WHO CAN CHALLENGE ANDRE WARD?

November 19th, 2013 By Jason B. Nava

Andre Ward-Best At 168, Best In World?

Andre Ward-Best At 168, Best In World?

ANDRE WARD “HEAD & SHOULDERS” ABOVE EVERYBODY…EVEN FLOYD?

San Francisco, CA- This past Saturday evening undisputed World champion Andre Ward completely outclassed Edwin Rodriguez in a battle of undefeated super middleweights. It didn’t matter that Ward was coming off a 14 month layoff and going up against a fresh opponent who had fought three times within that span. Nor did it matter that Rodriguez failed to make the 168 pound weight limit and carried a size advantage going into the ring with the “Son of God”. Ward put on a brilliant boxing masterpiece and sustained his status as the pound for pound number two fighter in the world behind Floyd Mayweather.

ANDRE NEEDS SOMETHING TO SEPARATE HIMSELF FROM FLOYD

But the questions are being begged now: what can the 2004 Olympic Gold medalist do from here to further enhance his legacy? Can he go from being merely a well known fighter to a superstar? Will he ever reign supreme in the unofficial and controversial yet wonder inducing pound for pound rankings? Or will he always be in the backseat as long as Floyd Mayweather is active?

WARD HAS KNOCKED OVER EVERY BOWLING PIN AT 168

Andre Ward has cleaned out the super middleweight division like no one else has done to their weight class in a long time. There is simply no one left for him to fight. Ward’s team has spoken of a rematch with Carl Froch but the brash Brit could make much more money fighting on the other side of the pond against lesser opposition. A fight with WBA 160 lb. guy Gennady Golovkin is possible down the line but the bad ass from Kazakhstan is busy chasing Sergio Martinez in his attempt to be the “real” middleweight champ. There is the possibility that George Groves upsets Froch in their bout this Saturday but a win over the young and unproven Groves would do little to increase Ward’s standing in the eyes of the public.

WANT TO SEE J.C. CHAVEZ JR. GET SOME?


A bout with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr has been brought up to both fighters before and it seems like something both they and their respective promoters are open to. (Why wouldn’t Top Rank want to cash out on the spoiled and undisciplined Mexican brat?) This could very well happen if Chavez gets past Bryan Vera in their upcoming rematch. This could be a good option for the Oakland native as Chavez presents the ideal low-risk/high reward situation. Chavez presents a low threat but a bout with him would bring massive exposure. In the long run though, it adds very little to Ward’s overall legacy to me.

So which direction can Ward go in order to reach the pinnacles of greatness he seems destined for?

The answer may be for him to seek out a new challenge by seeking out a new division to compete in. Seven pounds north of the division in which the “Son of God” has fought throughout his entire professional career lies a terrain he has yet to travel and a kingdom he has yet to conquer. Although he lacks a certain pop in his punches, Ward is known for his immense physical strength but at Light Heavyweight he would be at a disadvantage in this department for the first time.

A “SON OF GOD” VS. FORMER PIMP HOEDOWN?

At the top of the 175 lb. light heavyweight class sits once-licked Adonis Stevenson, the power punching former pimp from Canada. Just beneath him is the probably more destructive Russian and undefeated WBO champ Sergey Kovalev. Jean Pascal will be facing off with Lucian Bute in an All-Canada clash and the victor will emerge with some clout. And of course, lurking in the backdrop of this division still with a chip on his shoulder, always looking for a new challenge is the living legend, never-aging, mentor of Ward’s: Bernard Hopkins.

MANY LEGENDARY FIGHTERS HAVE MOVED UP

Great fighters take great chances. Roberto Duran, Manny Pacquiao, Evander Holyfield, Bernard Hopkins, and both “Sugar Rays” are just a few examples of guys who dominated their divisions with nothing left to prove but moved up weight classes in pursuit of greatness in the form of new and heavier challenges. If Ward can clean out yet another division he could seal his name in the history books, possibly become the modern pound for pound king, and best of his time.

Maybe even greater than the guy named Mayweather.

Jason B. Nava

COMMENTS

  1. He has to move up to get a challenge. Please don’t mention Gennady he has done nothing to make me think he stands a chance against SOG.

    Mbuyiseli on November 20th, 2013 at 4:47 AM
  2. U started well and I was agreeing with u but towards the end u must have smoked something, How can u say or insinuate that Andre may even be greater than Floyd. Who has Andre fought?. Floyd has fought world champions and beaten them all, Andre has been injured for quite a while and who is Rodriguez? Its too early to compare Andre and Floyd man. Floyd has dominated everyone he fought, and u might have a short memory but i think u must remember that Andre was allmost stopped by a journeyman by the name Darnell Boone. Floyd has fought better competition and has never been close to being knocked down or knocked down.

