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Andre Ward: 5 Reasons He Should Move Up to the Light Heavyweight Division

Justin TateCorrespondent IJanuary 1, 2017

Andre Ward: 5 Reasons He Should Move Up to the Light Heavyweight Division

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    Andre Ward's success in the super middleweight (168-pounds) division is now his greatest enemy. How can he possibly top his amazing run that includes victories over every elite fighter or world champion in the division?

    Move up in weight and do it all over again.

    The light heavyweight (175-pounds) division has tough fighters and good money to be made. Ward's management and promoters just have to negotiate with the most lucrative dance partners.

    Here's a look at who these 175-pound dance partners are and why Ward must change the beat to prevent a career stagnation from doing the same ol' two-step at 168.

Ward's Shoulder Injury

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    Andre Ward's shoulder injury during training for a proposed Kelly Pavlik fight earlier this year leaves him out of commission indefinitely, according to reports from The Ring.

    While Ward waits for his shoulder to heal from surgery, he can watch the weight divisions change and form. And when he returns, slowly but surely, he and his team will adjust his training to add more weight

    The WBC has already made Ward champion emeritus, meaning his super middleweight championship will be vacated and up for grabs, according to BoxingNews24

Beat Dawson Again, but at Dawson's Weight Class

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    Andre Ward met WBC light heavyweight kingpin Chad Dawson in the ring at super middleweight last September. Dawson moved down from his comfortable weight of 175 to 168.

    It's only right if Ward returns the favor and moves up to fight Dawson for his 175 belt in his light heavyweight debut.

Nathan Cleverly's Coming to America

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    Undefeated British fighter and WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly has most recently made his American title defense debut at the LA Staples Center in California, Ward's home state.

    In Ward's past six fights, five have been in California, with four of those coming from Ward's hometown of Oakland at the Oracle Arena. His lone fight outside of California in those six was at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

    With that said, Cleverly is a young fighter on the rise and showing a willingness to travel. He could make for a great America vs. England promotion and a good fight in front of a sold-out crowd at Oracle Arena.

    But if Ward wants to break the mold of fighting at home, he could take the plane ride to Cleverly's home country for an eventful clash in the U.K. Cleverly's fans would also be sure to fill the arena for that one.

Ward's Beaten Everybody at 168

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    Let's just go down the checklist:

    Arthur Abraham...check!

    Mikkel Kessler...check!

    Carl Froch...check!

    Kelly Pavlik and Lucian Bute are still trying to regain the elite status they once had before suffering the biggest losses of their careers. If either one fought Ward now, it wouldn't be a particularly anticipated fight.

    The light heavyweight division has a whole list of new champs Ward hasn't met yet.

Tavoris Cloud or Jean Pascal Could Come off Biggest Victories

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    Tavoris Cloud is an undefeated hard-hitting American fighter and IBF champ at light heavyweight who hasn't caught on with the boxing public yet—hence his willingness to travel to his ring foe's hometown.

    Cloud's next fight is a battle with Ward's mentor, Bernard Hopkins. Normally this would be a walk in the park for Hopkins, but at 48 years old, this will certainly be tough no matter his conditioning.

    Hopkins has the record for oldest world champ after defeating Jean Pascal in a rematch of their first fight that ended in a draw. He could pull out that old magic again to top his own record.

    If he does, Ward and Hopkins will not fight according to The Ring due to their relationship as mentor and pupil.

    Now another big fight and possibly the biggest fight in the light heavyweight division right now is the rematch between WBC champ Chad Dawson and former champ Jean Pascal.

    Pascal beat Dawson the first time, then lost to Hopkins, who then lost to Dawson. Should Dawson avenge his loss to Pascal, Ward can give him a chance to avenge the only other loss in his career against him.

    Should Pascal win though, which is very possible due to how troubling his style and power can be, he will be coming off of a big win that Ward's promotional team could use to sell a title fight.

    The only problem then would be location. Pascal fights before sold-out crowds in Canada and would be hard to move to California. After a tough round of negotiations, both fighters could make millions together.

    Ward's future at light heavyweight is a great one and naturally the next chapter in what is easily looking like a brilliant career.

     

    Follow me on Twitter @JUSTINDAVIDTATE

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