For Andre Ward (29-0, 15 KO), Alexander Brand (25-1, 19 KO) is literally an afterthought. That is to say, according to Ward and his trainer, Virgil Hunter, every other possible opponent was sought before Brand was selected at the last possible moment. This revelation from Ward and Hunter was in response to a backlash whereby Ward was accused of “cherrypicking.”
Indeed, last year HBO commentator Jim Lampley demeaned Ward for initially wanting to fight Brand on the undercard of Cotto-Canelo, which was canceled due to a knee injury on Ward's side. (Jim Lampley's ridicule of Ward was prompted by Ward's public challenge to fight Gennady Golovkin. Ward had called Golovkin “Lil' G” for avoiding the fight. As of now, Gennady Golovkin is the face of HBO boxing and the obvious favorite of Jim Lampley.)
Brand was one of many fighters to initially reject the offer fight Ward this time around, although he eventually accepted. Brand is a former super-middleweight who is not perceived as being highly skilled – non-technical, slow, without defense, and also lacking in balance and footwork.
...Brand-Ward appears to be so uncompetitive that I am predicting a technical knockout by Andre Ward by the middle rounds.
Since Ward-Kovalev looms for November, the main takeaway of Brand-Ward is the power of Ward at light-heavyweight. Indeed, Sergey Kovalev and his trainer, John David Jackson, have made no secret that they have cherrypicked a fight with Andre Ward for his perceived lack of power in a lower weight class.
Brand-Ward airs at 10:35PM US Eastern on Saturday night.