    U might be new to boxing, or u just don’t like Floyd, but cream always comes to the top man. Floyd is head and shoulders above the rest.

    dave on November 20th, 2013 at 5:48 AM
  3. What divisions has Pac actually dominated?

    PJ on November 20th, 2013 at 8:29 AM
  4. Great points!..ward vs Hopkins, kovalev, or Stevenson would all be interesting…taking on triple g would be,too…..

    1200 Techs on November 20th, 2013 at 8:49 AM
  5. Here is a question, who would win Ward or an in his prime Roy Jones Jr.? My money is on RJJ every day of the week. Ward is very good but has yet to prove he is great. Also a fight with Chavez would be a waste of time. Chavez is more of a media creation than a fighter. I could see twelve rounds of running and hugging.

    jeff lowery on November 20th, 2013 at 1:24 PM
  6. Floyd’s the best but he’s old and past his prime. He still gets by with ring IQ and great reflexes, but lets be real here. He is #1 because of his body of work. At this current moment i think Ward is the better fighter pound for pound, but it’s hard to overtake Floyd since he’s never lost and moved up multiple weight classes, even if there are some misses along the way.But in current form, Ward is better from a pound for pound sense. Beating guys like Alvarez didn’t mean much to me because I knew he had no shot, and beating Guerrero wasn’t much either. Ward beat Rodriguez who was a decent contender, and did it so impressively and after a 14 month layoff. I mean he put a beating on him. Floyd does just enough to win the rounds without taking risks. Ward is more of a risk taker in there and appears to put more hurt on his opponents, even though he isn’t a big puncher either.

    KP on November 20th, 2013 at 1:35 PM
  7. Dave- Definitely not new to boxing my friend. I was born into this sport. I think Floyd is one of the top 20 greatest of all time and have written an article here stating so. And if you knew how to read you would see that I was comparing Andre Ward to Floyd Mayweather in a current pound for pound sense, not all-time. It’s way too early for all-time talk.

    KP- I agree 100%. And although I do think highly of Floyd’s body of work I think there were a lot of important fights that didn’t take place, whether through his doing or not, that could have raised his standing. Give me one future Hall of Famer that he’s beaten while in their prime, besides Marquez (who was severely outsized) and Gatti (who got in out of sentiment).

    jason nava on November 20th, 2013 at 9:25 PM
  8. KP! Please stop hating on Floyd .let’s talk about ward being better then Floyd maybe 8 yrs from now. Even the casual boxing fan knew that Rodriguez didn’t have a chance in hell against ward. Nobody hadn’t even heard of dat guy till last sat. D-rod wasn’t nothing more then a ,showcase,tune-up fight for ward. Stop with the BS KP.

    dizzj on November 20th, 2013 at 9:57 PM
  9. Ward is limited as far as how many divisions he can move up because of his lack of punching power. Highest he can go is 175 lbs.

    emilio on November 21st, 2013 at 12:53 AM
  10. Castillo was in his prime at the time. Is he not gonna be a HOF fighter? He comes pretty close if not. Then there was Corrales. He was in his prime. All this weight drained and jail stuff is a weak excuse. If he was weight drained that is on him because when he got out of jail he went back to that same weight class for a bit. Not sure if Hatton will be in the HOF, not good enough body of work. Only time will tell if Canelo makes it. But it didn’t look like he was playing it safe with Canelo. He pressed the action. I thought Canelo had a better chance at beating Floyd that Rodriguez did against Ward. And lets not forget Floyd has come back from long layoffs to beat a few fighters. But I like Wards body of work, he has cleared out the 168lb division. I think he can clear the 175lb division out also. Ward is a future HOF already and I think he will also be a great. If he doesn’t retired to early.

    PJ on November 21st, 2013 at 7:26 AM
  11. If Floyd is past his prime, one can only imagine how good the guy is then, to so thoroughly dominate an in prime, young, strong and universally recognized as a very good boxer in Canelo, which brings neutral observers to conclude that he’s head and shoulder above everybody else. When have you ever seen Floyd almost KOd by a journeyman like Ward was (Darnell Boone)? So beating guys like Alvarez, again, from a P4P perspective, a far better fighter than Rodriguez, don’t do much for his standing, but beating Eduino does a lot for Ward’s standing. Kevin, right there you’re admitting that Floyd is a better fighter: you’re implying that Floyd is SO good that you knew that he could beat Alvarez while admitting that Ward’s fight with Eduino, a very ordinaire fighter was a difficult one for Ward, and if so how can you say that Ward is a better fighter P4P wise that Floyd? Hate much?

