Andre Ward has officially signed with Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports, the boxing arm of which is headed by former Golden Boy exec (and prior to that, DiBella Entertainment) David Itskowitch. Ward’s career has been marred by inactivity over the past several years, which has seen him fade from the spotlight despite enormous in the ring success.
Ward emerged unbeaten and unscathed from the Super Six Tournament, with wins over the likes of Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler and Arthur Abraham. Since that time though, he’s fought only twice in over three years. One of those wins was a huge beatdown of then light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson, but the other was a ho hum return fight against Edwin Rodriguez.
He’s battled several injuries, as well as contractual disputes with Goossen Tutor Promotions. The latter saga, at least, is over, with Ward inking with Roc Nation, and becoming the new lynchpin of their boxing efforts.
Ward was formerly our #2 pound for pound fighter, but has fallen to #4 in our rankings due to all of that inactivity. A return to action and form could certainly rectify that situation quickly. Roc Nation will be looking to do more than just return Ward to action, but to build him into a star.
Roc Nation has merged with Gary Shaw Productions, which instantly gives the company a reputable stable and added depth and experience beyond the big-name signing of Ward. While they’ve swung and missed in efforts to sign Adrien Broner, Keith Thurman and Deontay Wilder, Ward is by far the best and most proven fighter of the bunch.
He may not be as “flashy”, but he’s the real deal in the ring. With the right backing and progression, there’s no reason that Ward, now 30 years old, can’t still emerge as a star and one of the biggest names in the sport.
There are plenty of potential fights for him, including against the likes of Gennady Golovkin. Beyond that though, the pickings are slim at super middleweight for Ward, as the next best guy in the division is someone he already clearly defeated, Froch. Therefore, while Ward has expressed interest in remaining at 168 lbs for the time being, the larger fights for him may actually be at light heavyweight, where the winner of the Sergey Kovalev vs. Jean Pascal clash, and Adonis Stevenson, await.