By Gary Mushrow [@Gary9690]

Andre Ward showed no adverse effects of a two year lay-off last night, pummelling former British champion Paul Smith inside nine one-sided rounds.

The ‘Son of God’ was accruate and precise with cute single shots early on, all made easier by an effectively zero output from his opponent throughout the whole contest.

Smith opened up a little in the fifth and seventh rounds but was quickly punished with straight right hands and several beautiful uppercuts which drew gasps from viewers ringside.

The game plan for Smith transpired to take Ward into the later rounds and possibly let some power shots go and upset the champion, but taking shots saps energy just as much as throwing them, and the Liverpool man ultimately wiltered under the heat brought by the lineal super middleweight champion.

Never really in the fight and shipping some heavy combinations, Smith’s cornerman Joe Gallagher threw in the towel at 1.45 of the ninth round, with referee Lou Moret all too happy to oblige.

The boxing fraternity hopes Ward will move on to sterner assignments in the latter stages of 2015, with possible assignments against Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin and Sergey Kovalev all distinct possibilities in the near future.

Smith has fought three tough fights in a row now, suffering three defeats to Arthur Abraham twice and Andre Ward last night.

The ‘Real Gone Kid’ could definitely still be involved in some terrific domestic fights against the likes of Rocky Fielding and Martin Murray, but would definitely suit being closer to the 160 pound mark, than the 175 pound mark last night.