Did Sergey Kovalev scare Andre Ward into Retirement?
By: Matthew N. Becher
A little less than two months ago, at the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas, Andre Ward defeated Sergey Kovalev in one of the most highly anticipated fights in years. Ward, the former unified Super Middleweight champion edged out the undefeated “Krusher” Kovalev on all three judges’ scorecards 114-113. Some called it a controversial score, with the majority of fans and media scoring the fight for Kovalev. Either way, it was a close fight, Ward edged out the official win and thus became the new unified Light Heavyweight champion of the world.
This week, in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Ward discussed how he has little left to prove in the sport of boxing and that he might not only skip over any rematch with Sergey Kovalev, but walk away from the ring for good.
“I really just got to take my time right now because I really don’t have to fight anymore”, “I’ve accomplished pretty much everything that I’ve wanted to accomplish. It’s not about the money anymore, it’s just because god has blessed me to still have the ability to do it and I still love it. I just really got to take my time right now and make sure that every decision that I make and every fight that I take is the right situation because if it’s not, I don’t know if it makes sense to continue on.”
At 32 and undefeated, Ward seems crazy to be considering retirement. He is correct in that he has accomplished great things in the sport of boxing. Unified champion in two divisions, the last American male to win an Olympic Gold Medal, Ward has done a lot. He is also still very young, and probably in the prime of his career. The question that burns is why would he quit now?
It was only a few years ago that Ward, who was then a constant #2 on everyone’s pound for pound list, was Suing his promoter, the late Dan Goosen, for not getting Ward big money fights. Ward only fought once in 2012 & 2013, and not at all in 2014. He was sitting out, not making money, because he wanted more money. So to say “It’s not about the money”, seems a bit like a stretch. A man that was literally suing his promoter for more money, instead of actually boxing for more money doesn’t add up.
And it was only a few months ago that Ward was talking about possibly moving up to the Heavyweight division if he could fight the “right guy”, as he told ESPNs Dan Rafael
“Listen, I’ve talked about this a lot and I know it sounds crazy. I know it does,” Ward said. “But I feel like I have a Roy Jones-type of situation in me before my career is over. And I have a great guy to do it with, Mackie Shilstone, but it’s got to be the right guy.”
The only thing about this recent Andre Ward story is… he does not want to rematch Sergey Kovalev. His contract stipulates an immediate rematch clause, should either participant invoke it. Kovalev and his promoters at Main Events did, so if Andre Ward wants to keep his titles, or fight in the division again, he has to go through Kovalev first.
The fight was Wards first payper View, and the money was the best he’s ever made. It was close, and the rematch could only do better numbers. So why not just sign the paper to fight Kovalev again.
“I’ve got to make some tough decisions over the next couple of months. Boxing isn’t a sport to play with. I’ve obviously been doing this for a long time and it just has to make sense.”
Let’s hope that Ward decides to defend his newly minted titles against the former champion and put any uncertainty about the first fight to rest. If it’s not fear then a rematch shouldn’t be a problem, but retirement seems more like running away then going out on your own terms.