In the super middleweight division, the name Andre Ward is synonymous with defensive genius and an undefeated professional fighter with lots of heart and ability.
Sadly, these past few years that name has been more predominant in social media than in the headlines of boxing news magazines.
Let’s look back at what has happened.
Ward has been woefully inactive over the past four years since winning Showtime’s Super Six Tournament due to constant injuries and management disputes.
There are many in the sport of boxing that believe that even though he beat four world champions on the way to capturing the Super Six title as a super middleweight, this inactivity is killing his career.
In 2015, Ward was forced to pull out of his debut fight as a light heavyweight in Las Vegas on November 21 because of injury. This is a troubling turn of events for Ward, who has been trying to come back as the dominant fighter he once was before he became more popular for his social media antics than his accomplishments in the ring.
An extended contractual dispute with his late promoter Dan Goossen has limited Oakland’s Ward to just three fights since 2011.
The WBA’s “super” 168 pound champion was set to make his debut at 175 pounds in the co-feature at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas alongside Miguel Cotto’s WBC middleweight title bout with Saul Alvarez, but that appearance was ruled out because of inflammation and pain in his right knee.
This was to be Ward’s first bout under his new multi-fight deal with HBO.
Ward is scheduled to appear on March 26, 2016 at Oakland’s Oracle Arena and although an opponent had not been confirmed, Colombia’s Alexander Brand is the most likely candidate.
We all hope to see Ward in the ring with either middleweight ruler Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, or the dominant pair of light heavyweight champions, Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson, but I fear those fights might be wishful thinking at this point.
Andre Ward is currently ranked fourth in the leading media pound-for-pound rankings.