Is Andre Ward still the best super middleweight in the world?
By Euan Gilchrist: Firstly let me start by saying I realize I’m going to get a lot of hate from people who just read the title of this article and nothing else. To anyone who actually bothers reading more thank you and I hope that you will understand my reasoning for questioning Ward’s current reputation.
Andre Ward, the WBA super middleweight champion, came out of the Super six as the undisputed man in the super middleweight division when he beat Carl Froch in 2011 but since that time he has achieved nothing of any real note and is so inactive he makes the Klitchko’s look busy. He has fought twice since beating Froch, going ten rounds against a weight drained Chad Dawson who went back up to light heavyweight and was annihilated inside 2 minutes by Adonis Stevens, he then fought the unheralded and over-matched Edwin Rodriguez to a 12 round Unanimous decision.
In this same time frame business elsewhere in the SMW has been booming. Carl Froch has been in exciting fights with Lucian Bute, Mikkel Kessler and George Groves twice in that same time period whilst also easily dispatching Yusaf Mack along the way.
The WBO World title has been hotly contested in Germany in front of some big sellout crowds and we’ve seen a fascinating trilogy between Stieglitz and Abraham which if you’ve missed is really worth finding and watching.
So as the man in the division why is Ward not in the mix with these guys in such an exciting and prosperous time? Is it his unwillingness to travel? Contract disputes? Does the self-styled Son of God not have the fire anymore? It’s interesting that at this precise moment in time everybody in the super middleweight’s seems to be name dropping Froch and not Ward. It’s because ultimately even though Ward beat Froch, Froch is the man at SMW. He’s rarely in a dull fight and he is the biggest draw at the weight, if you want the biggest purse you want to fight Carl Froch. If they were to fight again would the result be the same? I’m not so sure; Froch holds all the cards so Ward would need to travel. Could he hold his nerve in front of 80,000 Screaming fans? Would his inactivity catch up with him? Did Froch have a really bad night against him the first time and could he perform better the second? All of these I believe to be valid questions.
It is nice to see Froch finally getting the recognition that he deserves by making Ring Magazines top 10 p4p list. To quote the late great Emanuel Steward “Froch is like Dennis Andries. He doesn’t know how limited he is. But he can get right up there in the pound for pound rankings.” And he has while Ward is wasting his prime years and damaging his legacy with his inactivity.
I genuinely believe that if these two men were to fight again in the near future Froch would at the very least push Ward harder than anyone else has. After Chavez Jr I hope Ward comes to Britain so we can find out.
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