Out of Sight Out of mind: Andre Ward’s Plight
By James Le Blanc: Max Kellerman had some interesting comments on The Fight Game with Jim Lampley regarding Andre Ward and the criticism he receives for not being a fan friendly fighter. He discusses some of the reason behind this could be based on the way Ward conducts himself. Andre Ward chooses to be humble, soft spoken, and a respectable human being and as an African American fighter this persona doesn’t sit too well with the boxing audience.
They also mentioned on the fight game that if Manny Pacquiao has another solid performance and Andre Ward still has not fought by then, Manny will take his spot as #2 on the p4p list.
And that leads me to the real issues Andre Ward faces. The trouble he is having with the fans is really all about his inactivity. Think back to the Super Six tournament where Andre Ward went through the very best in his division and came out undefeated. That was three years ago. Since then Andre Ward has battled injury, and he has battled his promoter with only 2 fights under his belt since winning that tournament trophy. Twice now Andre Ward is fighting in court, attempting to separate from his promoter Dan Goosen, after losing his first lawsuit, Ward went back to the drawing board as if it was a fighter in the ring; he made adjustments and brought back yet another lawsuit against his promoter. Now let’s compare him to his rival Carl Froch whom he defeated in the Super Six finale.
Froch went on to fight Lucian Bute, a very popular Canadian boxer at the time who was undefeated and uninvited to the Super Six tournament. Bute was awaiting the winner of the tournament but Andre Ward felt such a guy was undeserving of such a match. Ward may have been correct in that aspect, but Bute was very popular, and beating him only would have helped Andre Wards status.
Instead Froch took the opportunity to bounce back on the grandest of scales by knocking out Bute. Froch would then KO another in Yusaf Mack. He would then avenge one of his losses to Mikkel Kessler, and knock out George Groves. Froch has fought 4 times since losing to Ward in late 2011. He is scheduled to have a high profiled rematch against George Groves in May.
Andre Ward has no fight on the horizon. He expressed interest in a PPV showdown with Julio Chavez Jr but it appears that Chavez will instead be fighting Gennady Golovkin. Injuries are a part of the game, they are circumstantial, and even battling your promoter these days is an unfortunate part of the game, but to battle both issues simultaneously can have a major impact on one’s career. Andre Ward is not only losing his fame and respect as a fighter by being inactive, he is also losing his youth, precious time that could be spent in the ring building his brand and legacy.
While Ward was the first to knock out Chad Dawson, that fight has become a distant memory to fans. Look at Adonis Stevenson who also knocked out Chad Dawson last year, and then went on to knock out two more foes with an upcoming match in May. Andre Wards battles are unfortunate and circumstantial, but they are the toughest battles he is facing and right now it looks like he is losing to them. Hopefully Andre Ward can come back from all of this better than ever, get in the ring and prove why he is still the best….but being so inactive is causing the world to forget about the last American Olympic Gold Medalist.