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Ward tries to give 'Oak-Town' long-awaited winner

May 13, 2009 |  1:02 pm

Ward The Oakland Raiders have suffered through six seasons out of the playoffs, the Golden State Warriors haven't won a title since the 1970s and the other Bay Area teams, including the Giants and 49ers, have seen better days.

But Oakland super-middleweight boxer Andre Ward, a 2004 U.S. Olympic gold medalist, is 18-0 with 12 knockouts, and he's scheduled a significant challenge before hometown fans Saturday at the Oracle Arena against hard-hitting Edison Miranda (32-3, 28 KOs).

"It'll be a boost, a treat, and I'm happy to bring something positive to this town, because our franchises haven't been doing too well," Ward said today.

Miranda, who has only lost to middleweight champions Kelly Pavlik and Arthur Abraham, has called out Ward for having a "glass chin" and says he expects to chase the 25-year-old around the ring.

Ward, seeking to move into world title contention with a victory, said he's ready to show the native Colombian and the boxing public that "this kid is the real deal."

"I'm a tough guy too," Ward said. "People get caught up in his talk and what he's done in his previous fights. I've been boxing, training, working for this since I was 9 years old. My general game plan is to take over the ring, to stay in control of the fight. It's not going to be a tentative fight. I'm going to hit Edison Miranda and let my hands go.

"I'm not reading everything he says. I'm training. But the guy is saying just enough to keep my fire burning."

Ward, promoted by Sherman Oaks' Dan Goossen, said he believes he'll be poised to become either a mandatory challenger or a contender any super-middleweight champ would need to fight should he defeat Miranda (on Showtime).

"I want to prove to myself and the world that I'm ready for that shot," Ward said. "I wanted to earn my way, not be a shooting star who disappears quickly. I want to reign. That's a process. It takes time. And that time is now."

-- Lance Pugmire

Photo: Boxer Andre Ward. Credit: Ben Margot / Associated Press