Always a gentleman and boxing statesman, Andre “S.O.G.” Ward stepped up in weight classes to Light Heavyweight his last two outings with the most recent against Sullivan Barrera.
The result was a stunned Barrera down in round 3 en route to a unanimous decision victory in front of Ward’s hometown fans in Oakland’s Oracle Arena.
However, the decision to vacate his WBA Super Middleweight belt, although an inevitability based on Ward’s boxing ambition, was aided by the refusal of four-time World Middleweight champion, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin to fight him.
“If two guys want to fight, you go through the process to make the fight, you call my people, I call your people,” said Ward. “We did that. We made him an offer to fight he refused to fight. He turned it down and I wish him nothing but the best. But me going up in weight changes the landscape. It's just not going to work.”
Ward (29-0) is helping Amir Khan get ready this weekend for his step up in weight classes to Middleweight to challenge Saul “Canelo” Alvarez for his WBC World Middleweight belt. As longtime trainer Virgil Hunter and Ward prime Khan for a potential long-term career at Middleweight, Ward had some revelations about the fight that the fans want but will now never come into fruition.
“It's clear to me that Golovkin doesn’t want to fight," said Ward. "Well, we call him ‘Little G.’ Little G doesn’t want to fight and they do a good game, they do a lot of talking from his side and that’s cool but the way I was raised in the boxing game and the way I came up, it's very simple.”
Ward was noticeably absent for almost two years back in 2013 due to issues with former promoter, the late Dan Goossen. Now signed with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports and back in action, Ward is also helping shape the camps of Andre Berto and Khan, who all made the journey to the Bay for some of that magic.
“I have been a part of [Khan's] camp, he looks tremendous," said Ward. "He seems to be at a good space mentally and he’s ready. I think he’s going to do very well in this fight and a great chance to win the Middleweight title, which is a tremendous feat. I’m in his corner obviously and I’m really excited about this for him. It’s a great opportunity.”
Ward is looking to fight in the summer before a mandatory fight against Kovalev for the IBF Light Heavyweight belt November 19th. However, it is clear that a lack in opponents, notably Triple G, factored heavily in Ward's decision to vacate the Super Middleweight ranks earlier than planned.
“I’m too big and even if he came up to Super Middleweight, I just don’t see that fight happening," said Ward. "And its unfortunate because that would have been a tremendous fight for the fans and everyone wanted to see it. But he didn’t want to step up and take the fight.”