Lem Satterfield

Trainer confirms: Ward’s eye cut during sparring

WBA super middleweight titleholder Andre Ward has received seven stitches to repair a cut over his right eye, an injury he sustained during sparring on Thursday as he prepared to face WBC counterpart Carl Froch for the Super Six World Boxing Classic final bout on Oct. 29.

Ward’s trainer, Virgil Hunter, said the fighter left his training camp in Oakland, Calif., and was flown with promoter Dan Goossen to Los Angeles, where he was treated by “one of the best plastic surgeons” and released.

It is unclear whether or not the fight will be affected, though Ward seemed to imply that it would while confirming the injury on Twitter.

“Bad News: I sustained a cut in sparring a few hours ago,” wrote Ward. “Flew to LA to see the Doc. I got 7 stitches. I will let you know the new date soon.”

During an interview with RingTV.com on Friday morning, Hunter called the sparring incident “the freakiest thing I’ve ever seen.”

“We were sparring, and then the next thing I know, Brandon Gonzalez, one of the sparring partners, says, ‘Man, you’re bleeding.’ Andre walks toward me. I thought that he had gotten a scratch on the bridge on his nose as he came toward me. But once I took the towel and wiped him off and saw the cut, I’m like ‘How on earth did you get that?,” said Hunter.

“I was wondering how it got there. He had the face guard on so you don’t get cut. We had taken all of the necessary precautions. We had put Vaseline on the face and had the head gear on and the whole bit. There didn’t seem to be a punch. Nothing.  Andre was wearing the best head gear that he could get. No ridges on it. It’s just incredible. It just seemed like the cut came out of nowhere.”

Hunter said that he examined the head gear Ward was wearing and found nothing wrong with it.

“I expected to see some kind of defect in the head gear like a metal ridge sticking out or something, but there was absolutely nothing. It’s the same head gear that we’ve been using for the last year and a half,” said Hunter.

“It would be different if you actually saw something or felt something. How do you get a reaction out of that? How this happened escapes me.  It’s the freakiest thing that I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s just unbelievable.”

Hunter said the surgeon who worked on Ward was the same who “stitched up Vitali Klitschko” following his loss to Lennox Lewis.

“They left this afternoon at about 5:20 p.m. We wanted to make sure that if Andre was going to get stitched, that he was going to get stitched by the best,” said Hunter, who could not speculate on the length of Ward’s recovery or the status of the fight.

“I know that he was in the best hands as far as getting the stitches done. We’re going to take him back next week to get the stitches out so that the doctor can make a determination. I believe in my heart that the fight will be done this year.”

Hunter said that all of the action was filmed by a camera crew from Showtime.

“Showtime went with him to Los Angeles, and Showtime was in the gym when it happened,” said Hunter. “All of the cameras where in there. So that should be part of Fight Camp 360.”


Lem Satterfield can be reached at lem.satterfield@gmail.com


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