Super Middleweight Champion Andre Ward Signs Three-Fight Deal With HBO


In case you’re one of the people who believes that Andre Ward is the best pound-for-pound boxer on the planet following the retirement of Floyd Mayweather, you should be happy to hear that you’ll be seeing him on HBO for the next few years.

Though rumored earlier in the month, ESPN reported today that Ward has signed a three-fight deal with HBO. The 31-year-old super middleweight champion will have his first fight on November 21, on the undercard of the Miguel Cotto-Canelo Alvarez pay-per-view. Though his opponent has not been named, it will be Ward’s first bout at 175 pounds after campaigning for the majority of his 28-0 professional career at 168.

Ward first rocketed to stardom as  the winner of Showtime’s “Super 6” super middleweight tournament, an even that played out between 2009 and 2011. The former Olympic gold medalist won his first world title along the way, defeating serious opposition like Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham and Carl Froch.

Yet a combination of injuries and curious business decisions have combined to ensure that in what should be the prime years of his career, Ward has fought just three times since December of 2011. He did look good against overmatched Paul Smith this summer in a catchweight bout that was likely preparing him to move up in weight.

The reason for the move is a fight against 175-pound titleholder Sergey Kovalev, which would be the final fight in Ward’s new deal. It’s one of the most enticing matchups that could be made in any division between fighters under contract to HBO, and the winner could be one of the men in the driver’s seat of the sport in its post-Mayweather era.

Considering that Ward’s last fight was carried on BET, not exactly a mecca of boxing, it will be great to see “S.O.G.” back on premium cable — and even better for it to be HBO.