ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — RING No. 9-rated pound-for-pound fighter Andre Ward, of Oakland, Calif., basked in the glory of Saturday night’s post-fight press conference following his unanimous decision victory over Carl Froch, of England, at Boardwalk Hall.
As THE RING’s No. 1 and No. 2-rated fighters in their division, the triumph earned the 27-year-old Ward (25-0, 13 knockouts) THE RING’s vacant super middleweight crown, Showtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic Championship Cup and added the WBC belt owned by the 34-year-old Froch (28-2, 20 KOs) to the WBA crown Ward already owned.
In the wake of his accomplishment, Ward was greeted with questions about his future in general, and, specifucally those concerning a potential bout opposite 31-year-old Canadian-based RING No. 3-ranked IBF beltholder Lucian Bute (34-0, 24 KOs), or a rematch with RING No. 4-rated 32-year-old former four-time beltholder Mikkel Kessler (44-2, 33 KOs) of Denmark.
Ward dethroned Kessler as WBA beltholder in the tournament’s first round in November of 2009 before Kessler briefly held the WBC’s crown following an April decision over Froch.
Listening in the audience, however, was a fighter who feels as if he has earned his right to be considered for the Andre Ward sweepstakes, that being unbeaten Anthony Dirrell (24-0, 21 KOs).
The 27-year-old Dirrell is coming off a fourth-round stoppage of Canadian southpaw Renan St. Juste (23-3-1, 15 KOs) in a WBC elminator bout that made him that organization’s No. 1 contender to face Ward.
As tempted as he was to bring it up during the press conference, Dirrell simply congratulated Ward on a job well done, and kept the notion of a title fight opportunity to himself –for that time.
“This is Andre Ward’s time, and I don’t want to take anything away from him. But when the time comes, then it comes. I’m his WBC mandatory, and we want our shot at the world title,” Dirrell told RingTV.com.
“I’m the mandatory for the WBC, and I want my shot. It’s as simple as that. If Andre’s got it, then I want my shot. He needs to either give me my shot or vacate it, because I want it.”
Ward, for his part, did not discount Dirrell’s position in the mix.
“I know that Anthony is the mandatory, and we just have to sit down and see. You know, I’ve been there. When I beat Edison Miranda, I think that I was the No. 1 for Carl Froch’s belt. And then something happened and they switched it,” said Ward, who earned $900,000 against Froch’s $600,000.
“Anthony Dirrell is hungry, and I understand that, but we’ve got to see what makes sense. We’ve won the belt, and we just have to see. That’s nothing personal to him. I respect him and I respect him, but we just have to see. That’s obviously a potential matchup.”
Anthony Dirrell is the younger brother of 28-year-old, switch-hitting supermiddleweight contender, Andre Dirrell, (19-1, 13 KOs, who will return to the ring against 37-yeare-old southpaw Darryl Cunningham (24-2, 10 KOs) on the Showtime-televised Dec. 30 card that also features the comeback of former undisputed middleweight beltholder Jermain Taylor in Palm Springs, Calif.