By Rocco Morales at ringside
The 2004 Olympic Games gold medalist Andre Ward (20-0, 13 KOs) scored an impressive third round KO over Shelby Pudwill (22-4-1, 9 KOs) on Saturday night at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California. Ward, who thoroughly outboxed Pudwill in the first two rounds, dropped him with a left hook in the third round, which opened a nasty cut under Pudwill’s left eye. Smelling blood, Ward went for the kill and had his opponent in serious trouble. Knowing he could do serious damage, Ward signaled referee Pat Russell several times to put a halt to the shellacking and he mercifully did at 2:16 of the third round.
The key to the fight was “just staying focused,” Ward, America’s last Olympic gold medal winner, simplified. “The speed and the timing and I just had to stay focused. This kind of fight had a lot of build up to a bigger fight and I had to focus on this fight.
“I think he was done,” Ward continued when explaining why he kept calling for the stoppage. “I’m a fighter and I can feel when a fighter’s strength leaves him and after he got up from that knockdown it was pretty much over. He was in serious trouble so why not stop the fight?”
As for his upcoming fight with Kessler in his own home town, Ward succinctly said, “I’m ready”!
Promoter Dan Goossen, breathing a deep sigh of relief, said: “I hate tune-up fights. I’m just happy that he (Ward) got through it for three rounds to get ready for November 21st. That’s what it was all about. So Kessler and Ward both came out successful. That will take us over to November 21st at Oracle Arena.”
In the co-feature, three-division champion and world rated heavyweight James Toney improved to 72-6-3, 44 KOs, with a convincing victory over trialhorse Matthew Greer, who drops to 12-6, 11 KOs. Greer did try to apply some pressure but was unable to cope with the speed, combinations or defense of Toney. Toney dropped Greer in round two and continued to batter Greer with vicious left hooks to the body and overhand right crosses that he landed at will. The referee finally called a stop to the fight at 2:33 of round two to give Toney the TKO victory and keep him in title contention. Toney is rated IBF #9, WBC #11 and WBO #12.
Photos: Tom Casino/SHOWTIME
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In a swing action bout, Francisco Santana won a razor thin SD victory over Tony Hirsch by scores of 58-56 (twice) and 54-60 to improve to 11-1, 5KOs while dropping Hirsch to 9-3-1, 5KOs.
In opening action, jr featherweight bout, Rico Ramos overwhelmed Victor Martinez, first knocking him down in the first round and then stopping him via TKO in the 3rd round to improve to 12-0, 8 KOs and drop Martinez to 15-6, 11 KOs.
Jr. welterweight Mike Dallas Jr. was the victor by six round unanimous decision over Vincent Arroyo. Arroyo suffers his first first professional defeat and drops to 9-1, 6 KOs, while Dallas Jr. improves to 10-0-1, 2 KOs.
Welterweight Terrel Williams stopped Joshua Zurfrluh in his tracks with a hard left hook and was the victor by TKO2 to improve to 2-0, 1 KO, while dropping his opponent to 1-7-1.