Ward Seeks Super Six Lead Against Allan Green
Tomorrow night (June 19), undefeated WBA super middleweight champ Andre Ward (21-0, 13 KOs) will defend his title against Super Six alternate Allan Green (29-1, 20 KOs) in Oakland, California.
Both men were in great shape at the weigh-in today with Ward coming in at 167 and Green at 166 pounds.
Andre Wards last fight was in November when he scored an impressive, dominating win over tournament favorite Mikkel Kessler to earn 2 points. With another win tomorrow, he would be the first fighter to win back to back bouts and take a strong lead going into the last group stage (where he will face Andre Dirrell).
Green, who entered in group stage 2 after Jermain Taylor pulled out, is playing catch up to make it to the finals. His last fight was a pedestrian decision win over Tarvis Simms, where he struggled to find a rhythm.
Ward has opened as the betting favorite and rightly so. The Oakland native has faced better competition and is the superior boxer. He possesses a more dynamic offense with fast hands and a mean streak, as seen last November when he beat and roughed up a shell shocked Mikkel Kessler.
But Allan Green is a live underdog and quite dangerous. Green has been living off potential rather than accomplishments for several years now. This fight and tournament represents possibly his last chance to make a name for himself in this business. That determination will drive him tomorrow night.
Green also has a powerful, compact left hook. When it lands flush, most fighters go down hard. Ward sometimes gets overly aggressive and leaps in to punch from too far out. This can be fatal tomorrow night. Kessler was too slow to make Ward pay for it in their fight, but Green is a very capable counter-puncher with good speed.
The obligatory trash talk from both men aside, each fighter will be very respectful of each others skills in the ring. I expect a chess match in the early rounds which will favor the faster, more technically sound Ward. Green will likely be down on the cards and start to press the fight in the later rounds which will test Wards chin. And based on how it held up to shots from Edison Miranda, Ward should be able to weather the storm and finish strong.
My prediction is Andre Ward by a competitive but clear decision, roughly 116-112.
Mayweather-Pacquiao Negotiating on Purse Split
Talks between the camps of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are heating up as both sides are fervently negotiating the terms of the fights revenue split.
This week reports circulated that Pacquiaos team rejected a 60-40 split in favor of Mayweather. Representatives for the Filipino icon also allegedly sent back 3 undisclosed counter offers to Mayweather which were rejected as well.
Both sides have chosen to remain tight-lipped on contract details by having a verbal non-disclosure agreement in place. However, peripheral representatives from both teams have dropped hints on where the fight stands.
Golden Boy founder Oscar De La Hoya, who has represented Mayweather in his last 2 fights, went on record to state that the fight is nearly a done deal. He later said that he had been misquoted.
Rival Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who represents Manny Pacquiao, was firm in stating I still cant talk regarding the status of the negotiations. In February, Arum was the most vocal member of the Mayweather-Pacquiao negotiations, publicly accusing his former fighter Mayweather of using the Olympic style drug testing to avoid the fight.
Because of the high amounts of criticism from media and fans for each sides handling of the first March negotiations, Arum has refused to divulge any information on the fight.
I cant even say that conversations are going on, Arum quipped.
The target date for the fight remains November 13, with the likely location being Las Vegas. As backups for Pacquiao, Arum has expressed interest in a Miguel Cotto rematch or a showdown with Antonio Margarito. For Mayweather, he verified last month that hes willing to face newly crowned middleweight champion Sergio Martinez.
Fans can take these latest developments as good news. Purse split squabbles are normal and to be expected with a fight of this magnitude. What is really promising is that the Olympic style drug testing issue has not come up as a stalling point. This likely means a compromise was worked out. Last month, Manny Pacquiao took the first step when he said hed be willing to adhere to Mayweathers original compromise of blood testing 14 days out from fight night (a last chance offer Pacquiao had rejected in February).
