Allan Green has long resented being an outsider in boxing, but he didn’t much like it on the inside Saturday in the biggest fight of his career.
Green (29-2) lost a unanimous decision to WBA super-middleweight champion Andre Ward (22-0) in their Super Six tournament bout in Oakland, trailing 120-108 on all three scorecards.
Ward surprised many observers, apparently including Green, by dictating a thoroughly dominating inside fight and mauling Green with uppercuts, pot shots and the occasional elbow. From the third round on, Ward wasn’t on his toes as usual. He was on Green’s toes, and Green couldn’t get him off.
The results broadened many perceptions of who Ward is. “With each piece of the pie he completes the circumference of what we’re looking for,” said trainer Virgil Hunter.
The display of toughness was warranted against Green, the man who had branded him a “hummingbird.” Even though he didn’t finish Green, Ward made a brutal impression, which was why Green was receiving outpatient treatment at a nearby medical facility instead of attending the post-fight press conference.
“When Team Green realized Andre was the stronger man in the ring,” said Team Green promoter Lou DiBella, “Allan didn’t have much of a shot.”
Green said he expected the inside fight but was too weak to do anything about it after training three fights’ worth in the past six months for what turned out to the one bout. “I hit a hard wall in training camp,” Green said. “By the time I got in the ring, I felt dead.”
Ward was tentative the first five minutes. (I gave Green the first round, as you may have seen on Showtime.) But in the second round Green’s listlessness was suddenly apparent to Ward, who was only too happy to minimize the dancing on both their parts.
“That wasn’t the game plan,” Ward said. “We didn’t plan to go inside as much as we did.”
But there he was. Ward took the fight inside in the third round, and Green didn’t seem prepared for it. Much of the round was fought near Ward’s corner, with Green against the ropes and getting manhandled and peppered with short power shots and uppercuts. Ward carved Green’s heart out in the process.
The sixth was the biggest crowd-pleaser, as Ward started uncorking power shots from more angles. With Green cornered, referee Raul Caiz Sr. seemed to be considering stopping the bout. It was arguably a 10-8 round. The only question thereafter was whether Green could last the 12-round distance.
The outcome put Ward in first place after two full round of the Group Stage. He has clinched a berth among the top four in the semifinals. Green can’t catch him, and neither can the loser of the Arthur Abraham-Carl Froch fight.
Green, a latecomer to the Super Six as the replacement for knockout victim Jermain Taylor, is in sixth place but isn’t out of the Super Six running.
Despite the defeat, Green is not dead in the water in the Super Six. If he wins his Group Stage 3 match against Mikkel Kessler, probably next winter, he might be able to ace out Kessler and Froch or Dirrell. If Green can knock out Kessler, he would be likely to advance.
Ward has four points in the tournament, Arthur Abraham has three, and Kessler, Andre Dirrell and Carl Froch are tied for third with two each.
But Green seemed like the weakest man in the Super Six field Saturday – in more ways than one.
I covered this fight for Green’s hometown paper, the Tulsa World. Here’s the “running story” that had to suffice because the fight ended at 10:30 p.m. Tulsa time.