Nowhere to Go but Up for Andre “SOG” Ward:
Andre Ward has cleaned out the entire 168 lb. division and is in need of serious competition. After decisively beating Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham, Sakio Bika, and most recently, Edwin Rodriguez there is nowhere left to go but up. Literally that is.
Ward should soon pursue bigger fighters in a heavier weight class after cleaning out 168. Despite the fact that Ward was the first to dethrone the reigning champion, Chad Dawson, the 175 lb. division has some emerging stars, primarily Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev.
Stevenson and Kovalev might meet up sometime next year, if fans get their wish and negotiations go as planned. This would give Ward ample time to take another fight in the 168 pound division and then move up to face more challenging opponents at light heavyweight.
As we have already seen Ward vs. Froch, and Froch will likely take a rematch with George Groves after his controversial TKO stoppage win, a rematch is off the table there. But if Ward stays at super middleweight for a bit longer, he’ll be able to see if Gennady Golovkin will move up to 168 or be willing to meet at a catch weight for a super fight.
In a fan’s dream world, GGG would fight Ward in the fall, and if Ward prevails he can move up and fight the winner of the Stevenson vs. Kovalev match in early 2015, in another super fight.
Of course, in the contemporary world of boxing, where the promotional issues often negate the best fights, chances are these fights won’t happen quickly or easily. If there is some hope with these fights, it is that all these fighters are all currently HBO boxers, thus making these potential fights fall somewhere in the realm of possibility.
One other name that would be noteworthy, and one that fans would enjoy seeing, is Bernard Hopkins. Hopkins is a household name and would provide Ward with the opportunity needed to propel his name into pay-per-view fights. A win for Ward could signal his ascent to that type of marketability. However, Hopkins has been insistent that he would never fight a “protégé” such as Ward.Not to mention that a Ward vs. Hopkins clash could be quite ugly.
Ward, despite being considered the number two fighter in the world, has limited appeal to fans or the mainstream sports world. In part, this can be attributed to his technical style, although he’s always willing to get inside and mix it up, and land big shots when possible. Ward though, unlike his fellow master craftsman Floyd Mayweather, is not entertaining enough away from the ring to sell fights, it seems.
Therefore the two most intriguing opponents that fans would want to see fight Ward would be GGG or the Stevenson-Kovalev winner. Will Ward’s heavier weight and technical style be enough to fend off the GGG’s onslaught of power punches? Can Ward put an end to “Superman” Stevenson’s tremendous run and become his kryptonite, or Krush the Krusher with his superior skill?
If the fans get what they want, we can hopefully begin finding out for sure in 2014.