Andre Ward Face Alexander Brand – In October of 2015 Andre Ward signed a 3-fight contract with HBO, which immediately scheduled Ward to face Alexander Brand of Colombia on the undercard of the Saul Alvarez versus Miguel Cotto pay-per-view. The match was cancelled due to a Ward knee injury, and it looked like the Brand fight would go by the wayside.
Earlier this week news came that the match has been revived and it will serve as the main event of an August 6th HBO Boxing card at the Oracle Arena in Oakland.
The announcement follows last week’s confirmation that Andre Ward will be facing Sergey Kovalev on November 19th in Las Vegas. But rather than put the Kovalev fight at risk, the announcement of the Brand fight confirms that Ward is very focused on the task at hand.
Prior to signing with HBO, Ward was at a crossroads in his career. But he signed a contract with a new promoter in Roc Nation sports and initiated a move up in weight class to light heavyweight. The three fight deal with HBO was a sign that Ward was ready to return to regular activity. The idea for Ward was to get two fights in at 175 pounds and step into the Kovalev fight for the third and final fight of the HBO deal. The November injury seemed to cast part of Ward’s plan to doubt.
Ward recovered from the knee ailment and returned on March 26th, winning a unanimous decision over Cuba’s undefeated Sullivan Barrera.
Kovalev fought Canada’s Jean Pascal on January 30th of this year, and he too wanted to stay busy. Kovalev is scheduled to face Isaac Chilemba in a fight set for Ekaterinburg, Russia on July 11th. When Kovalev-Ward was announced for November, many assumed Ward would not follow suit because of the short timeframe.
Despite the risk of taking a loss, the fight makes sense for Ward. It is another payday and another fight he gets under his belt in his hometown. More importantly, it makes the Kovalev fight the last match on Ward’s HBO contract. Should Ward beat Kovalev, he would be in a strong negotiating position for his next contract, which is what he and Roc Nation want.
Brand is 25-1 overall, with the lone loss of his career coming at the hands of current 168 lb world titleholder Badou Jack in an eight rounder, via split decision. Brand has long campaigned at super middleweight and he too is moving up to light heavyweight.
Andre Ward Face Alexander Brand