Universally regarded as among the best pound-for-pounders of the present era, Andre Ward has had a tough time of late. Not because of what’s happened in the ring, but because he hasn’t been in the ring. At least not much.
Partly because of a shoulder injury but mainly as the result of a long-standing legal feud with promoter Dan Goossen, who died last September, the undefeated WBA Super World super middleweight champ (28-0, 15 KOs) has fought only three times since decisioning Arthur Abraham and Carl Froch in 2011, stopping Chad Dawson by 10th-round TKO in 2012, decisioning Edwin Rodriguez in 2013, and stopping Paul Smith by ninth-round TKO this year. Also, Ward has only defended his title six times, most recently in his bout with Rodriguez, since winning it in 2009 by 11th-round technical decision against Mikkel Kessler.
With the promotional dispute now resolved, and with his tune-up fight against Smith behind him, Ward was expected to face Froch or Fedor Chudinov as his mandatory challenger no later than September. But Froch has retired from the ring, while Chudinov is scheduled to defend his WBA World super middleweight title against Frank Buglioni on September 26. Assuming Chudinov wins, he’ll then rematch Felix Sturm, against whom he won the vacant title by controversial split decision in May.
Where does this leave both Ward and boxing fans? Given the realities of the situation, the WBA has determined that its Super champ “is authorized to participate in a voluntary defense of his title in November 2015 (though no such fight has been announced). Thereafter, Ward must face the Champion of the division as his mandatory defense.”
The bout of choice, at least as far as fans are concerned, would be Ward vs. WBA Super World middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (assuming he gets past David Lemieux in October) at some mutually agreed-upon catchweight. That may or may not happen, but certainly not this year.
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.