by Hector Echevarria
One is a slick talking bad boy, cocky kid from Cincinnati. The other is a well manner, well spoken kid from the mean streets of Oakland. Andre Ward is a fighter with a clean cut image. Someone you can walk into a meeting on Madison Avenue and stock holders would be happy with him at the face of your product. Adrien Broner is the opposite. He’s a cocky brash young man with that be real, and true to the hood at all cost mentally. Both have been anointed next in line by most media and fans.
Andre Ward is a tough fighter on the inside. He has always been labeled as the new Bernard Hopkins with speed. He can take the fight to you, while also making it a tough street fight. Broner can out box you and also use his power punching to close the show. He’s like a shark in the water that smells blood.
The two fighters remind me of one current star and one past star. The names that come to mind are Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Sugar Ray Leonard comes to mind. Ray Leonard was a gold medalist from the streets of Maryland, while Mayweather was from the lower middle class streets of Grand Rapids. Both men became poster children of boxing by different roads. Both men are marketable fighters, one you can sell to inner city youths and one you can sell to suburban America.
So who’s going to be the bigger star? In terms of competition, Andre Ward is the better established product. Ward came from being one of the underdogs in the super middleweight division to winning the Showtime Super Six, Super Middleweight Tournament. Along the way he dominated the class of the division. He outclassed the favorite Mikkel Kessler, out boxed the hard punching Arthur Abraham, and defeated Carl Froch in the final. If that’s not impressive then consider this, Froch just destroyed Lucian Bute, while Kessler knocked the hell out of Allan Green. Those two fighters will probably fight in a rematch of their close fight. Ward beat both of them, and very soundly at that. Ward is the champion at 168 and his next fight will be against the 175 lb champion Chad Dawson, who is coming down in a weight to meet S.O.G. in an HBO televised World Championship Boxing
Should he beat Dawson, if he decided to stay at 168, there aren’t any fights you could see you want to see, because he’s beaten all the top guys mines Lucian Bute. Unless Bute recovers from his knockout loss to Froch, is anyone screaming for that fight? He could move up to 175 to fight a Jean Pascal, Tavoris Cloud, or Gabriel Campillo. He could also make the guys at 175 come down to fight him like he did with Dawson. Hell, maybe the winner of Martinez Chavez would want a crack at S.O.G? .While Ward may not always make entertaining fights; he takes on the best competition and beats them. If you keep winning, there can’t be no denying your star.
Broner’s competition has not been quite of the level of Ward’s but Broner seemingly always closes out the show. Part of the lack of competition comes from his weight class. There aren’t many names to beat. While he did struggle against Daniel Ponce De Leon, he white washed Jason Litzau and Eloy Perez. Before that fight, he wanted a crack at Ricky Burns but Burns decided to move to lightweight.
That’s where Broner should go. Broner makes entertaining fights and has skill. He should go to 135 and chase a Ricky Burns, Miguel Vasquez, or even an Antonio Demarco. It would be hard pressed to not make him a favorite in either fight. The fight we would all sell our souls to see would be Broner vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa at 130 or even 135. Can you say fireworks? With that being said, who knows how far up Broner would want to go but with his flashiness, his power manager Al Haymon, his power promoter Golden Boy, he has super star written all over him.
No matter which we label as the face of boxing; there’s one thing we all can say, fans are going to be in for a treat for years to come.