Boxing Picks: Brand Just A Stepping Stone From Ward

Andre Ward

Ariana Sanchez

Thursday, August 4, 2016 9:02 PM GMT

Super Middleweight king Andre Ward will lock horns with Colombian sensation Alexander Brand this Saturday night at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. Let’s review the boxing odds and cash a ticket.

Andre Ward vs Alexander Brand  


Ward Prohibitive Favorite
The betting odds makers have made Andre Ward (29-0, 15 KO’s) an enormous favorite and rightfully so. As of this writing, the Super Middleweight champ is as high as -10,000 with the return on the challenger at roughly +3600 depending on where you shop. This fight is simply a prelude to the box office smash that will happen in November when Ward squares off against Russian destroyer Sergey Kovalev in a bout that features two of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in the world. The caveat is that both fighters must stay undefeated in order for the match to occur and it appears the Ward camp has taken no chances with the talented but overmatched Alexander Brand.

Andre Ward was last seen stepping up in weight class to claim a unanimous decision over the previously undefeated Sullivan Barrera in March. This was a stern test for Ward who passed with flying colors as evidenced by the judge’s scorecards: 119-109, 117-109 and 117-108 all in favor of Ward. The super-middleweight champ has been relatively inactive considering he has fought only twice since 2013 but looked dominant in his performance against a dangerous Barrera, thwarting virtually all of the challenger’s relentless advances. Though Ward was not at his very best, he was close enough to prove that even with a bit of ring rust he is still far and away better than anyone but the most elite.

 

Can Brand Derail the Hype Train?
The short answer is yes but the long explanation is quite a bit more involved. Alexander Brand (25-1, 19 KO’s) is not a tomato can by any stretch of the imagination but at 39-years-old there doesn’t appear to be any long-term prospects in terms of ascending the light heavyweight ladder. Of course, a stunning win in this contest would propel him to magnificent heights but only his closest relatives believe that can happen.

Brand’s 19 knockouts are no fluke and the power punching Colombian can turn the lights out if given the opportunity, even against a stellar talent like Andre Ward. Since suffering his first career defeat to reigning WBC Super-Middleweight champ Badou Jack in May of 2012, Brand has reeled off eight consecutive victories including four finishes. But a quick look at his recent spate of fights leaves one under the impression that his victories have not been against truly world class opponents. In fact, his toughest opponent may have come in the form of Medzhid Bektemirov whom he eked out a split decision in his last outing.

Andre Ward is a whole new level for Brand and he will either sink or swim with his jaw-dropping power. If this goes to the judge’s scorecards Brand has no chance but can take heart that he battled the best in the business for 12 rounds.

 

Ward Wins By…?
Including Andre Ward in your betting pick to win straight out is a monetarily absurd proposition at odds of 100-1. But there are prop bets that can be exploited and for that, we will turn to PaddyPower that has listed a win by points for Ward at 11/10 and a KO or TKO at 8/11.

Many will view this fight as a warm up for Ward – which it is – and thereby will take few chances with the power punching Brand. I believe that Ward will finish the challenger as Brand will be pursuing from the onset and forsaking defense for an offensive blitz. Ward will easily find the holes and dig in, sending Brand back on his heels. By the middle rounds, Brand will be punched out and ready for a trip to the canvas.

 

Free Boxing Pick: Andre Ward by KO (8/11) 
Best Line Offered: at PaddyPower
Boxing Record: 4-1

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3055749, "sportsbooksIds":[238,93,1096,43,192], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1 }[/]