Tonight at 10:30 pm ET on HBO, Andre Ward returns to the ring at Oakland's Oracle Arena, as he takes a final tune-up before a huge November fight with Sergey Kovalev.
With that said, Ward (29-0, 15 KO) is the clear favorite, and it's really not expected that Brand (25-1, 19 KO) will so much as challenge Ward, let alone beat him. Brand is an awkward, odd fighter, 39 years old from Colombia, with no real quality wins. His most notable fight was an eight-round split decision loss to Badou Jack in 2012.
If Ward wins and avoids any sort of injury, he moves on to face Sergey Kovalev for the WBA, IBF, and WBO light heavyweight titles in an HBO pay-per-view main event in November. The good outcome is an impressive Ward win, no injury issues, and we get the big fight we want in November. As for this fight, well, read the preview.
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ROUND BY ROUND
ANDRE WARD vs ALEXANDER BRAND
Round 1: The first round is about as expected. Ward not forcing anything. Brand losing his balance, which he does all the time. Max declares Ward "sharp" in 45 seconds. RIP Emanuel. Ward 10-9
Round 2: Ward working enough that this isn't terrible, but it's just so hard to really care about this. I mean, again, it's what it is, and we all know what it is, but still. Ward clearly the better fighter, as we knew. Ward 10-9, 20-18
Round 3: Ward with some good body shots so far. Brand doing about as much as anticipated, which is neither much nor enough. Ward 10-9, 30-27
Round 4: More decent body shots. Ward 10-9, 40-36
Round 5: Ward with some work. Brand is miserable to watch. Ward going southpaw, perhaps to prep for Kovalev, who is booed every time he's show on screen. Ward 10-9, 50-45
Round 6: Ward staying southpaw. We're watching sparring. Ward 10-9, 60-54
Round 7: We're watching sparring. Ward 10-9, 70-63
Round 8: We're watching sparring. Ward 10-9, 80-72
Round 9: " ". Ward 10-9, 90-81
Round 10: Come ON. They're doing a hard sell on Ward "looking to get a stoppage," though. So there's that. Ward 10-9, 100-90
Round 11: Well, the good news is this is about over. Ward has been able to do as he pleased. Ward 10-9, 110-99
Round 12: Yeah. Ward 10-9, 120-108