While eating my breakfast this morning, I looked up and saw super middleweight champ Andre Ward looking me right in the eyes. “Missing” read the milk carton as the word disappointingly rang true. It’s been eleven months since we last saw this pound for pound great in the office and I couldn’t help but wonder if we will ever again see this amazing talent.
The Bay Area’s Ward (27-0 14 KO), epitomizes what the sweet science is all about. He’s a masterful technician who uses effortless footwork to switch angles while landing some of the most graceful combinations and counters you will ever see, a mostly impenetrable defense to defuse the threat, and when needed, underrated punching power to keep opponents honest.
You’d be hard pressed to find a fight out of his twenty-seven victories that was even close, but could probably make a case for the Carl Froch fight and even that is reaching. Pure dominance every time out. When the Super Six tournament was announced, Ward wasn’t in most conversations when the opening predictions were being discussed, but there was Ward, showcasing his skills and beating each fighter put in front of him like a video game player defeating a boss at each level while conquering the game.
Some called him boring? If you were one of (use airquotes here) “those people” you’re in need of remedial trainng STAT! Get your eyes checked, and go back to boxing school because if you think what Ward does is boring, you are missing every aspect of “sweet” and “science”.
So, where does this leave us at this point in our story? Ward last fought eleven months ago thoroughly dominating Edwin Rodriguez, and this after a 14 month layoff from shoulder surgery. Historically he doesn’t seem to be affected by layoffs but the clock is ticking here. For the purposes of this article, I’m not going to delve into the promotional squabbles affecting Ward even though it would be the elephant in the room as it relates to the recent inactivity. Appropriately enough though, I will take a moment here to say a prayer for the Goossen family and say rest in peace Dan, you will be missed.
A religious man as his nickname Son Of God (SOG) will attest to, Ward lets the Lord guide his journey so he is, without a doubt, exactly where he needs to be. It’s a shame that he has not been active and we need to see him back soon or we could be watching one of the most tragic wastes of talent that the sport has ever seen. Boxing is going to need a new breed of champion to take the torch in the next year and move the sport forward. Who better to do that than a fighter who has perfected his craft and has a different type of core values that leads his path?
As my eyes refocus, I realize that I was imagining things if only for a moment. My eyes move from the milk carton to the sport’s page which reads, ” And Still!!! Andre Ward returns to the ring with another dominating performance”
Welcome back champ, we’ve missed you.