 KO’s) faced non-descript opponent, Shelby Pudwill (22-3-1, 9 KO’s) of North Dakota and won by TKO inside of three rounds. It wasn’t much of a fight. Pudwill was in over his head against the man listed at six foot-one inch tall but looked six-foot-three easily against the six foot Pudwill, who looked more like five-foot eleven. But it mattered not since this fight was over before it started.

Ward demonstrated quality skills and respectable power against Pudwill, who said before the fight that he hoped to keep it competitive, so as to insure his future in boxing. To Pudwill’s credit, he was about as competitive as a “set up” opponent typically is. In this fight we got to see how well Ward can fight against sub par opposition. Ward would’ve been better off just sparring with quality sparring partners as he prepares for his next fight against WBA titlist Mikkel Kessler. When it was over, the post fight interview was focused on the up coming Showtime production of “The Super Six Tournament.” where six “top ranked” fighters at 168 pounds will square off in a rare boxing tournament that hopefully becomes common place in the future of boxing.

Meanwhile, over in Denmark , Ward’s scheduled opponent to open his participation in the Super Six Tournament, Mikkel Kessler (42-1, 32 KO’s) won his fight against a fairly game Venezuelan challenger, Gusmyr Perdomo (16-3, 10 KO’s) in nearly identical fashion, scoring a (quick stoppage) TKO in four rounds. Unlike Pudwill, Perdomo showed some skills, landed a few good shots and even won the second round (on my card) before being hit on the shoulder by a Kessler punch. That shot in the arm sent shockwaves to Perdomo’s legs, which got real rubbery soon as the ref appeared ready to stop the contest. We got a demonstration of how well Kessler does against less than prime time opponents.

Ward is a pretty big guy who’s faced enough B level opponents to have decent confidence. Kessler is a good puncher and has quality technical skills to match. I’m looking forward to seeing Ward vs. Kessler in November.

Both the Kessler Perdomo and the Ward Pudwill fights were basically the same, lame game. The only notable difference between these fights was that Perdomo gave a better account of himself, actually winning a round or two, before following the script and going down at a right moment. Another difference was that Perdomo, who actually gave Kessler a decent sparring match, looked to have surrendered on cue, whereas Pudwill had the will to continue but lacked the skills, purpose or durability to do so when the ref pulled the plug on him.

There was another fight I would’ve watched if it wasn’t that it was on Pay-Per-View; like Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. (40-0, 1, 30 KO’s) against Jason Le Houllier (21-2-1, 8 KO’s), who extended his losing streak to three losses in a row. Actually, I’ve not seen Chavez Jr. fight more than maybe twice since all his fights are on PPV against B level opponents. Expect Chavez Jr. to start fighting high quality fighters after he’s 50-0 and ready to retire.

Though September hasn’t been so good for boxing so far, we do have some exciting fights on the menu for the remainder of the month. Vince Philips fights next Thursday against Carlos Quintana. That could be interesting for a few rounds. Then we have the super hyped PPV event of Welterweight Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Juan Manual Marquez (a Lightweight) next Saturday. And while this is something of a mismatch on paper, Marquez is a true warrior with excellent boxing skills who against all odds, does have something of a chance to beat “Money” Mayweather.

We also have an exciting Heavyweight contest scheduled for the 26th of this month when Vitali Klitschko takes on Cristobal Arreola. Arreola is still a bit light on quality experience but is tough as nails. His lack of skills is balanced by his powerful will to win. Arreola is a classic slugger and will be trying to take Vitali’s head off as quickly as possible. Vitali is a big man at six foot, seven and a half inches tall. He’s possibly the best HW in boxing today. His brother Wladimir is also a HW titlist. Wlad has the better boxing skills but Vitali is the more ruthless puncher with more of a war like demeanor in the ring than his younger brother, who loathes being hit. Arreola can also take a punch but how much will he be able to take from the Eastern European giant? We’ll find out soon.

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