Photo by Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos/Roc Nation Sports
Finally, the return of Andre Ward. The hometown hero returns Saturday night, June 20, to face Englishman Paul Smith at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA. The bout, which broadcast on BET, will be at a catch weight of 172 pounds. Ward’s WBA Super Middleweight title will not be on the line.
Absent from the ring since November 2013, Ward (28-0, 14 KOs) has fought only three times in the last 33 months. For boxing fans, its bitter-sweet. On the one hand, we’re thrilled to have him back in the ring. On the other hand, frustration and irritation that a potentially great fighter has been sidelined with injuries and promoter disputes.
Ward, 31, returns to face a tough veteran fighter in Smith. Coming off back-to-back losses against Arthur Abraham, Smith (35-5, 20 KOs) gave Abraham all he wanted for 24 rounds. He’ll look to do the same against Ward.
Smith likes to engineer a high punch output, but often leaves himself vulnerable in doing so. His defense will certainly be tested with Ward in front of him.
Here are the three keys to victory for Andre “S.O.G.” Ward.