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5 Things We Learned From Andre Ward-Sullivan Barrera

Andre Ward put on perhaps the best lightheavyweight debut he could in fron of his home crowd in California. Here's what we learned from Ward's dominating performance against Sullivan Barrera:

Oracle Arena Was Rocking

The Oracle Arena rocked and Stephen Curry and the Dubs weren't even playing. The NBA MVP was among one of the many stars who watched California's own Andre Ward make his lightheavyweight boxing debut. There wasn't any world title on the line but that did not stop the crowd of 8,532 from cheering each time their hometown boy landed a punch. Andre Ward never became number one with Floyd around. Now that Money's retired, the spotlight is all his and he thrived under the bright lights.

Ring Rust Didn't Exist

A fighter from another sport recently said that ring rust doesn't exits, that it's nothing more than a mental weakness. Andre Ward proved that on Saturday night, easily dispatching a young, hungry and legitimate opponent. Ward fought for only the second time in 861 days and for the first time since June 20, 2015. But there were no signs or ring rust. He was quick on his feet, his handspeed was excellent, timing was near perfect and his blocks were on point. He nearly shut out a top contender in Barrera.

Ward Has Power at 175

Sullivan Barrera said Andre Ward couldn't bring his power up to 175 but he was damn wrong when he tried to outmuscle Ward. The S.O.G caught him with a short left hand while on the ropes in the third round and Barerra dropped from a temple shot. The fight was never the same from that point on. Ward consistently rocked Barrera with counters and was never in serious trouble against the supposedly bigger man.

Speed Was The Main Difference

Having power was a bonus but Andre Ward's speed was the main difference in the fight. While it was Barrera who tried to bring the fight to Ward, Andre blocked most of his shots and then returned fire with accuracy. Ward was quicker on the draw and faster on his feet. He neutralized Barrera's aggression and limited his offense. Barrera kept on missing and once he got frustrated, Ward turned it to a punching clinic. 

Not An If But A When

Even before this fight was made, Ward was already linked to Sergey Kovalev. When asked after the fight, Ward told Max Kellerman that Kovalev is "not an if but a when". Andre Ward may be the best boxer in the planet right now and a match with the best light heavyweight in the planet is inevitable. If Kovalev is ready, so is Ward. The Ward-Kovalev fight is just a matter of time now.