RING and WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward has not dismissed the potential for bouts against either WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin, RING and WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, or Stevenson's 175-pound titleholder counterparts Bernard Hopkins and Sergey Kovalev.
But during a recent interview with RingTV.com, the 29-year-old 2004 Olympic gold medalist said there is uneven emphasis being placed upon him to make those fights come to fruition, particularly in regard to Golovkin (28-0, 25 knockouts), who will pursue his 16th consecutive stoppage victory when he meets Osumanu Adama on Feb. 1.
"There has been the [media] press about me, and this pressure for me to go up to 175 all of a sudden when I'm not a full-fledged 175-pounder," said Ward, who is THE RING's No. 2-rated fighter, pound-for-pound, behind RING 147- and 154-pound champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. "But there's no pressure on Golovkin, like, it's okay for him to say, 'Wait, not right now.' But it's not okay for me to say it. So those are the things that I sometimes scratch my head about."
[Editor's note: Golovkin and his representatives have informed HBO executives that he's willing to fight the contenders and titleholders of the 168- and 175-pound division, and he hasn't turned down any super middleweight or light heavyweight opponents cleared by the U.S. cable network.]
Ward (27-0, 14 KOs) was last in the ring when he ended a 14-month absence with a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Edwin Rodriguez that followed a 10th-round knockout of then-RING and WBC light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson in September of 2012, while Golovkin is coming off November's eighth-round technical knockout over challenger Curtis Stevens.
Although Ward is involved in a lawsuit seeking separation from career-long promoter Dan Goossen, with whom he has had an ongoing contractual rift, he still expects to return to the ring in "March or April."
Having said that Golovkin and Kovalev are being touted as "the Boogey Men in their divisions," Ward invites an eventual match with Golovkin, a 2004 Olympic silver medalist from Kazakhstan.
"Hey, when that fight happens, it's going to be a great fight for boxing. A lot of people say that he's gotten a lot of unnecessary hype, but I've got a lot of respect for Gennady Golovkin," said Ward. "The thing is that against the guys that he's fighting, he's doing the things that he's supposed to do against those guys, I mean, he's getting them out of there."
Ward endured successful surgery in early January of 2013 to repair his injured right shoulder, which forced the cancelation of a scheduled March defense against former middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik.
Prior to the facing Dawson, Ward earned a unanimous decision over current IBF belholder Carl "The Cobra" Froch in December of 2011 in their bout for THE RING, WBA and WBC belts.
Ward said that he would consider making his next fight against previously unbeaten 168-pounder George "Saint" Groves (19-1, 15 KOs) who scored a first-round knockdown during November's disputed ninth-round stoppage loss to Froch (32-2, 23 KOs) in an all-British brawl. Froch earned his fourth straight win and his third knockout during that run against Groves since falling to Ward.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com.