RING super middleweight champion Andre Ward is “perfectly willing and able” to make a fight with WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin, a representative for Ward told RingTV.com.
“A couple of weeks ago, they put to rest whether or not they would move up or down to fight. Andre Ward will fight anyone. The reality is that I don’t think that these guys really want to fight him,” said Josh Dubin, an attorney speaking on behalf of Ward and the fighter’s manager, James Prince. “There’s nobody even two weight classes above or two weight classes below that could even win a round against Andre at this point, let alone beat him, and they know that.”
Dubin said that he called RingTV.com at the request of Ward to respond to recent comments by Abel Sanchez, Golovkin’s trainer.
Sanchez said Golovkin (30-0, 27 knockouts) had surpassed Ward (27-0, 14 KOs) from a marketability standpoint and that Ward has lost bargaining power toward being the upside in a match-up between the two.
“If a fight with Gennady could be discussed, the fact is that Andre is on an island with the belief that he can demand terms,” said Sanchez. “That makes it un-makeable and un-workable when he wants the major portion of the money.”
Dubin dismissed Sanchez’s contention as “pure fantasy.”
“Apparently, Abel Sanchez is breathing too much of that Big Bear mountain air…Time and time again, this man keeps going on the record and saying things with a complete detachment from reality,” said Dubin, in part.
“For him to say that Andre Ward could not dictate terms in a fight between Andre Ward and Gennady Golovkin and that Gennady Golovkin is a bigger star is pure fantasy…The last I checked, Abel Sanchez is a trainer, not a manager and he’s not calling any shots over there. So that’s just a lot of hot air.”
In his last fight on July 26, Golovkin scored a third round technical knockout over Daniel Geale at New York’s Madison Square Garden on HBO.
Golovkin gained his 17th straight stoppage victory against Geale, a former 160-pound titleholder, who represented Golovkin’s second win of 2014.
Meanwhile, Ward has endured long stretches of inactivity due in part to successful surgery in early January 2013 to repair his injured right shoulder and ongoing acrimony and litigation with promoter Dan Goossen.
Ward has not fought since winning a unanimous decision over Edwin Rodriguez last November.
“As for Ward, he has a situation with his promoter that is keeping him idle,” said Sanchez, in part. “Ward may have won the ‘Super Six’ but has done nothing since, in fights or in publicity, to enhance his marketability.”
But Dubin cited Nielsen Media research numbers for Ward-Rodriguez, which reportedly drew 1.2 million viewers with a peak of 1.3, compared to the performance of Golovkin-Geale.
“All you have to do is look at the ratings that these two men draw. Let’s start with the ratings. Andre Ward, coming off a major shoulder injury and layoff of over a year did a 1.3 million rating on HBO,” said Dubin.
“Gennady Golovkin just fought was was supposed to be the biggest fight of his career in the biggest room in Madison Square Garden with the most fans there, and that was his big night…You know what he did? A whole lot of nothing. He did half the ratings that Andre Ward did.”
Ward ended a 14-month absence against Rodriguez, a bout that followed a 10th-round knockout victory over then-RING light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson in September 2012.
Prior to facing Dawson, Ward earned a unanimous decision over current IBF beltholder Carl Froch in the finals of Showtime’s “Super Six” super middleweight tournament for THE RING, WBA and WBC belts in December 2011.
“Abel Sanchez may be really excited about his fighter and he may think that he’s got a big star but you can’t talk your way to stardom. He is just not as big a star as they think…If you compare Andre Ward’s opponent resume to Gennady Golovkin’s opponent resume, it’s like comparing someone in the major leagues to someone in the minor leagues. Nobody can quarrel with the fact that Andre Ward has fought, time after time after time, the toughest competition out there with no breaks in between,” said Dubin.
“Andre Ward went from fighting Mikkel Kessler to fighting Alan Green to fighting Sakio Bika to fighting Arthur Abraham to fighting Carl Froch and he blew each and every one of them out. So Gennady Golovkin hasn’t faced anything close. Not one of his last six or seven fights has been fighting against world champions who are elite-class fighters. With all due respect to Gennady Golovkin, his toughest fight was Matthew Macklin and this man is saying that he would be the one dictating terms? That’s total nonsense.”
In the meantime, Dubin insists that Ward would relish the opportunity to fight Golovkin.
“Abel Sanchez is looking for a way to give his fighter confidence so that he can make excuses and say, ‘Oh, no, Gennady, we can’t make that fight. Andre Ward would dictate the terms,’” said Dubin.
“If they want to make the fight, they know there is a ton of money in the fight. They know what they need to do to make the fight. Andre would be maybe somewhat flexible to come down to make the fight but why don’t they come up to fight for the super middleweight title? We’re perfectly willing and able to do it. On behalf of Andre Ward, that’s our statement.”