The Ring, WBA, WBC and super middleweight champ Andre Ward will defend his belts against former titlist Kelly Pavlik on January 26 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, California.
Ward (26-0, 14 KOs), a Bay Area native who became the first American to capture boxing gold in eight years as a light heavyweight at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, easily retained his belts by battering formidable Ring Magazine and WBC light heavyweight titleholder “Bad” Chad Dawson en route to achieving a 10th round TKO on September 8 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
Prior to dominating Dawson (31-2, 17 KOs), “The Son of God” unified two belts and won The Super Six World Boxing Classic when he trumped Carl Froch by unanimous decision on December 17 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
The 28-year-old Ward, voted in the wintertime as the 2011 “Fighter of the Year” by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), has unbelievably not vacated the squared circle on the losing end of a bout since he was a 12-year-old amateur.
“The Son of God,” currently rated by Ring Magazine as the fifth pound-for-pound boxer in the world, is now in position to become a national superstar and household name like fellow American gold medalists Muhammad Ali, “Sugar” Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya.
Roger “Pit” Perron is a venerable boxing trainer from Brockton (Mass.) who now works with Mike and Rich Cappiello at their gym, Cappiello Brothers Boxing and Training.
Perron praised Ward and predicts “The Son of God” will outclass all challengers for the foreseeable future.
“Ward clearly sticks out in the division,” said Perron, 75, who worked with International Boxing Hall of Famer Marvelous Marvin Hagler at the Petronelli Brothers Gym. “He had just a great performance his last time out. There’s no telling when, or if, he’ll next lose.”
Conversely, Pavlik (40-2, 34 KOs), who on June 8 bludgeoned a mouthy Scott “Cujo” Sigmon en route to a seventh round TKO victory, battled for the third time in 2012 in July when he earned a unanimous decision triumph over “Power” Will Rosinsky on HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” card at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
To date, “The Ghost,” whose only losses as a professional came at the hands of legendary pugilist Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2-1, 32 KOs) and 2010 “Fighter of the Year” Sergio Martinez (47-2-2, 25 KOs), has maintained his pledge to remain active and avoid trouble.
Pavlik’s aggressive schedule is prudent and extremely encouraging.
“Andre Ward’s a hell of a world champ,” said Pavlik, 30, who battles alcoholism and underwent two major surgeries on his left hand in 2009. “He’s the super middleweight king right now. He went through a tough tournament and proved where he’s at. He beat everybody that he was supposed to fight and he’s top dog. When I was (middleweight) champ, I was the one being pursued. Now he’s (super middleweight) champ and I’m in hot pursuit.”
Jeff Lyons is a boxing fanatic who possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of The Sweet Science.
The native South Bostonian admitted to being excited for Pavlik.
“I’m really happy for Pavlik,” said Lyons, 32. “His comeback has been a real feel good story. With that said, Ward is extremely good. With Ward’s resume, when it’s all said and done, we are looking at a top 20 all-time boxer.”
Unfortunately for Kelly Pavlik, “Andre Ward’s a hell of a world champ” who will utterly overwhelm the troubled Ohioan this winter.