Allan Green & S.O.G. Ward Are Cream Rising to the Top
19.05.09 - By Paul Strauss: The Super Middleweight division is quickly becoming one of the most exciting divisions in boxing. It's sprinkled with quality fighters and portends some interesting matchups. Notable names such as Bute, Froch, Kessler, Dirrell, Miranda, Bika, Pascal make up this weight class, along with some sleepers as well. The recent showings of Allan Green and Andre S.O.G. Ward certainly put them near the top, and frankly it's hard to imagine who might beat them, other than an inevitable winner between the two should they meet. An interesting possibility to contemplate is a Marquez vs. Vasquez type trilogy. Okay, maybe that's asking for too much. First, let's look at a few of the other candidates for division supremacy.
Article posted on 19.05.2009
Bute could probably outbox everyone in the division, but the question is....Does he have the punching power and stamina to fend off some of the top challengers for the distance? The answer is probably not. Froch has the power and stamina, but he is very hittable. He was able to weather Jermain Taylor's sharp, but less than knockout power type punches. Could he do that against big hitters like Kessler and Green? The answer is probably not..
Miranda is no longer quite the threat he used to be after being exposed by Ward this past Saturday. Ward deplayed his toughness and proved he can be very cagey. He rendered Miranda's punching power ineffective through technique and roughness. Add in constant movement, and good in-fighting, not to mention his tactical use of the forearm (to keep Miranda's head away from him) along with strategic moments of holding. He also continually beat Miranda to the punch, and kept him off balance with angles and a smooth transition from orthodox to the southpaw stance, which allowed him to dig some hellacious body shots.
Bika is too clumsily and open to counters with his wild style. He barely got by Jaidon Codrington in the Contender series. He lost to Bute and Calzaghe, and had a draw with Markus Beyer (who?). He's always dangerous, though, because of his strength and punching power, but he's too vulnerable to be seriously considered as someone who could clean out the division.
Pascal is somewhat of an unknown, but he did give Froch fits until he, like Taylor, ran out of gas. He has a big battle scheduled June 19th against Adrian Diaconu (a light heavyweight?), so we should know more about him after that test.
A sleeper might be the powerful Adonis Stevenson, but to date his biggest accomplishment seems to be his bizarre 1st round knockout of Anthony "The Bullet" Bonsante. He is undefeated at 12-0, with 9 KOs, but against what level of opponent?
Jeff Lacy, Jermain Taylor and Jesse Brinkley can still make for interesting crowd pleasing fights, but they seem to have drifted into that "opponent" type category, and no one expects them to rule the division.
Andre Dirrell, Karoly Balzsay, and Dennis Inkin and a few others are unknown entities in the USA, so until they come up with an impressive victory against a noteworthy opponent, they will have to remain in the background. Let's leave it to our knowledgeable European writers to build a case for them.
So, who rises to the top? It seems the two most capable of cleaning out the division are Allan Green and Andre Ward. If Allan Green is truly back to his old self since recovering from his surgery, then he would be a good bet. He is a student of the game, and he knows how to read opponent's styles and set traps so he can administer his heavy handed punches. For example, it seems reasonable to assume his punches, if landed like Taylor's, would spell the demise of Froch. Green would also eventually get to Bute, who escaped with a controversial victory over slow footed, but tough, Andrade. Green has that one punch ability to instantly change the course of a fight, and his power is such that the punch doesn't have to land flush. He definitely is heavy-handed. He also has very good size and reach to matchup with anyone in the division.
As previously mentioned, Andre S.O.G. Ward proved Saturday he is for real, and belongs at the top of the heap in the Super Middleweight division. You have to like his tremendous confidence too. He's not cocky but self assured in that he has what it takes to measure up against anyone. Although he lacks the one punch knockout power of Allan Green, he more than makes up for it by being a complete technically sound fighter. He has good foot-work, great body punching, and a smooth deceptive transition move from orthodox to the southpaw stance with the accompanying sharp left hook. He is also very strong and tough..
If Green and Ward can get fights with the top dogs, look for them to dominate the division, and head for an eventual showdown against each other. That will be a crack-em, knock-em, sock-em thriller!
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