By Sean Crose
Andre Ward has forfeited his WBA super middleweight title after holding the belt for nearly six years. Unlike Guillermo Rigondeaux, who had his title revoked by the WBA after going nearly 12 months without a title bout, Ward gave up his belt voluntarily even though he had gone roughly a full two years without making a defense. “I won the WBA belt for my first world title in 2009,” Ward stated, “and have defended it six times.” Ward then made it clear that he was indeed moving on. “I’m looking forward to moving up,” he added, “and hopefully winning the WBA light heavyweight belt.”
That belt is currently held by Russian Sergey Kovalev, one of the most feared fighters in the entire sport. Indeed, WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson has long been rumored to have been avoiding a unification bout with Kovalev entirely.
According to reports, however, Ward is now in a three fight contract with Home Box Office which is expected to culminate in a superfight between himself and Kovalev next year. That being said, Ward disappointed some fans and analysts on Twitter by telling Michele Beadle of HBOs The Fight Game that he’s in no hurry to face the WBA champ.
“My question,” he asked Beadle, “is what’s the rush?”
Ward then went on to explain that Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather took years to meet in the ring. “Regardless of how people feel about the actual fight,” he said, “the monetary outcome and the numbers that that fight did, it shattered the box office ratings.”
Ward’s response to those who might claim he’s dragging his heels?
“That’s easy for people to say who aren’t getting hit.”
It was openly stated afterward by numerous people that, unlike most of his critics, Ward is a professional boxer whose job, at least in part, requires getting punched. Indeed, Jim Lampley, the host of The Fight Game, appeared to be openly irked at the highly regarded fighter for his inactivity.
Ward was supposed to fight on the undercard of the Canelo Alvarez-Miguel Cotto bout l