Chameleon like Ward continues to grow
By John J. Raspanti (May 24, 2011) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Howard Schatz)
Boxing Ring
When searching for the definition of a chameleon, some of the examples fit Andre Ward as securely as his WBA title.
  "They're very long".
Ward is a gifted athlete who played basketball and football in high school. He's a hair over six feet tall. His athletic ability allows him to use the entire ring. Depending on the fight, his jab can be long and straight.
"They are distinctive and highly specialized". 
Ward's distinction is lack of a real style. His technique rarely changes, but his strategy is always at play. He specializes in being an extremely cerebral athlete, with his personal Yoda, trainer Virgil Hunter, guiding him.
  "They are characterized chiefly by their ability to change body color".
Ward's body color doesn't change, but depending on his opponent, his approach does. When he fought the dangerous Edison Miranda, he kept him at the end of his jab. Ward beat Mikkel Kessler physically and mentally, and in his next fight, smothered power punching Allan Green. Green looked confused and unsure what to do. Ward had no such problem. He jolted the bewildered Green over and over with inside shots.
Green glanced back at Ward at one point as if to say "What the hell man, where did that come from"?
Ward once said that his goal is become a master boxer. But does a master boxer transcend the sport like say a, master slugger?. The easy answer is no.
The last real crossover heavyweight was Mike Tyson. In the early stages of his career, when he was young and motivated, boxing fans watched as Tyson annihilated opponent after opponent. He was explosive and the masses loved it. There are some race car fans who go to the track hoping to see a crash. That was Tyson. He would strike, crash, and later in his career, burn.
 Andre Ward and Mike Tyson have nothing in common. Ward is more the chess master then the bomb thrower. He studies his opponents, locates their weaknesses and capitalizes on their mistakes. He had watched Arthur Abraham, and knew that King Arthur likes to throw big body shots when he has his opponent on the ropes. When Ward found his own back against the ropes, he blocked Abraham's punches with ease. Ward can be a joy for the purists, but a bore to the casual fan. Is this criticism even fair?
Again the answer is no. The goal is to win, and Andre Ward has won 24 consecutive fights.

My father has mentioned that Ward reminds him of Billy Conn. At first I didn't see it, but now I do. Conn was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He fought there many times and attracted a nice following. He won the light heavyweight crown in 1939. Conn needed something else in his career to go global.
That something was Joe Louis.
Though he lost their epic battle in 1941, the fight made Conn. Sugar Ray Robinson required a Jake LaMotta to advance his career.  Muhammad Ali had Sonny Liston, and a few years later Joe Frazier. Ray Leonard needed Roberto Duran, and later Thomas Hearns. 
Who does Andre Ward have?
Carl Froch?

Lucian Bute?
Ward will likely face nemesis Froch in the Super Six Boxing final. The Nottingham tough guy is a little taller then Ward and has a long, accurate jab. His lone defeat came at the hands of Mikkel Kessler, who in 2009 was soundly thrashed by Ward. Froch is 34 years old, compared to Ward, who is 27. To win he has to be first, something that Ward has made a habit of. Ward's hands are faster then Froch's. A close decision win for Ward seems likely. 
But will it be a great fight?
Is Ward destined to be the Van Gogh of boxing? When Van Gogh died, he was widely hailed as a great artist.
At some point in his career, Andre Ward will face his waterloo. He won't run and hide.
He will fight.
Only then will all the questions be answered.


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