    Regarding Marquez being “severely” outweighed, I didn’t know that 2 pounds was considered “severely bigger”. How about Floyd being the much smaller fighter by 15-25 pounds on fight night (we know that internet rumors place Floyd at 170lb against Marquez even though the guy is never above 150)? I’ve read here sarcastic comments about Floyd being afraid of facing MW, nobody is asking Ward to fight Cruiserweights, why? Same difference in weight compared to their first fights. Heck, nobody is even asking him to fight LHs. Let me tell you this much, the day somebody starts throwing uppercuts while Ward is coming in, he’s cooked. He’s very good, with excellent reflexes, but his defense is very porous.

    todaline on November 21st, 2013 at 7:33 AM
  12. Ward is a real throwback to past generations where boxers posessed great ring generalship. He is similar to Monzon, Griffith and others of the 1960 – 70 period. He is very methodical and not too exciting. He should move up to 175 and face Stevenson and Kovalev. Kovalev probably has best shot of being competitive with SOG.

    Mike on November 21st, 2013 at 7:55 AM
  13. Emilio, Ward started at 168 and he can only go to 175? Why don’t you guys use that same logic and say since Floyd started at 130, he can only go to 135-140 instead of asking him (and insulting the guy for not doing it) to fight 160-175 guys?

    todaline on November 21st, 2013 at 9:37 AM
  14. I really like Ward. I think he is exactly the kind of guy boxing needs. He shows respect, class and takes on the best opponents at all times. That being said, I think some people underrate Floyd. The guy has just beaten so many great opponents that when he takes on a clear top 3 opponent in his division people criticize him for it. A lot of that has to do with his off-putting “Money May” persona he developed to make himself a bigger draw. P4p you have to rank him above Ward right now. Even in terms of ability. Of course I want to say my native california fighter Ward beats him skill for skill. But I can’t if I’m honest with myself. Ward may end up surpassing him one day, but as it stands now, I think Floyd has the better overall defense, better stamina (ward seems to fade a bit down the stretch. Never seen Floyd fade), and more power in his ideal weight class. Floyd had a lot more KOs at lower weights, but now that he is fighting much bigger men instead of people his size, that KO percentage has dropped. I think they both have underrated power, but Floyd has a little more pop. Both are great fighters but Floyd has simply done more and is better p4p at this point

    Zak on November 22nd, 2013 at 7:21 AM
  15. Toda, your love for Floyd is so sickening that it clouds your logic! LOL. For real though, I said Floyd is #1 and yet you still go after me. Wards in his prime. Floyd is past his prime in my view. Alvarez was and is overrated. A name, but his best win was against Austin Trout, whose best win is an old Cotto. Floyd’s beaten some bigger names recently, not sure about them being better fighters. I guess I just prefer the way Ward fights. Maybe there is a bias there, but you got to love a guy that doesn’t punch all that hard that likes to come forward. That takes guts. Floyd’s safety first style is effective, but can get rather annoying, but he did show stretches of coming forward against Alvarez.

    KP on November 22nd, 2013 at 9:13 AM
  16. Reason why Ward fades late in fights or appears to is because he does more work. Floyd coasts in bouts and rarely throws more than one shot at a time and is always thinking defense.

    Kevin Perry on November 22nd, 2013 at 11:11 AM
  17. Kev, my love for Floyd is just as sickening as your hatred of the guy. Perfect universe, excessive positivity is balanced by excessive negativity. Yin ans yang. But seriously, man, let Ward DOMINATE for 17 years and we’ll talk. Are you trying to tell us that Rodriguez is better than Canelo? I understand we all have preferences, and what you call my love for Floyd is in fact my love of PURE boxing. You know Ward comes forward and grapples, and pushes BECAUSE he lacks a SOLID defense (and the chin to go with it). If he chose to box differently, or someone imposes a different strategy on him he’s done. DONE. So let’s have this conversation 8-10 years from now.

    todaline on November 22nd, 2013 at 3:54 PM
  18. Kevin, coasting in bouts require a lot of leg work and sound defensive skills. Well if the guy is past his prime, how can he be so good at this, and still fresh at the end of a fight? And for someone who throws one shot at a time how come he lands more and at a higher % than Ward who seemingly never stops throwing? Contradictions? I just need to understand how a boxer who’s ALWAYS thinking defense connects more and more often than a boxer who’s always thinking offense.

    todaline on November 22nd, 2013 at 4:03 PM
  19. Come on man, Just because I don’t worship the guy doesn’t mean I hate him. I try to put things in perspective.As for Canelo, he is a media creation who didn’t beat any really good fighters in their prime. Floyd is number one, but Ward appears to be closer to his prime than Floyd. Not sure why you’d think a 36 year old is closer to his prime than a 30 year-old. Your assumptions of Ward are unwarranted. When you can provide the evidence comeback on here. You could make the same case that Floyd has no chin because he choses to not engage in fights. It’s tough to have a real boxing debate with you when it comes to Floyd. I appreciate his skills and defense, but ALvarez and Rodriguez were about equals in my view. Neither had a shot, and Alvarez was being made out to be some superfighter he was not.Anyways, we can debate forever in regards to Floyd we will just never agree, because I just don’t hold him in the same regard, even though I think he’s a great fighter. Take care man.

