The Truth about Andre Ward
By Duke Pahulu: On November 16, Andre Ward is defending his ring title against Edwin Rodriguez. On fight night, its going to be 14 months since he last fought destroying then light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson.
The Dawson fight was Ward’s first fight on HBO since winning Showtime’s Super Six tournament. The Dawson win had people thinking Ward was going to one day take the mantle Floyd Mayweather sits on as the pound for pound king.
He was originally set to face former middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik in the first quarter of the year but Ward injured his shoulder and Pavlik retired. As Ward went through surgery and rehab, the landscape around his weight class was changing. Carl Froch beat Kessler in a rematch and established himself as the clear number one contender for Ward’s throne.
Adonis Stevenson, a super middleweight, moved up and knocked out Chad Dawson in the first round to take the ring title at 175. Both Froch-Kessler II and Dawson-Stevenson were broadcasted by HBO where Ward resides. But instead of trying to make either fight, Andre Ward was in court trying to leave his promoter.
That fight was a waste of time to which Ward stayed with the promoter and left Ward without a suitable opponent. Froch went on to stage a fight against George Groves and Stevenson is set to face Tavoris Cloud this Saturday.
Either Froch or Stevenson would have build on the Dawson win. But before signing the Rodriguez fight, Ward made a statement amounting to wanting big money for a tuneup. His reason being that Miguel Cotto and Chavez Jr are being paid hamsomely for tuneup bouts.
The problem is that Ward is not the stars Cotto and Chavez Jr are. Ward is a better fighter than both but Ward doesn’t have the track record those two have when it comes to the box office. It’s unfair but big money goes to people who drive up interest.
Ward doesn’t have an obvious exciting style ala Floyd Mayweather, but he doesn’t have the personality out the ring to rile up fans like Floyd. Ward had the chance to make a serious paycheck with a Froch rematch or Stevenson showdown but he put his fight into the courts.
If Ward had a real sense of what he’s worth as a boxer, he should have gotten on a plane and took on Froch in the UK to maximize his purse.
Yeah, I know Froch doesn’t have a shot but he earned a rematch with victories of Bute and Kessler. And I know Froch would give Ward a harder tussell than Edwin Rodriguez who has beaten journeymen at best up to this point. And with the Rodriguez fight being held in Southern California, it’s going to be a hard sell seeing that neither fighter are based around the area.
Ward sells well at the Oracle in Oakland where this fight should be held. Ward is a master of distance to where he knows when to throw and when to close distance to diminish return fire. And when in close, he knows how to get work done before the ref breaks the clinch.
It’s a style that has been so dominant that people have hired Virgil Hunter hoping for the same. The problem is that Hunter isn’t the kind of trainer than can solve the problems of established fighters such as Angulo and Khan. His fame was earned from a lifetime of working with Andre Ward from the ground up. Ward is a true talent that needs to fight the best guys to get the biggest checks.
I’m happy that HBO took a stance on not giving Ward a King’s ransom for a tuneup. Ward was a couple years late when it comes to milking HBO for all their worth like Berto did prior to the Ortiz loss.
It’s good that Ward is getting back in the ring after being more known for his boxing commentating than fighting for the past year. It’s a good save on his part by taking Roy Jones’ spot here and there but Ward is in the middle of his prime and belongs in the ring.
After Rodriguez, Ward has no excuse for not taking on the biggest fights out there. the winners of Froch-Groves, Stevenson-Cloud and Bute-Pascal are all incredible matchups for Ward. The wildcard and biggest money fight would be Julio Cesear Chavez Jr who will be fighting this Saturday.
Chavez Jr gave Martinez his first ppv headliner which did almost 500,000 ppv buys. Martinez up to that point was a top three p4p fighter just like Ward is now and I don’t see why HBO wouldn’t put the matchup on PPV considering Manny Pacquiao is the only PPV draw on HBO’s roster.
As long as Chavez Jr takes care of business against small middleweight Brian Vera, this fight should be Ward’s next move if he does want the big bucks. But if Ward is out for the glory, there should be plenty to choose from if he stays on point keeps that fighting spirit out of court and in the ring.