Andre Ward sometimes gets lost in the conversation of the best boxers of the 21st century but for a time he was the no.1 boxer in the world. When you think of the greats of recent times you will most often think of Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao but make no mistake, Ward’s name should be mentioned alongside them. Ward was a fantastic fighter, he could do everything well and he was a very versatile boxer. If you wanted to box, he could box you, if you wanted to be rough he would outwrestle you and if you wanted to get cute, Ward would out think you. It is a shame Ward only had a little over 30 fights because he had all the talent and skills in the world and is someone who was a throwback fighter and an old school boxer who would have succeeded in any era of boxing history.
The video below looks at Andre Ward and his lead right – more specifically his use of the straight left after the lead right. I haven’t really see this move very much yet in this fight with Mikkel Kessler, Ward used it a lot. Now some of his success using this move is down to Andre Ward being a converted southpaw so that left hand of his was nasty.
In previous videos I have done of a fighters use of the lead right ie Muhammad Ali, Bernard Hopkins – rarely have I seen it followed up with a straight left, usually it is a roll or closing the gap yet Ward would throw the lead right and then follow it up with a straight left, a rather unexpected move which was very successful and because he was a converted southpaw that straight left was a power punch, it was like being hit by two power punches one after the other.
There were a number of ways Ward set up the lead right – mostly using the jab as either a feint or a measuring tool such as the touch jab and then he would fire in the lead right and straight left – and it wasn’t always to the head the lead right was coming, he could switch levels by throwing the lead right to the body and then following it up top with the straight left to the head, a very awkward combo to defend against as usually you expect to see it the other way around, the jab to the body followed by the right to the head.
Other times Ward would start with the lead right, throw the straight left and then throw another right, again making him very difficult to predict what he was going to do when he threw the lead right. Just to confuse you further Ward would use the lead right to clear your guard, moving your glove out of the way to make room for the straight left coming behind it and often having thrown the straight left after the lead right, Ward would use the left hand for control – placing it on the opponents face, neck, head to steer them out of the striking zone so they could not counter punch Ward back after he had finished his combo. Andre Ward really was a nightmare to fight against and is more than worthy of his hall of fame career.