OAKLAND, California — Andre Ward outpointed Sullivan Barrera over the course of twelve rounds and flashed a little power along the way at the Oracle Arena on Saturday night.
Ward started slowly but picked up the pace near the end of the second round when he landed a solid left hand that got Barrera’s attention. He carried that momentum with him into the third round when he floored Barrera with a huge left hook.
Barrera beat the count and quickly recuperated, but a pattern soon developed that saw Ward comfortably controlling the distance while frustrating Barrera with head movement and efficient defense. Barrera threw an impressive volume of punches but didn’t land much of anything except an occasional shot here and there.
Ward didn’t use his legs to move around the ring as much as he typically does, opting instead to sit on his punches more in order to show off the increased pop he carried with him up to the light heavyweight division. Ward had a few opportunities to uncork his right hand but was reluctant to do so, probably due to ring rust. Ward entered the ring having only fought once since November 2013.
A low blow in round eight cost Ward a point, but he had already built up a sizable lead on the scorecards at that juncture of the fight. A Barrera (17-1, 12 KOs) accidental headbutt in the 10th round opened up a small cut on Ward’s left eye, but it wasn’t much of a concern.
According to CompuBox, Ward landed 166 of 463 punches thrown (36%) compared to Barrera’s 111 landed of 722 thrown (15%).
The official scores were 117-109, 119-109 and 117-108 for Ward (29-0, 15 KOs).
Here is Ward’s third-round knockdown, courtesy of HBO Boxing’s Twitter feed:
WATCH: Ward puts Barrera down with a big left hook in Round 3. #TweetReplay #WardBarrera https://t.co/UH0yRoK5gW
— HBOboxing (@HBOboxing) March 27, 2016
The co-feature pitted featherweights Joseph Diaz Jr. and Jayson Velez against one another in a ten-rounder for the NABF featherweight title. Diaz looked impressive in out-boxing Velez en route to a unanimous decision win.
The southpaw Diaz looked sharp from the opening bell, but did face some adversity early when an excellent straight right hand by Velez at the end of the first round opened up a small cut under Diaz’s right eye. The cut apparently angered Diaz, who he came out in the second round and unloaded on Velez (23-2-1, 16 KOs).
From there, Diaz continued building a lead by dictating the fight with his left hand. He showed off an exceptional array of angles at which he was able to sneak his punches past Velez’s guard.
“There are just so many different ways he’s landing that left hand, and continuously landing that left hand throughout the night,” noted Roy Jones on the HBO broadcast.
The official scores were 100-91, 99-91 and 98-92 for Diaz (20-0, 11 KOs).
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Zhang Zhilei def. Tyree Ortiz KO3
Aaron Coley def. Urmat Ryskeldiev UD6