No matter whom you choose to rank higher—Floyd Mayweather or Andre Ward—the respective champions are without a doubt the two best boxers on the planet at this
Both fighters are masters of their craft and extremely dominant inside the ring. But that's where the similarities end. Outside the ring, the two men are polar opposites.
Mayweather is brash and outspoken, while Ward is quieter and usually flies under the radar--even though he's undefeated and an Olympic Gold medalist.
Before March of 2013, the only time the two boxers were really mentioned in the same breath was in a pound-for-pound rankings list. That is, until a back-and-forth verbal spat (started by none other than Mayweather in an interview with Ben Thompson of FightHype.com) exploded and a subsequent Ward quote was taken out of context and made into an eye-popping headline (via Examiner.com).
Now boxing fans are clamoring about a fight that originally seemed too far-fetched to ever take place. Is this fight truly a possibility? Or are we getting our hopes up for nothing.
Let's take a look at some important factors.
Although he's fought at the 154 pound limit before, Mayweather is best suited as a welterweight (147 pounds). Ward, on the other hand, is a super middleweight and has fought almost his entire career at 168 pounds (per BoxRec.com).
That means that at their ideal weight, Mayweather and Ward are separated by three weight divisions, or 21 pounds. In boxing terms, that much weight is astronomical. With the weight debate already being seen as an obstacle for a Saul Alvarez versus Mayweather fight, imagine the complications that would arise for a Ward fight.
Ward wasn't challenging Mayweather when he stated (via Twitter, but later removed) that he would move down to 160 pounds to face him, but that announcement is what really got some fight fans excited about the possibility of a Ward-Mayweather clash.
Don’t hold your breath.
Just because Mayweather says he spars with middleweights (as BoxingScene.com
reported that Ward said) it doesn't mean he'll ever want to jump in the ring with the best super middleweight in the world. And rightfully so.
On the flip side, just because Ward says he will come down to middleweight to fight Mayweather doesn’t make it a good idea. Why, you ask?
In essence, a Mayweather versus Ward bout would be pitting a blown up fighter (Mayweather) who has never entered the ring over 151 pounds against a starched one (Ward) who would likely just blow back up on fight night. No matter who has the advantage in that scenario or how good either guy is, nobody really wants to see that type of fight. Fans want to see the best fighters fight the best opposition at the top of their game, not an altered, less effective version.
Some would argue that testing your body’s limits is what competitive sports is all about. While that may be true in some instances, it’s also easy to imagine that there would be a huge asterisk next to the winner’s name and a handful of excuses next to the loser’s. And nobody really wants to hear that. In a sport that makes a living off of controversy, fans want clear and concise winners.
We also must remember that this isn't a 25-year old Pretty Boy Floyd we’re talking about, it’s Money Mayweather. At 36 years old, he can't expect to keep rising in weight with as much success as he did in his younger days. If anything, fighting a guy the size of Alvarez (especially once he gains 20 pounds on fight night) at this point in his career will be difficult enough to handle.
And sorry to all the throwbacks and historians of the world who may say that the old school fighters jumped weight all the time—such as Henry Armstrong—but we are in a different era. There are certainly enough crowd-pleasing and money-making fights for both Ward and Mayweather to consider,
instead of meeting at middleweight.
One of the most telling statements that suggests this fight will never take place are the remarks Ward made after the initial sting of Mayweather's comments to FightHype.com had worn off. When speaking to Ben Thompson of FightHype.com, Ward had this to say:
"I've been in boxing a long time and rule number one is you don't call somebody out that's three weight classes lower than you."
And to add on to that, you don't throw out a weight that you'll “sacrifice” to meet said guy at either. Moving forward, people should focus on the matchups that can be made for both men and let the Ward-Mayweather pipe dream go.