Andre Ward vs Paul Smith Preview June 20th
Undefeated Andre Ward of Oakland, California will finally enter the ring again for the first time in 19 months when he takes on Paul Smith of Liverpool, England at the Oracle Arena in his hometown. Ward has understandably chosen a mid-level opponent for his first fight back, but it’s not somebody general boxing fans are going to get excited over. The 12-round light heavyweight bout at a catch weight of 172 lbs. can be seen on the BET network in North America, while British fans can tune into Sky Sports 1.
The 31-year-old Ward enters the ring with a perfect record of 27-0 along with 14 Kos while the 32-year-old Smith is 35-5 and has 20 Kos to his name. Ward stands an even 6-feet tall which gives him an inch height advantage, but Smith’s 72-inch reach gives him an inch advantage in that department. Ward has fought 185 rounds as a pro while smith has gone 203. Ward has a wealth of experience since he was a gold-medal winner at the 2004 Olympic Games. He’s an excellent technical boxer, but to be honest, most of his contests are simply quite boring.
This isn’t to underestimate or take anything away from Ward though, as he has all of the skills required to be a Grade A world champion. The former super middleweight champion has beaten some top-notch opponents and will be taking a step backwards against Smith. Ward has fought just once since 2012 and that was a unanimous decision over Edwin Rodriguez in November of 2013. He’s been on the sidelines due to legal battles, but they’ve now been resolved.
Smith is a decent boxer, but he lost his last pair of fights to WBO Super Middleweight Champion Arthur Abraham of Armenia, who now fights out of Germany. Smith handled himself well enough in his first encounter against Abraham and that earned him a rematch, but he fell short once again. Still, Smith has enough power and skill to give Ward a hard time early, but only if the American has a slow start due to ring rust.
Ward isn’t exactly a power puncher, but he’s basically the complete package when it comes to being an excellent overall boxer. Perhaps he’s simply too good for his opponents and that’s why his fights are relatively dull. Smith will need to utilize his jab and land some right hands to trouble Ward, but he can’t leave himself open for Ward’s counterpunches. But since Smith isn’t really that mobile in the ring it’s going to be hard to stay away from Ward’s shots.
Ward will use his fine movement and boxing skills to rack up points round by round and will only go after a stoppage if Smith is obviously hurt. Ward could probably use the work since he’s been out of action for so long and won’t mind going the full 12 rounds.
This isn’t really a fight boxing fans are clamoring to see. Smith’s only chance is to get out of the gate early and go right after Ward after his long layoff. If Smith can come out guns blazing he might catch Ward off guard. Fans should expect to see Ward eventually take control of this fight once he gets his footing and then cruise to a relative comfortable decision. A late stoppage is possible, but not as likely as this fight going the distance.
Sportsbook 5dimes.eu has the latest odds on all of the big fights. The odds of a Ward victory are listed at -8500 while a Smith win is listed at +3500. Visit 5Dimes.eu to see up to date odds and to bet on this fight. You should also check out our recent boxing betting predictions to see how we’ve done.