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Whicker: Andre Ward knows the dangers of boxing’s ring of fire

By in Press Enterprise on June 16, 2017

By Mark Whicker

LAS VEGAS — This is Day 6 of the darkness for Daniel Franco.

On Saturday night, a right hand by Jose Haro punched his face in. They took Franco to a hospital in Sioux Falls, Iowa, and performed emergency brain surgery. On Monday they did it again. This time the doctors said they were going to leave off part of his skull, to alleviate pressure.

On Tuesday, Franco’s father Al said his son’s temperature was normal again. On Thursday, Al said they had cut down his meds, and that he was hopeful Daniel would escape the coma “gradually.”

The bleak perfection of Haro’s punch was seen throughout boxing, or at least heard.

“There’s a young man in a coma right now,” Andre Ward said the other day. “That’s the reality of our sport. Every single time I get into the ring I think about that.

“Not just for a fight, either. When I’m training I go 12 or 13 rounds with four sparring partners, all of them fresh. They’re trying to make a name for themselves. I know I’m putting it on the line. You get hit with shots. Stuff happens.”

Ward fights Sergey Kovalev again on Saturday, at Mandalay Bay. They met last Nov. 19, two undefeated light-heavyweights, except Ward was moving up from 168 to 175. Kovalev floored Ward in the second round, but Ward gathered himself and won a one-point unanimous decision on all cards.

The call infuriated Kovalev. So have insinuations that Kovalev called Ward racially-based names during the fight. The pre-bout propaganda has been unusually personal, especially from Kovalev, placid by nature.

“They try to break my mind before the fight,” Kovalev said. “Jean Pascal tried to do the same thing. I don’t like Ward, I don’t like Ward’s team. I’ll get the belts back, whether I kick my (rear end) or […]    

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