In January of 2015, former Olympic Gold Medalist and lineal super middleweight champion Andre “S.O.G.” Ward signed a contract with the newly created promotional outfit Roc Nation Sports, ending a bitter promotion dispute with Goosen Promotions. During his absence from the ring, hard-hitting middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin took the boxing world by storm, annihilating almost all competition thrown his way.
Ward (28-0) stepped back in the ring this past June, ending a year and a half hiatus by defeating Paul Smith in Oakland. A month prior, Golovkin (34-0) defended his middleweight crown in Los Angeles, dispatching Willie Monroe. With Ward back in the mix and Golovkin looking dominant, a potential clash between the two became a dream matchup for fans and media alike.
Without the barriers of a network dispute, and only eight pounds separating the two superstars, Ward-Golovkin was a fight that could have been made. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, it hasn’t and will not be made anytime soon. Depending on what you read, and more importantly what you think, it could be one of many line items.
During the recent Miguel Cotto – Saul “Canelo” Alvarez hoopla, HoopJab caught up with Ward to clarify the Golovkin situation. “Reality is Golovkin never wanted to fight me, he always wanted to use my name to get credibility” Ward calmly explained. “ No knock on the guys he’s fought, but he’s fighting the same type of guys over, over, over again, guys that are going to make him look good.”
With Ward ditching his 168-pound belt and fully committed to the to the light heavyweight division, culminating with a mega fight with 175-pound champion Sergey Kovalev, debating who’s at fault for the Ward-Golovkin fallout is moot. However, Ward had much to say and insinuated the media might have played a role in the perception he “ducked” Golovkin, “I think Golovkin is a good guy, I think he’s a good fighter, but all the media and all the propaganda they’re putting out there, it’s simply not true”
For what it’s worth, Ward appeared to be shooting straight from the hip and completely forthright during his interview. I could not detect any pantomimes that would lead me to believe he was being untrue in his convictions.
After digesting this interview and reading the countless social media exchanges between Ward and Golovkin fans the question we ask is “who’s ducking who” and the answer, in my opinion is simple. From what I have seen and heard from both fighters leads me to believe that they’re both not “afraid” to fight, there simply isn’t financial incentive. Golovkin’s pot of gold ends with “Canelo” and unifying the 160 division. Ward, in the early stages of his Roc Nation contract, needs to ease his transition back into the fight game and rebuild his monetary leverage in the sport. Ward-GGG was always oil and water, simply posturing, and probably never will be much more.