Andre Ward is by far the best super middleweight in the world and may just emerge as the best fighter in all of boxing during the next few years when he replaces Floyd Mayweather Jr. atop the mythical pound-for-pound list.
During the last three years Ward (26-0, 14KOs) has run through a gauntlet of the best fighters his division has to offer and only lost a handful of rounds, let alone a fight. He made world-class fighters like Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham and Carl Froch look like run-of-the-mill opponents.
In what was his most impressive performance to date, Ward absolutely decimated reigning light heavyweight kingpin Chad Dawson in September.
Dawson moved down in weight to fight Ward in what many boxing experts saw as a dangerous fight for the Oakland native. Ward made it look easy, though, knocking Dawson to the canvas three times in the fight before Steve Smoger stopped it in Round 10.
Ward hasn’t lost a fight since he was 12 years old, and it doesn’t look like the Olympic gold medalist will lose one anytime soon. While there are good fighters in the super middleweight division, the ones who Ward hasn’t already beaten don’t look to stand much of a chance against him.
Lucian Bute has been somewhat exposed as maybe being a hype job and not as good as his record would indicate, so that fight won’t do anything to test Ward.
A fight with hard-punching Adonis Stevenson could be fun while it lasts, but I doubt that he could even come close to testing Ward.
A Kelly Pavlik and Ward fight has been talked about recently, and while I believe that Pavlik would have a puncher's chance, I think that Ward would be too much for him.
A fight with Andre Dirrell, his friend and former Olympic teammate, has been talked about in the past, but I firmly believe that Dirrell pulled out of the Showtime Super Six Classic to avoid that fight because he knew he couldn’t win it.
There are a slew of up-and-coming fighters in his division like Thomas Oosthuizen, Edwin Rodriguez, George Groves, James DeGale and others, but at this point I don’t believe any of them are ready now to face Ward and win, if ever.
The next logical step, and one that Ward himself has said he plans to make, is to move up to the light heavyweight division. The only problem with that is he has already beaten the best fighter the division has to offer in lineal champion Chad Dawson.
What may very well happen to Ward is that he could fall into the same trap that plagued Roy Jones Jr. for much of his career—he is just so much better than the fighters in and around his weight class that we may never truly know how great he is.