They did it 5,600 miles apart, but Andre Ward and Mikkel Kessler both took care of business in similar fashion in front of their fans and television viewers on a special split-site doubleheader ShoBox: The New Generation on SHOWTIME Saturday night. Ward (20-0, 13 KOs) remained undefeated, stopping Shelby Pudwill (22-4-1, 9 KOs) at 2:!6 of the third round from the Pechanga Resort and Casino. Earlier in the day, in Herning, Denmark, Kessler (42-1, 32 KOs) retained his WBA super middleweight title with a fourth-round TKO over Venezuela’s Gusmyr Perdomo (16-3, 10KOs) at the MCH Messecenter. Ward will now meet Kessler in Group Stage 1 of the celebrated Super Six World Boxing Classic, Nov. 21 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., for Kessler’s WBA world title.
Photos: Tom Casino/SHOWTIME
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Let the hype begin as both Ward and Kessler will meet Thursday in Oakland for a press conference at the Oracle Arena.
Ward said he was told of the Kessler-Pedromo result by none other than Antonio Tarver, who was working the fight as a guest commentator for ShoBox. Ward had declined to watch the fight before his own. “Didn’t see it, didn’t want to see it,” he said. “I had my own fight to worry about. I knew somebody would come up to me and tell me who won and it was the last person I expected, Tarver.”
Ward continued, “It’s championship time now. It’s time to rise to the occasion.”
Kessler sent the 32-year-old Perdomo to the canvas for the first time in his career in the third round before referee Russell Mora stopped the fight with just 56 seconds remaining in the fourth round. “He came out strong in the first couple of rounds,” Kessler said. “I couldn’t figure him out so I made a plan in the third to go forward and put pressure on him and that worked.
“I am looking forward to the Super Six (World Boxing Classic). It’s a dream come true for us all. Ward is a great fighter. I have deep respect for him. He’s a tough guy and a nice guy also. I met him. I think we are going to have a hard fight. I am going to show him I am the best. I am the world champ.”
Saturday’s bouts will re-air this week on SHO 2 Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 11 p.m. ET/PT. ON DEMAND starts Sept. 15 and ends Oct. 12.