Wednesday, February 21, 2024  |



Why not Sergey Kovalev-Andre Ward?

Fighters Network
Andre Ward (L) and trainer Virgil Hunter. Photo by Alexis Cuarezma/Getty Images.

Andre Ward (L) and trainer Virgil Hunter. Photo by Alexis Cuarezma/Getty Images.


It is appropriate to ponder, on this, his 78th birthday, the signature Mills Lane line: “Let’s get it on!”

It popped into my head as I watched the Andre Ward interview on HBO’s “The Fight Game,” conducted by Michelle Beadle, on Wednesday night.

Beadle asked Ward, who had, earlier in the show, been bumped down its pound-for-pound list because of inactivity by host Jim Lampley, why he isn’t just signing on to face the guy most everyone wants to see him fight, IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight boss Sergey Kovalev.

Why not a “Let’s get in!” mindset for a Kovalev-Ward clash?

“That’s easy to say for people who aren’t getting hit,” Ward answered the ESPN-er. “That’s very easy to say but my question is: ‘What’s the rush?'”

Hmm, OK…I guess I’d counter by saying careers aren’t infinite – you are 32 in February and 38 in boxing years and Sergey is 31, now in his prime…It’s prime versus prime; it’s a match-up execs and fans want…Why not now?

“Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, they didn’t didn’t fight when everybody wanted them to fight,” Ward pointed out…

Indeed and when they did, Manny was three years past his peak, and many feel the scrap would have been twice as good had they fought in 2010. So…there’s that.

“Regardless of how people feel about the actual fight, the monetary outcome and the numbers that that fight did, it shattered the box office ratings, and I mean, if that’s gonna be a great fight between Sergey Kovalev and myself, if and when it happens – and great fights need to be built up – and that’s what’s we’re gonna do.”

OK…I think from the fan side, how that fight played out is their primary concern…and being that they, the fans, would put out the money which comprises the payout Ward will want to receive, I would hope Ward does care about the entertainment value of the event – should it happen.

The focus on the numbers, how the bout did numbers-wise, that is not so much the concern of the fans. They seek athletes facing off in their primes, which Ward is at or near at right now, I think, and the fixation on build-up and marination and coming to that perfect “hype point,” I think it is detrimental to it actually occurring.

Hey, maybe Ward isn’t injury prone and can hold up and can take two rust-shedders and then stay healthy to book and stick to a fight with Kovalev. But I don’t see that as a given…

Beadle sat with Lampley after that taped chat played. Lampley asked why she thinks Ward isn’t more impactful in the game today. I think, she said, it’s a matter of “out of sight, out of mind.” Ward was on the shelf fighting promoter Dan Goossen…and then injured…and then injured again after being inactive because his team was so deliberative about foe choices…I think Beadle is spot on there.

Fans, let’s hear it from you. What do you think about Ward’s showing on The Fight Game and are you worried about hims saying “if” he and Kovalev fight? Your thoughts, please…


Like Mills Lane, Michael Woods was this close to getting his own TV judge show. He turned it down when he heard backwards ball caps weren’t allowed to be worn in the courtroom.