Although the 2004 Olympic gold medalist is focused on the 28-year-old Rodriguez (24-0, 16 knockouts) he addressed the notion of potential bouts against WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin, RING and WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, and Stevenson’s 175-pound titleholder counterparts Bernard Hopkins and Sergey Kovalev.
Last month on Showtime, the 48-year-old Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KOs) unanimously decisioned Karo Murat in defense of the belt he won the same way over previously unbeaten Tavoris Cloud in March to extend his own record as the oldest man to win a significant crown.
Meanwhile, Ward (26-0, 14 KOs), who rose to prominence by winning the Showtime Super Six tournament, was last in the ring for a 10th-round stoppage of Dawson last September. He floored the former RING and WBC champion once each in the third, fourth and 10th rounds.
“I don’t have a desire to call a Bernard out,” Ward said during a Thursday conference call. “I respect Bernard in the ring and out of the ring. But I am a fighter and if that’s a situation that makes financial sense, and if there is a demand, and if he’s all for it, then I’m willing to do it and I don’t want to get that misconstrued.
“But I’m more interested in guys within my legacy, and, basically, within my era. The young guys, and the guys that are coming up. That’s kind of my focus. But at the same time, if that situation presented itself, I don’t back down from a fight.”
In an earlier interview with RingTV.com, Ward’s promoter Dan Goossen said of Hopkins, “I’ve been trying to get that fight for two years.”
“I think that Andre said it best. We’ve had that conversation,” Goossen said on Thursday. “If it was something that Bernard wanted to engage in, then it would be certainly something that I think would be a tremendous pay per view fight.”
On Nov. 2, Golovkin (28-0, 25 KOs) scored his 15th consecutive stoppage victory by eighth-round technical knockout over challenger Curtis Stevens in The Theatre at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
On Nov. 30, HBO will televise a doubleheader featuring Kovalev (22-0-1, 20 KOs) in the first defense of his title against Ismayl Sillakh on the undercard of Stevenson (22-1, 19 KOs) against Tony Bellew in Quebec City, Canada.
Kovalev dethroned previously unbeaten Nathan Cleverly with a fourth-round stoppage in his last fight in August, and Stevenson is undefeated with 10 knockouts in his past 10 fights heading into his match with Bellew.
Stevenson’s past two victories were knockouts in the first and seventh rounds over Dawson and Cloud in June and September, respectively.
“They’re being pushed as the Boogey Men in their divisions. Golvokin’s in the middleweight division, and Stevenson and Kovalev in the light heavyweight division,” said Ward, who is THE RING’s No. 2-rated fighter, pound-for-pound, behind RING 147- and 154-pound champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“I don’t see a win over either one of those guys right now catapulting me past the Floyd Mayweathers or something like that. But to be perfectly honest, I’m eating and sleeping and drinking Edwin Rodriguez. Those are not even something that’s on my mind right now, at all. It’s about Edwin and it’s about defending my titles. It’s about returning on Nov. 16 and that’s as far as I can take it right now.”
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com