"Hey Dan Goossen, it's Mike Woods, in Brooklyn, I'm calling because I know you promote the guy who a few people think might be the most talented fighter on the planet, and I'm wondering when he's going to fight again," I said to Dan Goossen on Friday afternoon.
"I don't think I might, I know I do, Michael," said the promoter. "And we're just getting into that. Sometime late summer."
Andre Ward had whipped up legit buzz in his last outing, taking apart Chad Dawson, making Chad look bad with some bad-ass attitude, some vicious intentions, and notching a TKO10 victory. Yes, count me among the folks who weren't that enthused with a January date with Kelly Pavlik, who I expected to get chopped up by the pugilist specialist. That bout didn't go down, because the 29-year-old Ward tore up his right shoulder in late December, ahead of the Jan. 26 Pavlik bout. He had surgery on Jan. 4 and his rehab has been progressing nicely, the promoter told TSS. "I would say August is the target."
And will he be thrown in with a A grade guy, or someone of a lesser ilk?
"Andre has always taken on all the challenges but it's my job to be cognizant that he just had major surgery. We could look for gangbusters first thing out of the box or someone more reflective of Andre's abilities where he's coming from."
The Dawson fight went down last September, so that would be almost a full year away from the ring; expect the WBC and WBA 168 champ Ward to be tested by a top 25 type before he seeks to lock down bigger prey.
Bigger prey like...maybe...Bernard Hopkins? "He's open to fighting Hopkins," Goossen said. "He's open to fighting anyone. He'd have no problem fighting another world champion." Goossen said that it would make sense to see how the Froch-Kessler rematch goes down, and then the Pascal-Bute tussle. "I think the perfect scenario would be let the winners fight, and that winner has earned the right to get in the ring with Andre. If they went through that gauntlet, they'd earn that right, they'd be a threat. It would be a mini version of the Super Six."
I'm not certain how it'd work, who'd fight at 168, who at 175, or who'd look for a catchweight, in that scenario. Goossen, who has run many a rodeo in his time, noted that we've all been reminded recently that the deck can get shuffled in a flash, and new faces can emerge and tantalize fight fans. Case in point? "Everyone was down on Tim Bradley, now he's one of the greatest things going...it's always changing. "And Robert Stieglitz took apart Arthur Abraham, people didn't expect that to happen. Stieglitz, we're open to everything. Andre has said to me, there's only one requirement, make sure they got a ring there. And we'd be happy to test Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., too."
I confess I liked the buzzsaw action of Stieglitz against Abraham on March 23; I'd be fine with Ward (26-0 with 14 KOs) heading to Germany and trying to collect Stieglitz' WBO super middle belt.
Readers, you always do a good job doing keyboard matchmaking. Who do you want to see Ward fight in the next few fights?