RING super middleweight champion Andre Ward, who is considering a Nov. 16 return against unbeaten contender Edwin Rodriguez on HBO, said “I wouldn’t be surprised if” Floyd Mayweather Jr. dethroned RING junior middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez by knockout, and that he expects RING junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia to score a “late stoppage” against RING No. 1-rated 140-pounder Lucas Matthysse on Sept. 14 at the MGM Grand on Showtime Pay Per View.
Meanwhile, Ward (26-0, 14 knockouts) is coming off a 10th-round knockout of then-RING and WBC light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson last September, which followed a win over current IBF counterpart Carl Froch in December of 2011.
Ward said that he is in negotiations for a bout with Rodriguez (24-0, 16 KOs), who scored a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna in March, and then blasted out light heavyweight contender Denis Grachev in the first round in July.
“I’m going to just say this, and that’s that there is a lot going on right now, and I’m sitting in front of the gym right now. I’m going to continue to prepare and to get ready. Nov. 16 is my date. For whatever reason, everybody keeps pushing this kid Rodriguez,” said Ward.
“I’ve accepted Rodriguez, and I’m ready to go on Nov. 16. There are some games being played, but it’s not on my end. So if this fight doesn’t happen, it won’t be because of Andre Ward. I haven’t put my name on anything or anything like that, but I have told everybody involved that I have no problem fighting Rodriguez at all.”
Below are Ward’s comments about Mayweather-Alvarez, Garcia-Matthysse, and, Smith-Molina.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Canelo Alvarez: “I think that you’ve got to go with Floyd Mayweather. Even though Canelo has a lot of fights, he’s really got a lot of…really there’s just one guy that jumps out that is a top-level fighter, and that’s Austin Trout. Baldomir was older.
“No disrespect to Shane Mosley, but Shane was a little older, even though Shane was still dangerous. You’ve got to give Canelo credit for doing what he did in the fight with Shane. I think that Canelo’s two best wins are over Shane and Trout, but, obviously, Floyd Mayweather’s record speaks for itself.
“I just don’t see anything other than Canelo landing a lucky punch that gives him a shot to win. And even in landing a lucky punch, that doesn’t mean that Floyd Mayweather is just going to fold and crumble and be knocked out. Floyd has gotten hit in fights, and he’s taken those hits and he’s come back and he fights.
“I just don’t see it. If I’m wrong, it won’t be the first time that I’m wrong, and it may not be the last. But I just don’t see it. I don’t see how Canelo can out-box Floyd Mayweather. I don’t see how Canelo can out-fight Floyd Mayweather.
“And Canelo’s going to have some issues down the stretch. If he has trouble making weight, then that’s going to tell, and I just think that when Floyd sees that, Floyd’s going to slowly but surely step on the gas and, like I’ve been saying, I wouldn’t be surprised if Floyd stops Canelo.”
Danny Garcia-Lucas Matthysse: “I don’t think that a lot of people are giving Danny Garcia the credit that he deserves. Lucas Matthysse has the tag of being one of the most feared fighters in boxing, and he’s the boogie man right now.
“I mean, to a degree, some of that may be warranted. He’s a very physical guy, he’s proven that he’s a hard hitter. But Danny hits just as hard, if not harder than Matthysse from what it appears.
“But Danny got more skill. I think that people don’t give Danny credit for the things that he does, defensively, and even offensively. Danny is a very crafty fighter.
“So I’m riding with Danny just because he’s a personal friend of mine, and I like Danny, but he’s a champion who has fought great opposition, and he’s done what he was supposed to do and he doesn’t get the credit that he deserves.
“So I’m riding with Danny Garcia. I don’t see this fight going the distance. Matthysse has been hit by Zab Judah, who still has a lot of power, but I think that the media has given Matthysse this iron-chinned tag prematurely.
“You’ve yet to really see him get hit and see how he responds. I don’t see it going the distance, and I see Danny winning, so I see Danny possibly stopping Matthysse late.
“I don’t have a round, because this fight can end in one round, or it can end in the 12th round. But if I had to choose, I can’t really see this fight going the distance, and if I had to pick a direct position I would say Danny Garcia by late stoppage.”
Ishe Smith-Carlos Molina: “I think that this is a fight that Ishe Smith is going to win. I think that Ishe’s got the momentum now. He’s the champion, and it seems like his career has been revitalized.
“Ishe’s got a good team around him, so I think that Ishe’s going to rise to the occasion against Carlos Molina, being on the undercard of a Floyd Mayweather fight and being in the Money Team’s camp and all of that sort of stuff.
“This is a fight that Ishe can not afford to lose, and I think that he understands that. So I’m sure that he’s well prepared and I definitely see Ishe getting his hand raised. I definitely think Ishe is going to retain his title.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com