Andre Ward drops comeback hint against Dmitry Bivol
By Allan Fox: Andre “SOG” Ward posted a photo today of him facing off with WBA World light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol on his social media, as if he’s going to be fighting him. Ward retired last October after vacating his IBF, WBA & WBO 175 lb. titles.
(Photo credit: Craig Bennett-Main Events)
Ward will be turning 33-years-old on Friday. He hasn’t fought in 8 months since his 8th round knockout win over Sergey Kovalev in their rematch last year on June 17th. Ward returning for a fight with Bivol wouldn’t likely be pay-per-view worthy for HBO or Showtime. Bivol isn’t a big enough name to interest the casual boxing fans, and Ward’s last 2 fights with Kovalev were filled controversy. The scoring for the first Ward-Kovalev fight in 2016 saw Ward being given a questionable 12 round decision. In the second fight, Ward, landed what appeared to be 3 consecutive low blows in the 8th round, which promoted referee Tony Weeks to stop the contest.
The 27-year-old Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) would be a tough fight for Ward to take if he does make a comeback, but he might see something in the Russian fighter’s game that makes him think he can beat him. Bivol is arguably not as good of a boxer as Ward’s last opponent Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev. Ward beat Kovalev in back to back fights before retiring from boxing. What Bivol has going for him that Kovalev lacked was stamina. Kovalev gassed out twice against Ward and that cost him the fight. Additionally, Kovaled proved to be vulnerable in taking body shots.
Bivol will be defending his title on March 3 against #1 WBA Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs) on HBO Championship Boxing on the undercard of Kovalev vs. Igor Mikhalkin at Madison Square Garden in New York. Barrera, 35, was beaten by Ward by a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision on March 26, 2016. That was 2 years ago. Barrera hasn’t lost anything from his game since that fight. If Bivol can do a better job of defeating Barrera than Ward, it will give the boing public the perception that the Russian fighter might have the goods to defeat SOG if he decides to make a comeback.
If nothing else, an impressive win by Bivol over Barrera will give the fans a good measuring stick to compare Bivol to Ward. It would great if Ward decided that he wanted to come back to the sport to try and win back his WBA title from Bivol. It would be a major negative if the Ward-Bivol fight ends up in controversy like we saw with the 2 Ward vs. Kovalev fights. The judges need to do a good job scoring the contest. They would also need a quality referee that makes the right call on low blows if the fight suddenly turns into a low blow clinic all of a sudden. To this day, many boxing fans still believe Ward shouldn’t have been given an 8th round stoppage win over Kovalev in their rematch in 2017. Ward looked like he was going to win the fight anyway, as Kovalev was hurt from a right hand that he’d been nailed with moments before the apparent low blows.