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NSAC won’t sanction Andre Ward vs. Rohan Murdock fight

Andre WardBy Scott Gilfoid: It looks like unbeaten super middleweight Andre Ward (28-0, 15 KOs) and his promoters at Roc Nation Sports will need to look around for another opponent for him to fight on the undercard of the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Miguel Cotto fight card on November 21st on HBO PPV.

The fighter that Ward was supposed to be fighting on the Cott-Canelo card, #6 WBO 168lb contender Rohan Murdock (18-1, 14 KOs), has been turned down by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for some reason. According to the West Australian Sport, the NSAC won’t agree to sanction the Ward-Murdock fight.

Murdock, 23, is from Australia, and this is a fight that reportedly would have given him a payday of somewhere in the neighborhood of $250,000 to $300,000, according to the West Australian. That’s kind of hard to believe given how little known Murdock is. I would see something a lot less than this for a little known guy. But never the less, it looks like the Ward-Murdock fight is a no go for some reason.

This is obviously a real buzz-kill because Ward needs a quality opponent for him to fight, and Murdock would have been a good choice. He’s highly ranked, he hits hard, has talent, and he’s more than good enough to give Ward a good fight of it.

With only a month to go before the Cotto vs. Canelo fight card, it’s going to put a lot of pressure on Ward and his promoters at Roc Nation Sports for them to find a guy good enough to face Ward in the co-feature bout. This is an HBO card, so we’re not going to see a lower level opponent for a talent like Ward.

HBO believes in putting quality fights for the boxing fans, especially with this being a PPV fight at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Getting someone good that is willing to face a tough guy like Ward on one month’s notice is going to be very difficult. I mean, it’s definitely doable, but it might take a good money offer to make the fight happen.

I’d like to see one of the Dirrell brothers step up and take the fight with Ward, but I’m not sure that HBO would be able to come up with the money to lure one of them to take the fight. I think either of the Dirrell brothers would agree to face Ward if they were offered enough money. It’ a win-win fight for either of the Dirrell brothers. They get good money, and they get a chance to show off their skills against the best fighter in the 168lb division. It would be an especially good fight for Andre Dirrell, who looks like he’s outgrown the super middleweight division anyway. In Dirrell’s last fight against James DeGale, he looked weight drained at the weigh-in. During the fight, Dirrell looked puffy like he’d rehydrated too much. I’d never seen him look like that, and he was huge in the ring. That tells me that Dirrell needs to move up to light heavyweight whether he wants to or not. That’s why I think he would be the perfect opponent for Ward if he’s not injured. Dirrell recently pulled out of a Premier Boxing Champions card for an unstated reason.

Ward, 31, recently signed a 3-fight deal with HBO Boxing a week ago. The third fight of the contract is said to be a title shot against IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. That’s going to be a huge fight. But before then, Ward was said to be looking for a decent test for his first fight of the contract on the Cotto-Canelo card, and then a tougher opponent for his second fight in early 2016.

Ward needs someone like Eleider Alvarez, Andrzej Fonfara, Yunieski Gonzalez or Sullivan Barrera. One of those guys would be a good test for Ward if Roc Nation Sports and HBO could come up with the money to get one of those guys to face Ward, If not, then we’ll have to be content with Ward facing the best possible opponent he can get.

I’d be happy with Ward fighting someone along the lines of Erik Skoglund, Isaac Chilemba, Felix Valera, Dominic Boesel, Jean Pascal, Artur Beterbiev, Sean Monaghan or Igor Mikhalkin. But let’s be real; none of those guys are going to fight Ward, because they’re too highly ranked, and they’re not going to want to risk their hides this close to them getting a title shot. Pascal is already is getting another title shot against Kovalev in early 2016, so he definitely wouldn’t agree to a fight against Ward.

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