A Saturday press conference is in the works for smack-talkers Adrien Broner and Paulie Malignaggi.
Q&A: Ward vows to rebound from adversity once again
Andre Ward on his shoulder injury: "I've still got many great years left in this sport. I'm just ready to get on the other side of this procedure and to get back to work."
Although Andre Ward has confirmed the cancelation of his scheduled March 2, HBO-televised defense against former undisputed middleweight titleholder Kelly Pavlik due to impending surgery to repair his injured right shoulder, the RING, WBA and WBC super middleweight champion has vowed to return as good as ever.
The clash with Pavlik (40-2, 34 knockouts) already had been rescheduled from Jan. 26 to Feb. 23 after Ward's promoter, Dan Goossen, had informed RingTV.com that Ward had only "tweaked his right shoulder in training," adding that "he had an MRI," and "there are no tears, no torn rotator cuff, no other major damage."
But the injury was discovered to have been worse, according to Ward, who informed RingTV.com exclusively on Thursday evening that he expects to be operated on as early as late next week.
"Everyone in our camp, you know, we wanted to start the year off with bang with the Pavlik fight. But obviously, that's not going to happen," said Ward.
"Even though it's a disappointment, everybody, for the most part, is okay moving forward with the procedure. We're ready to get involved with the physical therapist. We'll have some of the best people working with me, and I've still got many great years left in this sport."
Ward is coming off an HBO-televised 10th-round knockout of RING and WBC light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson in September, this, after having dethroned Carl Froch last December as WBC 168-pound beltholder by unanimous decision in the finals of Showtime's Super Six Super Middleweight Classic.
A 2004 Olympic gold medalist, Ward became the first man to stop Dawson, whom he floored during the third, fourth and 10th rounds. Ward fought through a broken left hand to defeat Froch and was later named Fighter of The Year for 2011 and the recipient of the Sugar Ray Robinson Trophy from the Boxing Writers' Association of America.
Ward has been here before, having had to postpone his fight with Froch from Oct. 29 of last year to Dec. 17 after he suffered a cut over his right eye.
Ward received seven stitches to repair the cut, an injury he sustained during sparring, part of an experience that is helpful as Ward tries to make a positive out of the most recent development and banks on the notion that there may be any number of options awaiting him when he returns.
"This is also a blessing in disguise, because I know that the nature of boxing. Guys are going to think that they're gaining ground, and there are going to be guys that people are talking up. They're going to be saying that this is a guys that Ward should fight," said Ward.
"So I think that when I get back, the super middleweight division, and, even possibly the light heavyweight division is going to be more appetizing. There could be some potential fights right on the table as soon as I come back. So it could be a good thing from that standpoint."
For example, former RING light heavyweight middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins could face undefeated IBF 175-pound beltholder Tavoris Cloud on March 9 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn pending approval from the IBF, according to Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer.
With a victory, Hopkins, who will turn 48 in January, would extend his own record as the oldest man to win a significant crown, a feat the Philadelphia native accomplished at the age of 46 with a unanimous decision over Jean Pascal for the WBC's light heavyweight belt in May of last year.
Other inviting targets might be 175-pound titleholders Beibut Shumenov of the WBA and Nathan Cleverly of the WBO, respectively, the latter of whom may be in line for a defense opposite Germany's Robin Krasniqi.
According to the the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet, a rematch between three-time 168-pound titlewinners Mikkel Kessler and Froch -- the latter of whom lost by unanimous decision to Kessler in April of 2010 -- is close for April, May or June, being considered for Froch's native England, and could offer $2 million for each fighter.
Kessler, of Denmark, scored his fifth straight win and his third consecutive stoppage victory in the third round on Dec. 8 over Ireland's Brian Magee, against whom Kessler won the WBA's 168-pound interim belt in Herning, Denmark.
Kessler, 33, returned to Herning for the first time since dethroning Froch as WBC beltholder in a bloody, all-out battle that was part of Showtime's Super Six World Boxing Classic.
Kessler's triumph over Froch helped him to rebound from losing his WBA belt by a one-sided, 11-round technical-decision loss to Ward in the first round of the Super Six in November of 2009, one whicch ended Kessler's streak of three straight stoppage wins since falling by unanimous decision to southpaw Joe Calzaghe in November of 2007.
The current IBF titleholder, Froch (30-2-1, 22 KOs ) is coming off last month's third-round stoppage of Philadelphia's Yusaf Mack before his hometown fans at Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England. In facing Mack, Froch returned to the venue where he dethroned previously unbeaten Lucian Bute by fifth-round knockout in May.
Below is Ward's entire Q&A interview.
Everyone in our camp, you know, we wanted to start the year off with bang with the Pavlik fight. But obviously, that's not going to happen.
Even though it's a disappointment, everybody, for the most part, is okay moving forward with the procedure. We're ready to get involved with the physical therapist.
We'll have some of the best people working with me, and I've still got many great years left in this sport. I'm just ready to get on the other side of this procedure and to get back to work.
RingTV.com: When and where do you expect to be operated on next week?
RingTV.com: Do you have a concept of what the prognosis is?
But as you mentioned, they're going to find out everything that they need to see when they actually go in. But it's not, thank God, a situation where it's my rotator cuff, or that's completely torn.
It's kind of like, it is what it is. I can still move the arm, and I can still do some things. But we're thinking long term.
I'll be 29 in February, so it's not something that I want to risk and to push for one fight. I want to be good for the rest of my career, and that's why we're moving forward.
RingTV.com: Did your experience with the eye injury prior to the Froch fight prepare you in any way for this, or are you still simply frustrated?
We still pulled through, and I believe that this situation is going to be no different. You know, people not only have to see you when things are going good, but they have to see you when things aren't going so good.
They need to see what your response is going to be. I just want to make sure that I respond in the right way to this adversity.
RingTV.com: Given what you were able to accomplish in overcoming the broken hand against Froch, which was suffered prior to the fight, was there a part of you who thought about going through with the bout regardless of the injury?
RingTV.com: Given the toughness that you showed in the decision to face Froch, do you think people are still inclined to question you?
RingTV.com: Any message for your fans?
RingTV.com: Will you be keeping an eye on the Kessler-Froch situation, as well as Bute and Pavlik and other developments in and around the division?
So I love boxing, and I'm going to be watching these fights. I'm definitely going to be watching what's going on in the division as well as what is going on around the division.
You're probably going to see me at a lot of these fights, including the Kessler-Froch fight. So, like I said, the public is going to see a lot of me. I'm going to be around the fight game a lot during this time off.
Again, this is also a blessing in disguise, because I know that the nature of boxing. Guys are going to think that they're gaining ground, and there are going to be guys that people are talking up.
They're going to be saying that this is a guys that Ward should fight. So I think that when I get back, the super middleweight division, and, even possibly the light heavyweight division is going to be more appetizing.
There could be some potential fights right on the table as soon as I come back. So it could be a good thing from that standpoint.
Photo by Tom Casino, Showtime
Photo courtesy of Andre Ward's Twitter account
Photo Credit: FIGHT CAMP 360°/SHOWTIME
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com