I’m getting the sense that maybe Andre Ward is bored.
His crew has been making noise recently, indicating that he’s in shape, ready to rock. Most of his fighting of late has been of the court-room/arbitration variety, as he attempts to wriggle free from his promotional deal with Dan Goossen. That wriggling inclination has made it so the 30-year-old Ward has been appearing in the ring quite infrequently, when paired with the shoulder injury which sidetracked him from a Kelly Pavlik fight early last year. He last gloved up on November 2013, easily handling Edwin Rodriguez. Who knows, maybe now he senses that his quest to switch promotional deals is keeping him off peoples’ radars to the point that he risks being almost forgotten in this what-have-ya-done-for me lately society…
Thus, perhaps that’s why his crew is pushing for Gennady Golovkin to tiptoe up to 168 and test out Ward.
I get the sense that isn’t in Team Golovkins’ plans for now or the near future. No, they’d prefer to test Miguel Cotto, or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., or Sam Soliman, who holds a middleweight crown, or maybe Peter Quillin if the Cold War thaw gets to the point where he could fight on HBO. A Golovkin-Ward scrap isn’t tantalizing to Team Golovkin, if you listen to promoter Tom Loeffler, who on Saturday night at MSG, post-fight, said that Ward’s money ask makes a fight against Triple G a no go. Ward would want A side money, and so would Gennady…though Gennady would accept sizeable B side money against someone who is a proven draw, a Cotto or a Chavez. Ward isn’t an arena draw, and isn’t a PPV guy…so, in Loefflers’ view, it makes the slicing of the pie too difficult to let alone contemplate, let alone hash out.
Now, more than some folk think Team Golovkin also isn’t keen on possibly losing his prized “0” to such a canny pugilist, like a Ward (27-0 with 14 KOs; fought once in 2012, once in 2013, not at all in 2014), someone who maybe could prove too technically skilled for a Golovkin. His technique, combined with the edge that emerges in making Golovkin go up eight pounds…yep, I think you see why even fight fans who’d like to see if Golovkin could solve such a puzzle understand the risk-reward to a Golovkin-Ward bout doesn’t make all that much sense for the grinning assassin.
To me, I think a Ward-Sergey Kovalev fight makes more sense. For starters, what is left to do for Ward at 168? Rinse and repeat and recycle against Carl Froch? No interest there…Lure Chavez to the table so Junior could get schooled against the punch and clinch wizardry of Ward? Think Junior would go for that? And we go back to, what’s the pot for that fight, how much would HBO put up for that, and how would it be distributed? I think Ward’s work is done at 168, and light heavy should be his next move. And that means Kovalev, first and foremost, as Ward has already made clear he wasn’t overly thrilled with a matchup against Bernard Hopkins, unless the money pile was so immense he couldn’t turn it down. Wouldn’t you like to see the grinder Kovalev, always intent on separating his foe from his senses, see if he could render Ward ready for a ten count? And wouldn’t it maybe be more likely that HBO could figure out acceptable terms, if they’re doing a deal with two studs of their stable, Kovalev and Ward?
I floated the idea of a Kovalev-Ward scrap to Egis Klimas, manager to Kovalev, who gloves up Saturday in Atlantic City, against Blake Caparello. Does he think Kovalev-Ward could be made? “Andre Ward already announced his plans,” Klimas said. “Staying at 168, saying there is no reason to move up. He’s looking always for some kind of excuses, saying if I beat Kovalev, who is next for me, there is nobody in that weight class….Then he said he would go, but said Kovalev is not a pay per view fighter. It’s just excuses after excuses. You’re not going to hear excuses from my side. Whatever comes, we take it.”
Klimas recalled that for his first 18 fights, Klimas paid for all Sergey’s fights himself. He had no promotional backing. And he said if he called Kovalev, and said there is a fight planned for next Saturday, he’d hop on it. No questions asked. No queries about weight, and stance, and experience of foe. No questions asked. Just, “What weight should I be?” and “Where is the fight?” All the other guys, who is mama, who is papa, was he an amateur champion?”
Point taken; Kovalev wants to test himself, against the best…to see if he is the best. Not cherry pick, and play manager/pugilist…But take on all comers, the best and the brighest, target the Goliaths and look to fell them. Props to him…let's hope some more of that attitude gets to be contagious, and we see a spell of best fighting the best fights get made for the second half of 2014.