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Andre Ward interested in Tony Bellew fight says Hearn

Andre Ward Tony Bellew

By Jeff Aranow: British promoter Eddie Hearn says light heavyweight champion Andre “SOG” Ward is interested in fighting Tony Bellew (29-2-1, 19 KOs) in a fight that potentially would take place in the heavyweight division. Bellew, 34, is on board with fighting Ward, but a rematch with David Haye is also there as a possibility for him. It would have to make sense for Ward to pick Ward over the big payday that he’ll be getting in a Haye rematch.

Ward just finished off former 175 pound champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev in stopping him in the 8th round in their rematch on June 17. The victory for Ward was his second over Kovalev, and it essentially ended the rivalry between them for all intents and purposes. Ward is now looking for bigger and better things for his career. He’s not going to stick around for a third fight with Kovalev.

A move up to heavyweight is one option for Ward, as it’s where the bigger paydays are for him. Ward’s trainer Virgil Hunter would like for him to challenger heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua for his world titles. That might sound funny right now, but if Ward defeats Bellew and looks good, he’d put himself in a great position to get the Joshua fight. You could look at it this way. If Ward fight’s Hearn’s fighter Bellew, it might put him on better terms to get a fight with Joshua.

“I spoke to Andre Ward’s team last night – James Prince and Josh Dubin – just talking about various things in boxing,” Hearn said to skysports.com. “Andre Ward has got a big interest in fighting Tony Bellew.”

This would be a difficult fight for Ward to fight Bellew. He’s a step up from Kovalev. It would be a harder fight for Ward, but still a winnable one. Bellew doesn’t fight on the inside, and Ward could gain an advantage over him if he chooses to stay close to Bellew. Ward-Bellew would interest a lot of boxing fans in the UK, and it might even bring in good numbers on PPV on Sky Box Office. However, you have to look at it from Bellew’s perspective. He obviously wants to cash in on his popularity that he’s gained from his recent 11th round knockout win over David Haye last March. Is a fight against Andre Ward the best bet for Bellew for the biggest payday? It’s unclear. A rematch with Haye would very likely give Bellew a better payday. If Bellew could get a title shot against Joseph Parker, Deontay Wilder or Joshua, he would wind up with more money as well. It’s not realistic right now that Hearn will be able to swing a deal to get Bellew a world heavyweight title shot right now. Bellew’s best bet for a nice payday in the short term would be for him to fight either Haye or Ward.
Ward said this on his Twitter:

”I miss the UK.”

That could mean that Ward is interested in a fight with Bellew or Joshua. The bigger money fight by far for Ward would be against Joshua. That fight isn’t available right now. Joshua might not be available until the second part of 2018. He’s got back to back fights against Wladimir Klitschko and Kubrat Pulev that he needs to take care of before he can start thinking about making a voluntary defense against someone like Ward. That leaves Ward with a lot of time that he needs to fill with 1 or 2 fights.

If Ward stays a light heavyweight, he could fight someone like Adonis Stevenson or Artur Beterbiev. Those are two tough fights with uncertain outcomes. The things Ward was able to do against Kovalev might not work against Stevenson and Beterbiev, both of which have massive punching power. Beterbiev knows how to fight on the inside. Ward would need to use a different approach to try and beat Beterbiev. Stevenson would make Ward pay if he tries to get close to throw body shots. Stevenson has one-punch power that would be a problem for Ward.

”let me fight him. I’ll bash him up,” said Bellew to skysports.com.

Bellew might not be serious about wanting to fight Ward. It’ll likely come down to which fight makes the most sense as far as the money involved. A rematch with Haye would be a good option for Bellew if the two of them can hammer out a deal that makes it worthwhile for Bellew to take that fight over a Ward fight. Bellew has already said that it would need to be a very different deal this time around than the last time he fought Haye. Bellew wasn’t in the position to ask for equal money in the first fight. He’s now in that position.

Ward and Bellew are both in the same position of needing to capitalize on their recent victories. Both fighters need to be selective in the type of fights they take if they want to maximize their revenue and keep their popularity high. Ward-Bellew might not be the best option for either of them if they’re looking for that one big cash out payday fight.


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