The shoulder injury sustained by WBC/WBA Super World super middleweight champion Andre Ward three weeks ago that forced the postponement of his January 26 fight with former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik appears to be more serious than initially anticipated. ESPN.com has today reported that Ward will require surgery on his right shoulder, thereby forcing the cancelation of the bout altogether which was targeted for March 2.
This is perhaps in the best interest of both fighters. Ward (26-0, 14 KO's), who has already established his dominance over the super middleweight division, has nothing to gain by fighting the 30-year old Pavlik (40-2, 34 KO's). There are hopes that he moves up to light heavyweight after recovering from surgery where far more attractive options exist for Ward, one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Assuming there are no complications with the shoulder, Ward could easily attempt to make a run at 175 and perhaps consider facing the winner of the March 9 bout between IBF champion Tavoris Cloud and Bernard Hopkins. Even a tune-up at light heavyweight would be more beneficial for his career at this stage as opposed to a rescheduled meeting with Pavlik.
It was an aggressive move by Pavlik to pursue Ward after three consecutive victories this year against somewhat limited opposition during his comeback from struggles with alcohol. It is a view expressed by his own manager, Cameron Dunkin.
"I wasn't jumping up and down for the fight," Dunkin said. "I wasn't excited for it, but it's something Kelly wanted and that is my job, to create opportunities for my clients. Kelly told me that fighting Ward was what he wanted to do. He said to get the fight done, so sometimes that's what you gotta do. And now we will look for something else."
Since other top super middleweights Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler are in discussions to face one another, perhaps former IBF champion Lucian Bute can be explored as an option for Pavlik. Bute's potential rematch with Froch would be in the balance, making a match-up with Pavlik more riveting.
Tags: Andre Ward, Boxing, Cameron Dunkin, Kelly Pavlik