A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Tales of Two Fighters
Andre Ward in his last fight showed himself to be the elite fighter that he showed himself to be when he defeated easily Edwin Rodriquez. Ward is one of those fighters when he is on, his punches flow in rhythmic fashion, up and down; often ending in a patented left hook. Over the first few rounds, Rodriguez was more interesting in throwing a punch and holding; thus producing a rather boring fight. In the fourth round, the referee made it clear, quick wrestling and holding or someone is going to get disqualified and this allowed Ward to do his thing. Over twelve rounds, Ward manhandled Rodriquez and throughout the last half of the fight, treated Rodriguez as his personal punching bag. After dispatching Rodriguez, the question that remains, what is next for Ward now that he has essentially cleaned out the Super Middleweight as over the past four plus years, he has defeated Kessler, Froch, Green and Abraham in easy fashion. Froch gave the toughest battle but there appears no urgency on the British fighter part to have a rematch and Ward is now a killing machine at his peak. Ward options is move up to light heavyweight or wait for Gennady Golovkin the powerful Middleweight but Golovkin would love to fight Martinez first. The other option is the light heavyweight division which includes the ageless Bernard Hopkins and Adonis Stevenson. Ward showed that he could fight in the light heavyweight division as he stopped Chad Dawson, even though it can be argued that Dawson moved down in weight. Rodriguez for his fight with Ward came in the bout overweight and by fight time, he was essentially a light heavyweight. Stevenson is the best light heavyweight and the one fighter who might be willing to take on Ward.
Ward biggest problem is that he is not major gate attraction and there are no light heavyweights who will provide a big economic incentive and Golovkin has yet to demonstrate he is a big PPV star even though he is an exciting fighter who can end a fight with one punch.
If Ward is a great fighter looking for a big payday, Pacquiao is a walking big payday as any fight he is involved in provides big numbers. His last fight with Rios was a masterpiece from a fighter who had not won a fight in two years and Pacquiao showed that he was still an elite fighter. If Ward options are narrowed, Pacquiao has many different options including a rematch with Tim Bradley, yet another fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, and maybe entice Danny Garcia or Ruslan Provodnikov to move up toe welter weight or Pacquiao move down. All of these fights would be big money makers and fighters like Pacquiao look for big pay day and if there are not at least eight figures involved, the fight won’t be made.
The golden prize is be part of the Floyd Mayweather sweepstakes but while this fight would attract some big PPV numbers, this fight would not reach the projected big audience if they fought two years ago before Pacquiao entered his two years of boxing purgatory. Based on the last two years, it is obvious that Pacquiao is further down the erosion skills than the older Mayweather as Pacquiao has had many more big wars that have taken years off his career. Any other of the proposed fights would be intriguing matches.
The one fight that would not only bring in big bucks but offer him some redemption would be a rematch with Bradley. Pacquiao was probably robbed of a victory against Bradley whereas Bradley definitely defeated Pacquiao arch rival; Juan Manuel Marquez. Bradley is not a big one punch artist and Pacquiao matched Bradley hand speed in their last encounter and proved to be the bigger puncher. This is the safest route for Pacquiao while allowing him to make him marketable for yet another big fight with some very big pay day.
Provodnikov showed over his last two bouts he may be the toughest fighter in either junior welterweight or welterweight and he has the power to knock Pacquiao out. This fight would be similar to Rios fight but Provodnikov showed In his bouts with Bradley and Alvarado, that he has the ability to force boxers to engage in a toe to toe encounter and the question is could he do the same to Pacquiao. Garcia is another gate attraction and his boxing style could give the Pacman at his present age trouble.
This is the tale of two fighters. One, Andre Ward is an elite fighter in his prime but unable to get that big PPV fight that could set up him financially for life. The other, Pacquiao, is on the downside of his career but he has full table of bouts to choose from and make big bucks.