3 More Rounds

Ward punishes Smith in TKO win

Andre Ward returned to the ring on Saturday night after nearly a two-year layoff and showed no ring rust as he dominated Liverpool’s Paul Smith at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.

Ward (28-0, 15 KOs), who was led to the ring by NBA MVP Stephen Curry, established his jab and a rhythm from the opening round, as he controlled the pace and fought at a comfortable distance. Smith (35-6, 20 KOs) had trouble getting close, as his jabs failed to reach Ward on many occasions, but had success later in the fight with a sneaky counter right hand, that caught Ward by surprise, particularly in the seventh round.

In that seventh round, Ward landed a hard combination along the ropes that opened up a cut over the left eye of Smith, that continued bleeding throughout the fight.  In the eight, Ward picked up the pace, though Smith was willing to slug it out and had his own moments, however brief.

In the ninth, Ward again stepped on the gas and has Smith bleeding from the nose as well as the eye, and after a clean right hand nearly floored Smith, the corner threw in the towel to stop further punishment.

The fight, promoted by Roc Nation Sports, aired on BET, which was the network’s first fight card.

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