Andre Ward returned to the ring on Saturday night and earned a 12-round unanimous decision win over Sullivan Barrera in front of Ward’s hometown crowd in Oakland, CA. Ward (29-0, 15 KO’s) dropped Barrera in the third round of the IBF light heavyweight title eliminator with a left hook and had a point deducted for a low blow, finishing ahead on the scorecards by wide margins: 119-109, 117-109 and 117-108.
Barrera (17-1, 12 KO’s) lost for the first time and really didn’t present Ward with too much in the way of offense. The bigger Barrera did land some solid shots on Ward, but no damage was done and Ward was able to mount an offense throughout the fight.
It wasn’t vintage Ward and there was definitely rust. The HBO commentary said otherwise, but if you watched the fight objectively, Andre Ward took a long time to get going and didn’t finish strong over the final rounds. It was a good exercise for Ward, but a fight with Sergey Kovalev should be a couple of fights away, at least.