We may finally see Andre Ward fight again very soon.
Ward Joins Nation
Ring lineal middleweight champion Andre Ward has signed with Roc Nation, the promotional outfit owned by music mogul Jay-Z, after “working out” and agreement to part ways with Goosen Promotions. David Iskowitch, Chief Operating Officer of Roc Nation Sports’ boxing division, announced the news hours before the company will promote its first fight card on Friday at the Madison Square Garden in New York. Iskowitch called Ward’s signing a “game-changer” for the upstart promotions firm and confirmed that Ward will be at ringside on Friday’s boxing event at the MSG for the formal announcement.
Pound for Pound Boxer
The undefeated Ward ( 27-0 with 14 knockouts) rose to boxing prominence after his dominating victory in the 2011 Super Six World Boxing classic where he posted lopsided wins over the likes of Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham and Carl Froch. By winning the tournament, Ward unified the WBA (super), WBC and Ring Super middleweight belts and established himself as the top fighter in the weight class. He leapfrogged to the #2 spot in most boxing Pound for Pound rankings after his tour de force performance against then-Ring light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson in September 2012 where he scored a 10th round TKO win. Then his legal woes began.
Ward had been promoted by the late Dan Goosen since coming through with a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics. But that relationship soured and Ward attempted at least four times in the last three years to break out of that contract using several arguments. Ward frustratingly lost all of those battles and after spending most of his prime years fighting lawsuits instead of boxers, it seemed that Ward was never going to see boxing’s light of day once again. But after Goosen’s untimely death last September, the new management of Goosen Promotions finally “decided to close that chapter and move forward”, paving the way for Ward’s transfer to Roc Nation.
Rocking the Nation
Ward’s signing came barely a day after Roc Nation finalized a deal to purchase Gary Shaw Promotions in a merger that will make Gary Shaw the head of Roc Nation’s boxing division. The move immediately gives Roc Nation a stable of around 20 fighters and a promoter in Gary Shaw who has tons of experience in getting marquee fighters and making big fights. With Shaw’s stable and Ward as it’s face, Roc Nation is poised to challenge the big boxing promotions in the United States.
Roc Nation doesn’t have immediate plans for Ward, at least not yet. But this signing is a breath of fresh air to all boxing fans who have been deprived of watching one of the sport’s best talents because of contract problems. Ward will turn 31 on February 22 and he is not getting any younger. After wasting two years of his career on the sidelines, it’s time to make up for lost ground. The likes of Carl Froch, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., James DeGale, Arthur Abraham and George Groves are waiting for him. Middleweights like Gennady Golovkin, Miguel Cotto and even Peter Quillin should also make interesting fights for Ward. But whoever he fights next is only secondary, the world awaits his return and hopes that he rocks the nation again.