Time is a luxury super-middleweight champion turned light-heavyweight contender Andre Ward just doesn’t have at the age of 31, especially when you take into account his history of injuries, contractual disputes and time lost out of the ring.
A clash that fans so desperately crave
Andre ward having only just recently pulled out of his latest bout against the little known and lightly regarded Alexander Brand (24-1, 19 KO) due to an inflammation on his knee, is of the belief that time is on his side.
The bout against Brand would have been Ward’s debut at light-heavyweight and should have been the 1st of a 3 part fight deal Ward had penned with American network HBO, with the penultimate fight supposedly against the devastating current unified WBO , IBF, WBA (Super) and WBC Diamond light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev.
But if Ward is to be believed he is in no rush to make that fight anytime soon, it would seem.
During an interview with Michelle Beadle as part of ‘The Fight Game with Jim Lampley’ program on Wednesday night, Ward when asked by Beadle: “Why Ward-Kovalev can’t occur sooner rather than later?”, he said:
“That’s easy for people to say who aren’t getting hit. That’s very easy to say. But my question is, what’s the rush? Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, they didn’t fight when everybody wanted them to fight. They fought and, regardless of how people feel about the actual fight, the monetary outcome and the numbers that that fight did, it shattered the box-office ratings. And, I mean, that’s gonna be a great fight between Sergey Kovalev and myself, if and when it happens, and great fights need to be built up. And that’s what we’re gonna do.”
Where is Ward really at in his career at the moment?
Reading between the lines, Ward doesn’t sound at all confident and looks to be pushing the fight date further and further away, which is probably a good thing, because if Ward thinks a tune-up fight at a catchweight against someone like Paul Smith who was coming off two defeats in his last two fights prior to his fight against Ward , and a fight against someone like Brand who has never campaigned in the light-heavyweight division before, are going too prepare him for a fighter like Kovalev at a new and untried weight class, he is sorely mistaken.
It has been over 3 years since Ward has had a meaningful fight against a good fighter and even then, that was against a weight drained Chad Dawson in 2012.
In fairness, Dawson agreed to the drop in weight to make the fight, but the talented Ward isn’t getting any younger and when you add to that his past and present injury woes and his inactivity, you have to ask the question is Ward the fighter he once was?
The fight against Smith didn’t answer any real questions in reality, as to where Ward is truly at this point in his career.
So is a skilled and powerful fighter like Sergey Kovalev the type of opponent to face, to find out such questions without testing the waters at light-heavyweight properly against a live light-heavyweight?
The clock is ticking
In response to Ward’s “no rush” comments, Kathy Duva of Main Events, and Kovalev’s representative told BoxingScene.com via email:
“We signed an agreement with Roc Nation and Andre Ward for Ward to fight Kovalev in 2016. The only “if” here is if Ward actually gets in the ring. We can’t stop him from getting injured or retiring. But if he gets in the ring after June 2016, it will be against Sergey Kovalev. We would love to do the fight sooner, but Ward wants his tune-ups. In the meantime, Sergey will go on with his career against the best opposition that isn’t afraid to fight him.”
For Ward the clock is ticking, and patience within the boxing world is fast running out for the talented Oakland native.
(Image credit: YouTube)
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