OAKLAND, CA — Andre Ward didn’t look like a fighter shaking off a 19 month-layoff when he easily dissected and dispatched Paul Smith in nine one-sided rounds Saturday night.
Ward’s sharp jab transformed Smith into an indecisive fighter who plodded into power shots. Smith’s face began to open up in the seventh as Ward mixed in straight rights, left hooks and uppercuts. Outside of a few inconsequential body shots, Smith’s anemic offense provided no challenge.
The finish came from Ward’s repeated straight rights through Smith’s guard. Smith, who may have suffered a broken nose, began bleeding profusely in retreat. Smith’s corner threw in the towel with 1:13 remaining.
The fight’s 172-pound catchweight marked Ward’s first appearance above super-middleweight since winning the Super Six tournament in 2011. Smith failed to make the catchweight and weighed 176.[youtube https://youtu.be/cm7BdRmLOy4]