Ward Dismantles Ravelo in the Caymans
By Gabriel Montoya, Doghouse Boxing (Jun 21, 2008) DoghouseBoxing.com  
Andre Ward stepped up and over his competition tonight vs. Jerson Ravelo in a super middleweight bout in Georgetown, Grand Cayman. The bout marked a further progression in what promoter Dan Goossen hopes is the making of a champion.

From the outset, Ward, who in the past has described his style as “formless,” came out uncharacteristically guns blazing with a sweeping left hook. Ravelo answered with a counter right and it seemed a fight had broken out
seconds into the bout. This opening would prove a pattern, as Ward would jump on Ravelo early in rounds the rest of the night. The first round settled down however, as Ward began to dictate the tempo with his jab to the head and body. Ravelo, for his part appeared tight and tentative against the shorter, quicker Ward.

Ward showed Ravelo’s powerful right hand respect in the second as he pressed the attack with jabs. A nice right hand off a fade back and burst forward move by Ward showed off his ever improving footwork. However Ward still showed a tendency to crowd his punches when shooting in combination. Regardless, Ward looked sharp early on and only got sharper.

Ward closed the distance in the third, fighting more at close and mid range. Ravelo landed a rare counter right off a leaping hook from Ward. While Ravelo wasn’t picking up any steam, Ward seemed to sense he wasn’t ready to be taken yet as he boxed his way through the third stanza. Constantly circling and dancing out of range, Ward kept Ravelo on his back foot and unable to get his offense going.

Over the course of the fourth and fifth, Ward began to pull out the rest of his tools. He boxed in close, fighting more physically than ever inside. Then later, he effectively turned southpaw and landed three solid left hand leads. At rounds end, Ward landed a flush right hand that put Ravelo in retreat. As the bell sounded, Ravelo fell and sat awkwardly on the ropes. It was the fifth time to that point that he had either sat on the ropes or fell passively to the canvas off a push or pressure. It signaled, to this writer, that he was looking for a way out.

Ward would soon ramp up the pressure and give him one. Sensing Ravelo’s waning fire, he was up from his stool at the 00:30 mark, raring to go. Round sixth was a grind-it-out kind of round as Ward pressed forward, leapt in with hooks, and drove through Ravelo all round long. It seemed to sap whatever Ravelo had left.

In the seventh, Ward landed a flush right hand and Ravelo took it but didn’t respond. Instead he simply moved away in retreat, seemingly mesmerized by the fighter working him over. Ward stalked forward, catching Ravelo with a crisp right hand as Ravelo tried to pivot away. A flush right hand for Ward landed in the corner the seventh. This would mark the first time that Ward had fought beyond this point in a fight.

Ward began the eighth as he had all previous rounds: by upping the tempo and testing Ravelo for signs of life. A flurry sent Ravelo back to the ropes and he turned his back on Ward until referee Steve Smoger stepped in and restarted the action.

A huge right off a left hand sent Ravelo crashing to the canvas in a badly hurt heap. He would rise very shaky at the count of nine. Ward went in for the finish and unleashed a long flurry, missing occasionally but landing enough to prompt Ravelo’s corner to throw in the towel. The time was 2:39 of the eighth round.

Tonight, Ward took what Ravelo gave him and worked off that. It was an ever-changing performance from a style standpoint and impressive in it’s diversity. With the win he moves his record to 16-0 with 11 KOs.

In the co-feature, junior middleweight Ronald Hearns moved his record to 19-0 with 15 KOs with a well-earned TKO over Jose Luis Gonzalez. Hearns showed some defensive liabilities but a willingness to trade as well as an ability to take a shot en route to the seventh round stoppage win.

Also, heavyweight contender Eddie Chambers returned for the first time following his loss to Alexander Povetkin and scored an impressive sixth round knockout over Raphael Butler. With the win Chambers is now 31-1 with 17 KOs.

Gabriel at:
Coyotefeather@gmail.com .

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