It’s been nearly a year since the last time Andre Ward stepped in the ring. The last time it took nine months between fights for the reigning WBA (Super) Super middleweight champion because he wanted to rest from the Super Six tournament. This time, it’s simply about not being able to find an opponent.
Ward wants to become a bigger name, not just a fighter who is recognized for his exceptional defensive skills, leading him to a 26-0 record, which includes beating everyone worth fighting in his division, with his most recent wins being over Arthur Abraham, Carl Froch (both in 2011) and Chad Dawson (2012).
Dawson went down from Light Heavyweight to fight Ward, but was thoroughly beaten through 10 rounds before asking the referee to stop the fight. Ward is left with no one to fight in his division, or at least not anyone HBO might be interested in.
Ward wants to start making big money for his skills, but the Olympic Gold Medalist (Athens, Light Heavyweight) just can’t seem to bring HBO someone they’re interested in promoting. Dimitri Sartison was the first name he offered HBO, but the former Super Middleweight champion wasn’t good enough for them.
Next up was Edwin Rodriguez, an undefeated Dominican boxer who is still waiting for his shot at a meaningful ring, but because his promoter is Al Haymon, and HBO don’t work with Haymon fighters, that didn’t happen as well.
The only fighter that might be worth taking on and isn’t already booked might be Andre Dirrell, but the two are friends, and Dirrell managed to get out of the last time the two were supposed to fight each other in the Super Six. Carl Froch already has a fight scheduled, Robert Stieglitz simply isn’t interested.
Even when looking down at the Middleweight division, there’s no one for him to fight. Sergio Martinez is probably planning on dropping down to 156 or maybe even 154 to take on the winner of the Mayweather-Canelo fight, Julio Cesar Chavez has a fight and so does Gennady Golovkin.
Ward is lined up to fight in November, but time is running out to find someone who’ll take him on and HBO will back the deal. It doesn’t seem likely like Ward will step up to the Light Heavyweight divisions all of a sudden, even though that might be the way of thinking in general and for the future. Right now he’s stuck on a problem of being too good and yet not attractive enough in terms of fighting style to carry a PPV fight against no-name fighters.