WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward takes a break from the Super Six tournament this evening but challenger Sakio Bika is likely to make tonight's title clash anything but easy at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA.
Ward, 22-0 (13), cemented his hold on the 168 pound division in shocking fashion a year ago by stepping from regional title fights all the way to a bout against WBA champ Mikkel Kessler, widely regarded as the top man at the weight, and winning via 11th round technical decision.
The Oakland native followed that up with a dominant 12 round points verdict over Allan Green this past June and now is ready to tangle with Cameroon born Australia resident Bika.
Bika, 28-4-2 (19), isn't the best known fighter in the super middle division but isn't a stranger to big fights over the last four years, having given world champions Joe Calzaghe and Lucian Bute difficult contests in losing efforts while drawing with Markus Beyer.
The challenger likes to come forward, applying pressure and this could give Ward difficulty as the steel-jawed Bika might not be dissuaded from pressing matters as were Kessler and Green.
But Ward is a far better boxer than Bika and if the challenger can't overcome this deficiency with force, it could turn out to be a one-sided affair with Bika eating leather round after round.
It could take Ward a few rounds to get the full measure of Bika but after that, look for another points win for the Californian.