RING, WBA and WBC super middleweight champion Andre Ward has confirmed that his scheduled March 2, HBO-televised defense against former undisputed middleweight titleholder Kelly Pavlik is off due to impending surgery to repair his injured right shoulder.
Initially, however, 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.”
Later, however, Ward’s injury was discovered to be worse.
“When I first got injured, there was a lot of inflammation, and the MRI was misread by the first radiologist. I’ve been doing extensive rehab and the shoulder was getting stronger. But after three and a half weeks of rehab, there was still slight pain that had me concerned enough to get two additional opinions,” said Ward.
“It was then diagnosed that there is a small tear in my shoulder capsule. It’s not a major tear, but I can either rest it and see if it heals itself or speed up the process by surgically repairing it, and be stronger than I was before the injury and that’s what we opted to do.”
Goossen was the event’s lead handling both Ward and Arreola on a show that was set to take place at USC’s Galen Center in Los Angeles. Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who promotes Pavlik, confirmed that he was informed of the developments by Goossen, and that he, in turn, spoke to Pavlik’s manager, Cameron Dunkin.
Ward said that he expects to be operated on as early as late next week.
“I’m working with one of the best orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists in Northern California, and I know that I will come back stronger than before. I appreciate all the support that I’ve already received and my fans can rest assured that I’m going to be back in the ring as soon as possible,” said Ward.
“Despite the injury, I still plan to have a big 2013 and hope to have two fights in the New Year. I was really looking forward to the fight with Pavlik. Everything was on board and situations happen, but I wish Kelly Pavilk and his team nothing but the best in the future.”
Ward is coming off an HBO-televised 10th-round knockout of RING and WBC light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson in September. Prior to that title defense, he dethroned Carl Froch as WBC 168-pound beltholder by unanimous decision in the finals of Showtime’s Super Six Super Middleweight Classic last December.
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.
Pavlik (40-2, 34 KOs) is coming off his fourth straight victory with a unanimous decision over Will Rosinsky in July. Pavlik burst onto the scene with a seventh-round knockout of then-undisputed and previously undefeated middleweight titleholder Jermain Taylor in September of 2007.
Pavlik was later dethroned as WBC and WBO 160-pound titleholder via unanimous decision by Sergio Martinez in April of 2010, and has since fought at or above 168 pounds.
Arum said that a new opponent could be announced for Pavlik as early as Friday.
“We’re definitely going to get Kelly into the ring at or around that date that he was scheduled to fight Andre, and then we’ll see where it goes from there,” said Arum.
“I know [Top Rank Vice President] Carl [Moretti] is working on a very interesting fight for Kelly, and then, we’ll see where it goes. They’re working on it. It won’t be finalized until tomorrow at the earliest.”
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com