Andre Ward: Coming back to face Bellew?
After his second upset KO win in as many fights over David Haye, heavyweight contender Tony Bellew insists he wants to face former two division champion Andre Ward next.
Ward, of course, retired as an undefeated light heavyweight champion last year after defeating Sergey Kovalev in their rematch.
The former, upon leaving the sport, was ranked as RING's top pound-for-pound fighter at the time.
"I will beat Andre Ward, I will knockout Andre Ward," Bellew said via BoxingScene.com following his upset of Haye last night. "He's a pound-for-pound king but I will beat him."
Will Ward entertain the offer?
FightType caught up with Andre this morning and, for now at least, Ward seems to have no interest whatsoever.
"Listen, I've been blessed...I wish Tony nothing but the best," Ward told FightHype.
Andre elaborated on his role in the upcoming Creed 2 movie as well the new Contender series which he'll be a big part of, and seems to be light years away from a comeback.
A look back at the annals of the Sweet Science tells us great champions often do succumb to the lure of a comeback. Sometimes it's not immediate but many, if not most, eventually get an itch too hard to ignore.
Hall of fame promoter Bob Arum once said: “Sugar Ray Leonard's retirements last about as long as Elizabeth Taylor's marriages.”
And yes, Leonard is the poster child for boxing comebacks, having done it numerous times.
Among great fighters and champions, comebacks in boxing are very common and the process is nearly as old as the sport itself.
Remember when undefeated former heavyweight champion Jim Jeffries, the original Great White Hope, came out of a 6-year retirement hoping to dethrone the unpopular Jack Johnson in 1910?
Perhaps you don't remember?!?!
But ever since, great champions have had difficulty staying away from the sport.
It's usually due to one or more of the reasons below:
- Need of money
- Missing the limelight
- Bravado and pride
Marciano and Hagler
Brockton, MA natives and fight legends Rocky Marciano and Marvelous Marvin Hagler are a rare breed in that they are two of the few all-time greats who retired relatively young - and stayed retired.
Shall we add Joe Calzaghe and Carl Froch to that list? Perhaps it's too soon to include them as they are still in their 40s and could come back any day now.
Second Thoughts, Andre?
“I don’t think there’s second thoughts,” Ward told HBO's Jim Lampley on The Fight Game last year.
“But I will tell you this – retirement is a lot harder than I thought it would be. You know, I’ve read about athletes retiring, fighters retiring. I’ve heard about it. I studied it, kind of what’s the right time and those kind of things. But there’s a detox that has to take place. I’ve been doing this 23 years straight, and then, all of a sudden, it’s gone. And it’s a process."
"But it’s a process that I felt I had to undertake. I’m up for the challenge and I just hope to be someone that the younger fighters can point to and say, ‘He did it the right way.’ ”
Retirement isn't easy, is it?
Ward is a warrior... And warriors fight. (And if that warrior can earn handsome coin in the process, even better)
Ward vs Bellew Timing
Because Ward is newly-retired and immersed in other pursuits, don’t expect him to return in the near future (if at ll). He’s excited about his new endeavors and hasn’t had much time to truly miss the spoils and fulfillment of being a boxing champion.
In order for Ward to even consider fighting Bellew within the next year, he'll need a purse guarantee far greater than that fight is capable of achieving at the present time.
If Tony wins a title or is still a high-profile heavyweight in the next 18 months to 3 years, Andre might be willing to talk.