In Defense Of Andre Ward – Grown Up
By: Sean Crose
I know, I know, we’re all supposed to hate Andre Ward. He’s not exciting, after all. What’s more, he doesn’t fight nearly as much as he should (as least he hasn’t until recently). Perhaps worse still, he’s openly religious and takes the whole “appearing humble” thing seriously. What a loser. Give us videos of Floyd throwing money at a bunch of twerking strippers. Or of UFC star Conor McGregor gloating essentially for the sake of gloating. After all, we want fighters who celebrate the Self above all else, am I right?
Well, no, I’m not.
Some people, though certainly not all, like fighters who have a degree of maturity about them. That doesn’t mean these individuals don’t like flash. Everyone likes flash. It’s just that they like something more than mere showiness. Muhammad Ali, after all, stood for something. Hell, so did Jack Johnson, for that matter. Can the same be said of Floyd…or even of his PR apprentice, McGregor? Of course not. Those guys appear to stand for themselves…and not much else.
This isn’t to say they’re bad men at heart. It’s simply to say their public images kind of suck…no matter how popular they may be. Which, of course, brings us back to Ward. There are those in this era of Kim and Kayne who undoubtedly believe any semblance of modesty is indicative of false modesty. Yet there are those who actually find Ward’s lack of swagger refreshing.
Count this author among their numbers.
Look, it’s obvious Ward is far from perfect – just like the rest of us. And the fact that Ward sticks to what he does best – winning – rather than gloating, speaks volumes. Not acting like Mayweather doesn’t equate to false modesty, as some bewilderingly seem to think. It just means Ward doesn’t have a desire to exert all his energies exalting his own awesomeness. Truth be told, he doesn’t have to. He’s a grownup. Besides, Ward, in case you don’t know, is also an amazing fighter. A 30-0 record, a super six championship, and appearances on numerous pound for pound lists can attest to that fact.
And, should Ward best the terrifying Sergey Kovalev this weekend in their battle for light heavyweight supremacy (sorry, Adonis, you’ve taken all the oomph out of your own lineal championship), he will unquestionably be regarded as one of the greats. Of course, there’s no guarantee Ward will pull off such a career defying win. Kovalev is an absolute device of destruction in the ring. Like Ward, he’s undefeated, but he can also take an opponent out with a mere jab – and has boxing skills which, believe it or not, might come close to matching his power.
Needless to say, some will smile in satisfaction if they end up seeing Ward splattered on a Las Vegas canvas this weekend. Fair enough. Boxing is a tough sport, after all, and no one watches it for willowy flights of fancy. In other words, Ward knows full well what he’s getting himself into. Win, lose or draw, however, you won’t see the guy peacocking around after the fight (and, in fairness, the same can most likely be said for Kovalev, who is basically too much of an all-around bad ass to engage in such silliness).
Some may find that lack of showmanship boring. Some may find it hypocritical – again, cynics will always be cynical. Yet others will actually be happy to see a well known individual acting over the age of seventeen. Seriously, guys like Mayweather, McGregor, and others behave like kids sometimes. And in a word of grownup problems, it’s nice to see the grownups take center stage every once in a while.