Boxing tips: Best Andre Ward v Brand odds before Kovalev showdown
Lee Gormley | August 5, 2016
Andre Ward v Alexander Brand
- Light-heavyweight fight
- Sunday, August 7th
- Scheduled for: 04:00 BST
- Oracle Arena, Oakland, California
- Live on BoxNation
Ward battles Brand in warm-up for Kovalev
Former super-middleweight kingpin Andre Ward continues preparations for his showdown with unified light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev this weekend, as he takes on Alexander Brand in his hometown of Oakland, California.
Having previously reigned supreme at 168lbs, Ward (29-0, 15 KOs) recently made the step up in weight to make an assault on the light-heavyweight division, and faces one last outing in the early hours of Sunday morning before contesting Kovalev in November.
The undefeated pound-for-pound star will fight in very familiar surroundings next, with the Oracle Arena having hosted his wins over Chad Dawson, Sakio Bika and Paul Smith in the last six years, as well as his most-recent victory over Sullivan Barrera.
That unanimous decision success over Cuban challenger Barrera in March was Ward’s maiden showing at 175lbs, and he will look to enjoy another strong performance against Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) before his highly-awaited clash with Kovalev, which he is odds-on 8/11 with Coral to prevail in.
Ward not overlooking ‘tune-up’ foe Brand
The 32-year-old was the last American boxer to win Gold at the Olympics back in 2004, and his latest bout happens to fall on the same weekend the Rio Games begin, but he isn’t overlooking Brand, who has been dubbed a tune-up opponent.
“Whether it’s a tune-up fight, a contender or a champion, I treat it the same,” Ward said of his latest light-heavyweight outing. “If I’m not successful August 6, there is no fight with Kovalev.
“I know enough about Brand. He’s got everything to gain and nothing to lose. He swings for the fences with every punch. He’s a dangerous guy to fight. In this business you can’t afford to have a bad night, how can I afford to take him lightly?”
Ward enters proceedings on home soil as an overwhelming odds-on 1/100 favourite to overcome Colombian challenger Brand, with his 39-year-old foe taking to the ring at 16/1 to cause a huge upset on Sunday morning.
Kovalev showdown looms large
Hard-hitting Russian Kovalev lies in wait for Ward on November 19th with the unified light-heavyweight titles on the line, if the American can negotiate his last bout before then, and he is staying fully focused at the immediate task in hand.
“I’m excited about the future,” added Ward. “I want to be the light-heavyweight champion of the world, a two division champion. Everyone knows that, but it’s impossible for me to overlook this man [Brand].
“I’m not built like that. I wasn’t raised like that. I wasn’t groomed like that. As a young fighter, I don’t operate like that. This man is coming, this is his super bowl. Because this is his Super Bowl, it has to be my Super Bowl.
“My ribs are showing, I’m hungry. I’ll see you all Saturday night.”
Fellow undefeated fighter Kovalev kept his side of the bargain when outpointing Isaac Chilemba in July, with the Russian now 11/10 to get the better of Ward later this year, and attentions now turn to Oakland this weekend to see if the latter fighter can follow suit.