Andre Ward WON’T come out of retirement for Canelo Alvarez
By Allan Fox: Andre Ward says he’s NOT going to come out of his two-year retirement to take on WBO light heavyweight champion Saul Canelo Alvarez. The fans want to see the 35-year-old former two division world champion Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) to come out of retirement for him to battle the superstar Canelo, and face IBF/WBC 175-lb champion Artur Beterbiev.
Canelo stopped Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs) in the 11th round on November 2 to become a four division world champion at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Since Canelo captured the WBO 175-lb title, there’s been a call for Ward to come out of retirement to challenge him for his old belt. Ward vacated the WBO title in November 2017 in retiring.
Canelo vs. Ward might been an ugly fight
Unfortunately, Ward vs. Canelo might have been an ugly fight, and perhaps it’s better than it won’t take place. If Ward chose to grapple with Canelo on the inside with a lots dull wrestling, there would be disappointed fans. Earlier in Ward’s career, he was an excellent fighter that could move in and out. But by the time he fought Kovalev in 2016, his legs were gone and much of his hand speed as well.
For older boxing fans that remember Ward’s entire career, he had more than few less interesting matches. His fights against Sakio Bika, Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler and Kovalev all involved a lot of grappling and head-on-collisions. Kessler was sliced up around both eyes from the frequent clashes of heads with Ward, and he wasn’t happy about it.
Ward did a lot of holding and wrestling in both fights, and it wasn’t exciting to watch. For an MMA fan, they might have enjoyed watching the Ward vs. Kovalev fights, but it wasn’t great TV.
Ward’s decision not to come out of retirement is hard for the average boxing fan to understand. The payday that Ward would receive in a fight against Canelo would likely be over $10 million. Kovalev made $12 million+ for the Canelo fight last Saturday night on November 2, and he’s not big a star as Ward.
Ward NOT coming out of retirement
To turn down a payday of over $10 million, it’s hard for fans to comprehend Ward not agreeing to take the fight. That would be a career-high payday for Ward, and a chance for him to cement his legacy.
The way that Ward ended his career with a controversial knockout of Kovalev, it wasn’t a good way to end things. a lot of boxing fans think Ward’s stoppage of Kovalev was the result of three low blows thrown consecutively. Further, a lot of people think Kovalev was robbed in his first fight with Ward in 2016. They think Kovalev did more than enough to deserve a win over Ward.
“I’m not coming out of retirement to fight Canelo Alvarez,” Ward said to ESPN.com. “There’s been a lot of talk — when that fight was signed and, obviously, since Canelo got the victory over Sergey Kovalev. My phone’s been blowing up nonstop. There’s been a lot of pressure… trying to pull me out and it’s just not something that I’m interested in doing,” said Ward.
Fans would want Ward to fight Beterbiev and Bivol
Ward retired after stopping Sergey Kovalev in the 8th round in their rematch in June 2017. Had Ward continued his career, the fans would have wanted him to fight Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol. Those would have been VERY tough outs for Ward, as those guys are highly skilled, and powerful.
Ward was still young at 33 when he retired from the sport, and was rated #1 in the pound-for-pound. That’s the equivalent of Babe Ruth retiring after hitting 60 home runs. It’s difficult to understand a fighter like Ward retiring while he’s still at the top rather than getting the most out of his career. If Ward did come back, he would face INTENSE pressure to fight both Bivol and Beterbiev.
Those guys would be a nightmare for Ward to deal with, especially Beterbiev. He’s not someone that can be out-wrestled on the inside. Beterbiev is strong, and he throws short punches in close that have knockout power. Ward would be forced to try and box, and that probably wouldn’t work with his legs gone.