Andre Ward: I want to be great!
By Chris Williams: After having little luck in getting the top super middleweights in the division to fight him after winning the Super Six tournament in 2011, champion Andre Ward (28-0, 15 KOs) will be moving up to light heavyweight in search for bigger and better things. Ward will be fighting Alexander Brand (21-1, 19 KOs) in less than three weeks from now on November 21st at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This is a fine opponent for Ward to showcase his talent on the undercard of the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Miguel Cotto on HBO pay-per-view. Brand has good punching power, and this will enable Ward to give him a boxing lesson to impress the boxing world.
After that fight, Ward will be looking to face the top 175lb fighters in 2016. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Ward will be fighting IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev at the end of 2016.
Before making his decision to move up, Ward made one last ditch effort recently to get a fight against Gennady Golovkin, but his efforts were met with no luck because the Kazakhstan fighter and his management weren’t ready to commit to a dangerous fight against a fighter like Ward. Golovkin was willing to fight super middleweight Carl Froch without a catch-weight, but he wasn’t willing to fight Ward for some reason.
When you can’t even get the fighter that many boxing fans see as the best fighter in the 160lb division to fight you, then what does that tell you about Ward’s chances of getting big fights at super middleweight? There were no opportunities at all for Ward, period.
With Golovkin not even willing to face him, Ward had to move up to light heavyweight to broaden his horizons against guys bigger and stronger than him. The thing is once Ward starts beating the top 175lb fighters like Kovalev, he’s likely going to find himself avoided like he’s been at 168. Ward will get that one fight against Kovalev, and then after that, he’ll be avoided like the plague just like he is at super middleweight.
“Part of it was a lack of opponents, a lack of, I don’t want to say competition because there is competition, but a lack of finding guys that I can actually fight,” Ward said to Fighthype.com about his reasons for moving up to light heavyweight. “I want to be great and this is what the greats do. They take on challenges like this whether they have to do it or not. Floyd did it, Bernard did it, Roy did it, and those are my three favorite fighters. All the greats did it.”
It’s too bad that the other fighters don’t want to be great like Ward, because boxing would be so much better than it is right now. There are too many fighters avoiding each other and just trying to protect their resumes by facing weak opponents and coming up with excuses for not agreeing to fight the best in the sport. Golovkin should have fought Ward this year.
There was no excuse for the Kazakhstan fighter not to take the fight with Ward, because it would have given Golovkin the opportunity to prove himself. He was willing to fight Card Froch at 168, so he should have been willing to fight Golovkin.
Ward’s mission is to batter Brand and his next opponent and then to after Kovalev’s scalp. Once he’s got Kovalev’s pelt added to his collection, Ward will be looking for a unification fight against WBC 175lbs champion Adonis Stevenson in 2017.
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