Andre Ward vs. Sergio Martinez: 3 Issues Standing in the Way of the Super Fight
Andre Ward (26-0, 14 KO) is currently without an opponent and so is his rival Sergio Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KO).
Both are one major win from becoming the pound for pound best fighter of today. That one major win could come against each other.
Ward is the RING WBC/WBA super middleweight champ, while Martinez is the Ring and now WBC middleweight champ. In order to fight, both would have to come to an agreement on a variety of issues.
Here are three of those issues and possible solutions to each.
Martinez & Ward Fight at Different Weights
Martinez fights at middleweight (160 lbs) and Ward fights at super middleweight (168 lbs). Neither wants to budge on the weight disagreement to fight the other.
Solution: Agree to Fight @ 164
The difference in weight between the two warriors is eight pounds. It would be logical for Martinez to come up four and Ward to drop down four.
Ward will likely lose a little strength on the scale to make up for his size advantage against Martinez.
Martinez may come in on fight night weighing 168 and Ward weighing six to nine pounds higher. This is a difference fighters can be expected to face on just about any night.
Martinez & Ward Aren't Mayweather & Pacquiao
Most fighters like to challenge the best, but they also like to be handsomely rewarded when they do so.
Martinez and Ward, in spite of all their efforts, are not big attractions yet.
Martinez had his first major HBO Pay-Per-View and it sold 475,000. That's a good number, but Ward may not be willing to to sacrifice his health by going down in weight for those type of numbers.
While Ward's 10th round TKO of Chad Dawson attracted 1.3 million on regular HBO, that may not inspire Martinez to hop up in weight.
Both would like to fight each other, but neither is about to go out of their way for it, unless there's a much bigger pot of money on the line.
Solution: Agree to Fight and Then Demand Attention from HBO
HBO has the power to promote Martinez and Ward out the wazoo. All those two have to do is agree to fight and then have both their promoters take HBO to task.
If given a full four-part 24/7 documentary segment like the likes of Mayweather and Pacquiao, Martinez and Ward can catch on. Ward and Martinez currently get two episodes max.
Now, maybe they need interim pay-per-view showcases against the likes of an HBO regular like Kelly Pavlik to sweeten their appeal before entering in the ring with each other, but HBO can make it happen.
Between Martinez & Ward, Who's Going to Play the Villain?
Boxing, even at it's most competitive, still needs an antagonist to sell a fight.
When Sugar Ray Leonard returned to boxing in 1987 after a three-year break to face Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Hagler became the villain due to Leonard being an underdog with a more lovable media persona.
Villains sell fights by creating a clear-cut conflict that goes beyond just two elite fighters in the ring.
Conflict paints a narrative and a narrative that unfolds in front of cameras and concludes in the ring is more entertaining than any movie an audience can see in theaters.
Solution: The Bigger Man
Martinez and Ward both played the role of David against their respective Goliaths in Chavez Jr. and Dawson.
Now Ward, as the naturally bigger man, will be forced to assume the role of Goliath in this fight.
That doesn't mean no one will root for Ward, but that does mean he will be presented as the bad guy for the purposes of promotion.
From his nickname, Song of God, to his dismissal of Lucian Bute as a worthy opponent earlier this year, Ward's decisions can be edited by the creative team at HBO to portray a cocky, undefeated American to hate.
The stereotype of the disdain-worthy American worked well for Floyd Mayweather and while Ward isn't likely to have any run-ins with the law or family drama to display, he's a fighter who doesn't mince words.
Ward will tell it how he sees it. If HBO asks Ward what he thinks of Martinez's competition or the last round of his fight with Chavez, he'll say how he feels.
Ward can be very critical of other fighters, such as the way he was when he felt Bute faced a weaker breed of opposition. This attribute is admirable, but for the sake of promotion, it puts Ward in the role of villain.
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