The number question is whether Ward is still in pound for pound form or has the extended layoffs diminished his boxing skills. Ward was last seen in action last June when he outclassed England’s Paul Smith over nine, one sided rounds. Prior to that, he had almost a two year layoff, after he had dominated Edwin Rodriguez in a super middleweight showdown in 2013.
Before we’re able to give any analysis on how the Kovalev match will play out later this year, we will have to see how Ward performs on Saturday. Has the long career breaks and accumulation of injuries taken a toll on the Oakland native? Or is it still the same Ward that dominated and cleaned out the 168lbs division during the Super Six Tournament?
The opening HBO broadcast will feature former Olympian and rising featherweight prospect Joseph Diaz Jr. who steps up in competition when he faces former world title challenger Jayson Velez of Puerto Rico. An excellent, even matchup that boxing fans will enjoy.
Diaz a former Olympian with the U.S. team is one of the new faces signed with Golden Boy Promotions. Since turning pro, Golden Boy has been building up the young Diaz and after several appearances on Fox, L.A. Fight Club, and recently HBO Latino; he’s ready to tackle the big leagues as he makes his first HBO appearance on Saturday night.
Velez on his part is seeking to make a statement in the featherweight division. Having unsuccessfully challenged Evgeny Gradovich for the IBF title, he had to settle for a draw, Velez is looking for another shot at a world title and become a challenge for the rest of the division.
Unfortunately, in his last outing, Velez suffered a setback, dropping a decision against Ronny Rios. For Velez, Saturday night is a must-win and he’ll make sure to give Diaz a tough battle.
Bizier in England
After Jo Jo Dan was wiped out the ring by Kell Brook last year, it is now Kevin Bizier’s turn to get crack at the English champion. Brook has been calling out all the names in the welterweight division but no one has answered the call, namely Amir Khan who instead settled for a major payday when he agreed to challenge Canelo Alvarez. For Brook, he had to settle for the best available offer, which turned out to be Bizier. The Québécois is facing a steep mountain to climb in challenging Brook and coming out of England with a win will make for a major upset.
Lemieux Set to Comeback
After missing weight and being scratched off the Olympia event on March 12, David Lemieux finally has a comeback date but this time on a bigger stage. Recently announced, Lemieux will be facing Glen Tapia in a middleweight match as the co-main event of the Canelo-Khan card on May 7. This is a big stage and big event for Lemieux who looks to bounce back after his brutal loss at the hand of Gennady Golovkin last October.