WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward (27-0, 14 KOs) hasn’t seen action since last November when he beat Edwin Rodriguez by a 12 round unanimous decision in a fight that was televised by HBO. Since then, Ward has been sitting out of action in part due to him being wrapped up in a lawsuit with his promoter.
Ward says he still wants to fight, but there aren’t any top fighters that are showing him any interest. Ward is probably going to need to be open to moving up to 175, even if it’s for a short period of time, to try and get a fight against WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev.
Ward can always move back down to 168 after he takes the fight. However, Ward is resistant to taking on Kovalev because he doesn’t see it as a pay-per-view worthy fight. He’s right about that, because he doesn’t have the popularity right now for that to be a big PPV type of event. But by fighting Kovalev and proving himself to be better than him, Ward would be increasing his popularity tenfold.
For Ward to become popular, he’s going to need to take some risks by facing guys in fights that don’t bring him a lot of money. It’s called paying your dues. Ward, whether he wants to accept it or not, hasn’t beaten enough high level opponents to pick up a huge fan base yet. He needs more big level victories of this kind for him to win over a lot of fans because right now his popularity isn’t high enough for him to be a big star.
Ward already basically cleaned out the 168 pound division in the Super Six tournament when he beat Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham and Mikkel Kessler. He also beat Sakio Bika, who is now the WBC 168 pound champion. The top contenders in the division right now, James DeGale and George Groves, haven’t shown the desire to get into the ring with Ward. So while he wants to get a big fight against one of the top guys in his own division, it’s simply not happening for lack of interest on the part of his potential opponents.