By Ryan Maquiñana
With reports surfacing last weekend that his team had commenced talks to fight Kelly Pavlik in an HBO-televised showdown on Feb. 23, super middleweight king Andre Ward and his promoter Dan Goossen clarified their current position.
“There is some merit to the rumors out there,” Ward (26-0, 14 KOs) said on Twitter Monday afternoon. “But, just a name so far. [In my opinion] far from done until contracts are signed!! I've yet to see one.”
Ward, the reigning BWAA Fighter of the Year, has risen up the pound-for-pound rankings after cleaning out the 168-pound division during his triumphant Super Six run. Aside from decisive wins over Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham, and Carl Froch, he stopped Chad Dawson in September.
Minutes later, Goossen spoke to BoxingScene.com/CSNBayArea.com via telephone regarding the matter.
“I am discussions with [Top Rank CEO] Bob [Arum] and [president] Todd [Duboef] to make the fight,” Goossen said. “Hopefully I’ll know something in the next few days. I like the fight.”
Top Rank, which handles Pavlik, was equally optimistic about the possibility of a clash with Ward.
“We’re talking with Dan,” Arum told BoxingScene.com last Friday. “I think the likelihood of it happening is good.”
Pavlik (40-2, 34 KOs), the former undisputed middleweight champion, is coming off a points win over Will Rosinsky in July. As one of the few American names left at super middleweight, Pavlik is an appealing option for Ward’s team in terms of generating further mainstream interest.
“Kelly wants the fight,” Pavlik’s manager Cameron Dunkin told this writer at the Nonito Donaire-Toshiaki Nishioka weigh-in last Friday. “HBO is looking for an opponent for Andre Ward, and Kelly’s name came up. It would be a big fight for Kelly.”
Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com during London 2012 and writes a weekly column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at [email protected] , check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.