Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 22nd 2015 Contents A52
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday. June 22. 2015
Andre Ward, right,
punches Paul Smith
during the fifth round
of a cruiserweight
boxing match in
Saturday. Ward won
when Smith's corner
threw in the towel in
the ninth round.
OAKLAND---As soon as Andre Ward found his
stride following his lengthy layoff, the fight quickly
came to an end.
Ward made a triumphant return to the ring and
delighted his home crowd when he stopped England s
Paul Smith in the ninth round Saturday night in a
"It took some time to get the ring rust off," Ward
said. "I started with the jab. I wanted to come out
big bang and get a first round KO but I have a great
coach and he told me to take my time and the knock-
out will come."
Ward (28-0, 15 knockouts) was fighting for the
first time in 19 months because of a protracted legal
dispute with his former promoter, the late Dan Goosen.
He dominated from the start against the former
British champion Smith (35-6), winning every round
on all three judges scorecards. Smith s corner threw
in the white towel to stop the fight in the ninth round
with Smith s face covered with blood.
"I know there s another level I can be at where
I m not thinking about anything," Ward said. "There s
another level of sharpness and being crisp that I
have. ... I felt like I did good tonight but I know I
Smith spent most of the fight in defensive mode,
trying to block Ward s many punches instead of
throwing many of his own. Smith did stagger Ward
with a big right hand in the seventh, but Ward
responded with a flurry and Smith was cut late in
"I know what he was trying to do," Ward said.
"He was trying to lure me in then hit me with the
big right hand. He hit me with a couple of good
shots but he didn t hurt me."
Ward landed more big punches in the eighth as
blood started dripping down the left side of Smith s
face. The round ended with a stare down between
the two fighters to the delight of the partisan crowd
Another cut opened in the ninth as Smith s face
was covered with blood before the fight was called
at 1:46 of the round on a technical knockout after
trainer Joe Gallagher threw in the towel.
"Smith was taking unnecessary punishment," Gal-
lagher said. "Andre kept cutting open that cut over
his eye. Blood was pooling over his eye. It was a war
we didn t want to continue."
Smith said he thought he broke his nose on Ward s
final combination before the fight was stopped.
"The towel couldn t have come soon enough,"
Ward had not fought since winning a lopsided
unanimous decision against Edwin Rodriguez to
defend his WBA super middleweight title in November
2013. The absence from the ring stemmed from the
dispute with Goosen, who died in September 2014.
The fight was just Ward s second since beating
Carl Froch in December 2011 in the Super Six super
middleweight tournament final. Ward also dealt with
a shoulder injury that forced him to the sideline
before the dispute with Goosen.
After Goosen s death, Ward reached an undisclosed
settlement with the promoter s family and signed
with Jay Z s Roc Nation Sports. He was using the
fight against Smith as a tuneup to work off some of
the rust that had accumulated.
"I m just so happy to be back in the boxing ring,"
Ward said. "It s been a long time. It was creeping
up on two years."
Smith weighed in for the 172-pound fight at 176.4
pounds on Friday. ESPN reported Smith s weight
was 184.4 pounds at a second weigh-in Saturday.
"It was a genuine mistake," Smith said. "I apologized
to the team. My fault."
The bout brought out some big names, including
NBA MVP Stephen Curry, who carried Ward s title
belt into the ring before the fight.
Curry got a thunderous ovation a day after the
Golden State Warriors championship parade. Seattle
running back and Oakland native Marshawn Lynch,
boxer Miguel Cotto and San Francisco 49ers quar-
terback Colin Kaepernick also were on hand, although
Kaepernick was booed loudly by the
East Bay fans who usually back the
The co-feature between junior feath-
erweights Antonio Nieves (12-0-1) and
Stephon Young (13-0-2) ended in a split
Ward makes triumphant return
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