Their big egos aside, Pacquiao and Mayweather took an honest look at their alternatives and realized every other matchup pales in comparison. For Manny, no one believes Miguel Cotto could beat him a rematch. Antonio Margaritos stock remains low with his U.S. suspension still in place for his 2009 illegal hand wraps disgrace. Floyd has nicknamed himself Money because that is his main goal with boxing. And aside from Pacquiao the remaining fights are exciting high-risk bouts with lower financial rewards (Martinez, Williams, Berto).
I expect the negotiations to trudge on for another month at most before we get the big announcement the boxing world has been waiting for.
Paul Williams Wants Shane Mosley for Welterweight Return
Paul Williams has not competed at welterweight in 2 years. But the avoided contender wants to make a big return to the division at the expense of former champion Shane Mosley.
Williams originally wanted to land a Mayweather or Pacquiao bout following his 4 round technical decision over Kermit Cintron last month. But neither fighter has shown any interest in facing the Punisher.
Paul can still fight at 154 and he can fight at 160. But his natural weight is 147 and if we had our druthers, we would like to get him a fight at 147, said Williamss promoter Dan Goossen to BoxingScene.com. We will find out soon if that fight is available. We would like to fight one of the 147 pound champions. Wed love to fight Mosley. That, I would say, is our number one priority.
Shane Mosley hasnt shown the same interest. Prior to his lopsided decision loss to rival Floyd Mayweather in May, Mosley had told the press he had no desire to face Williams, but would take on other fighters such as Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, or Joshua Clottey.
With Pacquiao and Mayweather now out of reach due to his bad loss, Mosleys new potential opponent list features Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Timothy Bradley, Sergio Martinez and Andre Berto.
Some of the names we discussed are Andre Berto for Bertos title, stated Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer. Shane mentioned to me a rematch with Miguel Cotto, or a rematch with Antonio Margarito, so there are some interesting names out there. So we are basically going to see what can be put together.
If Williams cannot secure a Mosley bout at 147, Goossen verified that a rematch with middleweight champ Sergio Martinez remains an option.
At 39 years old, its understandable why Mosley is becoming very selective with the opponents his chooses. But the Paul Williams bout deserves a second look.
On the surface, this looks to be a bad matchup for Shane. Young volume punchers usually wear out older fighters no matter how defensively sound they are (see Williams 2009 domination of Winky Wright). Additionally, Mosley has had pronounced issues with taller fighters who possess significant reach advantages.
But there are several factors that work to Shanes advantage. First, I am not convinced that Paul Williams can make 147 again without any adverse effects. He hasnt been a welterweight since 2008, and his weight since has ranged from 154 to 159. A weight drop like that could leave him sluggish and vulnerable like Oscar De La Hoya in 2008 against Manny Pacquiao.
Second, the Punisher still has glaring defensive lapses and compromises his height, which will give Mosley opportunities to land. In his last fight against Kermit Cintron, Williams was repeatedly countered hard with right hands when he attempted to fight tall and work behind the jab. It was only when he pressed the fight inside that he had some success. Mosley would have a distinct advantage with the inside war with his shorter arms, which he showed in the Margarito fight.
It wouldnt be an easy night, but its definitely a winnable fight for Mosley and one that instantly puts him back in the forefront if he pulls it off.
Off his opponent list, Shane will likely select Andre Berto. This was the fight that was going to happen before the Haiti earthquake forced Berto to pull out, and still offers an intriguing matchup. Timothy Bradley is too small and Shane would get criticism for it after the way he dogged Mayweather for fighting Juan Manuel Marquez. Margarito will not go for another beating, and Cotto would be a good rematch at either 147 or 154.
According to Golden Boy, Mosley is eyeing a September return. Paul Williams hasnt disclosed when he will be back in the ring.
News and Notes
– Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye continue to squabble about who is to blame for their heavyweight unification match not coming off. Klitschko claims to have offered a 50-50 split which Hayes camp has denied. Klitschko is said to now be finalizing a bout with Alexander Povetkin, while Haye is negotiating a UK showdown with Audley Harrison.
– Joe Calzaghe has declined to come out of retirement to rematch Bernard Hopkins. The Executioner is now in preliminary talks to face super middleweight titlist Lucian Bute sometime between September and November.