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Ring Ratings Update: Andre Ward stripped of title, dropped from ratings

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Andre Ward’s last fight was a unanimous decision over Edwin Rodriguez (pictured) in defense of his RING and WBA super middleweight titles in November 2013. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Despite minimal action in the ring, the ratings took a bit longer to figure out this week. That’s because THE RING’s ratings panel decided to resolve a longstanding issue.

Rated fighters are given 12 months to have or schedule a fight. If not, they are dropped.

The rules are a bit different for RING champions; they are given 18 months. If at the end of that period they have fought no one and have nothing scheduled, the rules state that they should be stripped of their title.

Which brings us to super middleweight champion Andre Ward.

Ward’s last fight was against Edwin Rodriguez on Nov. 16, 2013 – 15 months ago. That means he’s still inside the 18-month grace period. However, there is also this line in the RING championship policy under the section “… here are the six situations in which a champion may lose his belt:”

  1. The Champion does not schedule a fight with a Top-5 contender from any weight class for two years.

file_179121_3_Dawson-Ward300_EzraShawWard’s last Top-5 opponent was Chad Dawson on Sept. 8, 2012, nearly 2¾ years ago. Under the rules he should’ve been stripped six months ago. But Ward’s situation has been unique: injury and legal issues have kept him dormant. To be clear, THE RING does not believe the latter issues were entirely beyond his control.

Not one of THE RING’s panel members wanted to see Ward go and every benefit of the doubt has been given to him. He is an exceptional talent, a superb boxer, and his accomplishments give him every right to be considered the champion of his weight class, not to mention a top pound-for-pound fighter. But, quite simply, rules are rules, and we can’t bend them anymore.

Something further to consider is that even if Ward schedules a fight today – according to veteran boxing writer Michael Woods the Californian’s adviser James Prince says there’s a chance that he could return on a Roc Nation-promoted card in April – it would most likely be another year before he got into the ring with another Top-10 guy, much less Top 5. By any measure this is just too long to keep the title locked up.

Ward’s team was notified of the situation and as of yet they have not replied. And so, the following actions will take place:

THE RING super middleweight championship is now vacant.

Ward will not be ranked in the top 10, having been inactive for more than a year. Upon his return to the ring, ratings panel members will discuss his re-ranking and where he should be placed based on his performance and the quality of his opposition.

Ward has been dropped from the Pound-for-Pound rankings. Undefeated WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin, who is rated No. 1 at 160 pounds, will enter at No. 10.

Junior bantamweight: David Sanchez (27-2, 21 KOs), won a 12-round unanimous decision over unrated Juan Alberto Rosas. Sanchez will enter the No. 10 spot replacing Kohei Kono (30-8-1, 13 KOs).

 

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