RING super middleweight champion Andre Ward joined pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao as a nominee for the 2014 ESPY Awards' "Best Fighter," according to a release.
Ward (27-0, 14 knockouts), Mayweather and Pacquiao were nominated alongside MMA fighters Jon "Bones" Jones and Ronda Rousey in the category.
"I want to thank ESPN for nominating me in the 'Best Fighter' category. I am in great company with some of the top fighters in the world. The ESPY experience is something that every athlete would enjoy," said Ward, 30, who was also nominated in 2012.
"I had a great time in 2012 and I'm excited to once again be in a room with some of the world's best athletes. These are experiences that I don't take lightly and these moments drive me to be the best athlete I can be."
A 2004 Olympic gold medalist, Ward was last in action for a unanimous decision over Edwin Rodriguez in November that marked his return to the ring following major shoulder surgery in early 2013. The victory over Rodriguez was Ward's sixth defense of his WBA belt.
In 2011, Ward completed a dominant effort by winning Showtime's "Super Six Super World Classic" middleweight tournament with a unanimous decision over current IBF titleholder Carl Froch in December of that year.
ERISLANDY LARA ON "CANELO" ALVAREZ: 'HE'S LOST AND CONFUSED'
Southpaw junior middleweight Erislandy Lara cited his belief that "fans saw that" Saul Alvarez "was ducking me" among the reasons Alvarez ultimately agreed to face him on July 12 at the MGM Grand on Showtime Pay-Per-View.
Lara revealed that assertion during a Thursday workout, in accordance to further statements by the Cuban boxer regarding Alvarez as follows.
Erislandy Lara on whether he was surprised Alvarez chose to fight him:
"Originally, I thought he would never take the fight because I confronted him in person and he said, 'No, this is not how you make fights.' Then, after the fans saw that he was ducking me on Twitter, he had no choice but to be a man and take the challenge."
"Nothing has to change. I just need to do the same things I always do and train. If I focus on training to win, there's no one in the world that can beat me."
"It means everything to me. For me to demonstrate to the world that I'm not just better than him but that I'm 150 percent better than him, that means everything to me. Like I said before, I’m going to take him to Cuban school."
"He's talking nonsense. He knows I'm not scared of anyone, so he's trying to pump himself up to make him believe that I'm scared of him. The fact is he's a very insecure fighter who knows he's going to lose. For him to say these things is a bad sign for him. He’s lost and confused."
On the potential for fighting Mayweather after Alvarez:
"Right now, my focus is on Canelo and once I beat him, then I'll be looking at other options. For sure, 100 percent, I want Floyd Mayweather after this fight. He's considered the best fighter in the world and I want to be the first one to dethrone him."
SHAWN PORTER-KELL BROOK HAS '90 PERCENT' CHANCE OF HAPPENING ON SEPT. 6
The welterweight fight between Kell Brook (32-0, 22 KOs) and IBF beltholder Shawn Porter (24-0-1, 15 KOs) "is probably going to be on Sept. 6," according to a source familiar with the deal, adding, "I'm 90 percent sure that it's going to be on Sept. 6" although the venue has not yet been determined.
The 28-year-old Brook will be after his fifth consecutive stoppage win when he faces Porter (24-0-1, 15 KOs), 26, who is coming off a fourth round stoppage of two-division titlist Paulie Malignaggi in April that followed the unanimous decision win over Devon Alexander for the belt in December.
"Shawn could get up in the ring with finger paint and paint [Brook]'s ass like a clown," said Porter's father and trainer, Kenny Porter. "Shawn could put a Bozo nose on Brook if he wants to and there is nothing he can do about it."
ERROL SPENCE JR., DOMINIC WADE WEIGH-IN
Welterweight Errol Spence Jr. (12-0, 10 KOs) weighed in at 146.6 pounds compared to the contracted bout limit of 148 for rival Ronald Cruz (20-3, 15 KOs), and middleweight Dominic Wade was 161.6 to 160.6 for opponent, Nick Brinson during Thursday's weigh-in for Friday's bouts at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The fights will be televised on Showtime.
"I think he's probably the toughest guy I've faced. He's a real tough, durable fighter and he's going to come to fight," said Spence. "I know he's a pressure fighter and I think he'll be my toughest test to date."
Wade exuded confidence that he will be able to stop Brinson inside the scheduled 10-round distance for his second consecutive knockout and his fourth in five fights.
"I've never gone 10 rounds before but I don't plan to go 10 rounds. You always have a different mindset going into each fight but when I train, I train to go 12 rounds, so I'm not really worried about it because I spar 10-to-12 rounds.
Photo by Alexis Cuarezma/Getty Images