Is It Too Early For Ward vs. Golovkin?

Photo edit by John Garita/Round By Round Boxing

Andre Ward‘s complete dismantling of Edwin Rodriguez has some boxing fans begging for a superfight with Gennady Golovkin.

In a division Ward has pretty much cleaned out, it is understandable why some would want Ward to find a fight outside his Super Middleweight division.

However, as Ward himself explained at the post-fight press conference, he has no plans to move up in weight. His fight with Chad Dawson, where Dawson moved down from Light Heavyweight, illustrates the discipline and intelligence with which Andre Ward conducts his career.

Moving around in weight divisions is a mistake the likes of Robert Guerrero and Josesito Lopez have committed.

Lopez, who could have done a better job fighting at Light Welterweight, instead decided to jump two weight divisions: almost losing to Victor Ortiz at 147 and being destroyed by Saul Alvarez at 154.

The same goes for Guerrero, who has jumped up 20 pounds since winning his first world title at Featherweight. His refusal to fight Keith Thurman may suggest that he has bit off more than he can chew by joining the Welterweight division.

Staying comfortably at Super Middleweight is something Ward explicitly said he plans to do. It is a smart move, but even Golovkin has claimed he is willing to move up and fight at Super Middleweight. This claim makes a possible fight with Ward viable.

However, given Golovkin’s record and given the popularity of both fighters, is it a smart fight to make yet?

Dan Goossen
Photo by Gabe Rivas

Dan Goosen, Ward’s Promotor, suggested at the post-fight press conference that Golovkin needed to fight better opponents in his weight class before earning a shot with Ward.

It is a position that makes a lot of sense. Gennady Golovkin has the potential to be a big star at Middleweight, but has he fought the best Middleweight opposition?

Golvokin’s wins over Nobuhiro Ishida and Gabriel Rosado were impressive not because they were legitimate middleweights–which they were not–but because he was so dominant in doing so.

His bouts with Matthew Macklin and Curtis Stevens were against true Middleweights, but Mathew Macklin’s style seem to only serve to make Golovkin look good. In one recent Boxing News 24 article, Teddy Atlas is quoted as saying Macklin “doesn’t fit in with Golovkin.” Indeed, Macklin’s style only made him a target for the vicious left hook to the body that put him out.

Curtis Stevens, on the other hand, was also a tough opponent but, besides the size difference, Stevens is not considered to be a top-ten Middleweight. He was mostly riding off the publicity from a knockout win over an even lesser-known fighter in Saul Roman.

Golovkin looked great in all his fights this year–as he should have–but he needs to fight top-ten Middleweights. No one is denying his potential or skill, but to bring the best out of Golovkin, we need to see him fight the best opposition. We need to see him fight opponents who do not cater to his style and who can actually use their legs, such as Andy Lee and Sergio Martinez

Goosen was right by making it clear that Govlokin needed to clean out his division to fight Ward. If Golovkin has not fought a top-ten middleweight, how can he deserve a title shot with the legitimate Super Middleweight champion?

Depsite all of this, Ward is ready for everything. He admitted that he doesn’t know how long he has in the sport and that his best performances were still ahead of him.

It is an exciting claim, given that he has fought top ten fighters in his division. Wins over fighters such as Carl Froch, Sakio Bika, and Chad Dawson have cemented him as the best in his division.

Given all this, it seems that it is too early to make a fight between Golovkin and Ward. Furthermore, their popularity must also be taken into consideration.

Golovkin’s style is increasingly making him into a star. Ward, although boxing professionally for a longer time, is having trouble in that respect–but an exciting win over Rodgriuez and a possible fight with Chavez Jr. may put his name in the spotlight.

Given all this, it would be too early to have these great fighters collide. A smarter investment, for both the boxing business and for boxing fans, would be to wait another year or so. A fight between Ward and Golovkin will make the most sense when both are at the peak of their physical abilities and at the peak of their popularity.

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