    Kevin Perry on November 22nd, 2013 at 4:08 PM
  20. Kev, Ward was virtually knocked oud by a bum. A bum. Floyd was tagged by a proven puncher in Mosley, not once but three times. Where did he go? 10 seconds later he was walking Shane down, whereas Ward ran until his head and legs were back. And Zab, and Cotto, etc. That’s proof enough? I never said Floyd was in his prime, i just said he was NOT past it and yes technically Ward is closer to his prime than Floyd but the way he fights he won’t last as long and still be effective. And your view of Alvarez being equal to Rodriguez is skewed by your dislike of Floyd. Alvarez, while not all that is a far better fighter AND boxer than Eduino. And lastly, no, I do not worship the guy. Let’s put it this way: just because I defend an idea doesn’t mean that I worship practitoners of that idea. What it means is that I’m able to see, appreciate and defend the practitioner of said idea, because he’s the best at implementing the idea that I cherish. I don’t care for Floyd but I greatly appreciate his prowess in the ring. Eloquent enough?

    todaline on November 22nd, 2013 at 5:03 PM
  21. Kev for u to compare Alvarez and Rodriguez is not only laughable but has some stupidity in it. Rodriguez was and is a nobody, who didn’t even make weight and so unprofessional. I know in retrospect, u r saying Alvarez had no chance, but I think u were one of the people who was thinking that Floyd was going to lose. A lot of people were picking Alvarez saying Floyd has bitten more than he can chew.
    I have respect for people’s opinions but when people sink so low as to compare Alvarez to Rodriguez, I lose the ounze of respect I have for them. Kevin ur disrespect or hatred for Floyd is sickening, but the good thing is u r now one of the few people left, who has no objectivity and let their hatred of the persona of Floyd cloud them. Floyd is a fighter, and u have to separate him as a fighter and a good person. He might not be a good guy but he is a very good fighter, the best I have seen.
    As for Andre, until he starts taking random blood tests, I will not be won over. he has that Conte link and he is not implementing random tests in his fights. Whats there to hide Andre?

    dave on November 22nd, 2013 at 5:16 PM
  22. Oh Dave, man the guy took random testing for the Olympics, and wanted them for the Super Six Tourney and it got squashed.

    Pedro Fernandez on November 22nd, 2013 at 7:07 PM
  23. Let me tell you about Darnell Boone, he landed a clean shot, and when you fought him back then, you better pack your lunch. Ward got lazy, paid for it and hasn’t been hit since. And he just went through the top five of the division and Dawson too!

    Pedro Fernandez on November 22nd, 2013 at 7:10 PM
  24. Dave, if you listened or read any of my articles I always gave Alvarez no shot. As for todaline, we always disagree about the level of greatness of Floyd, however I got respect for you man. At least Todaline knows whats up with boxing. Even if we don’t agree all the time. By the way, Boone has been a tough out for everyone. He stopped Stevenson, and had a split with Kovalev. If my guy was a prospect, I’d keep him away from him.

    KP on November 23rd, 2013 at 12:57 AM
  25. Pedro, Dawson lost the fight on the weights, that fight should have been at light heavyweight. It reminds me of the Pacquio Delahoya fight.I give Andre credit for the Kessler and Froch fights, he was exceptional. But Floyd is at another level so higher than Andre will ever be. I only see Andre dominating super middleweight only, and I don’t see him dominating Light heavyweight, which makes him a one division champion, but he is Good.

    dave on November 23rd, 2013 at 5:25 AM
  26. Dave, the difference between Dawson and the Pac fight is that Dawson called Andre out and STIPULATED the terms at 68, while Pac IMPOSED weight draining on Oscar.Asa for Andre, my fear with him is that somebody will throw uppercuts when he’s coming in and it’ll be lights out as he’s shown us to have a beard not so great. He needs to work on his defense a bit more, as his defense is mainly his offense. If he ever gets penalized for holding so much, where he couldn’t do it, does he have enough defensive skills to offset the other guy’s attacks? That’s when, and only then that we’ll know if he can use a different style.

    todaline on November 23rd, 2013 at 7:38 AM
  27. Wrong todaline….Oscar said he’d fight Manny at 147 and said he would have no problem making the weight. You have to consider this too.Manny had never fought above 135. Many people were predicting a massacre. The speed and Oscar being well past his prime was the real issue, even if the weight was n issue also.

    KP on November 26th, 2013 at 7:59 AM

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