By Edward Chaykovsky
The boxing battle continues between network rivals HBO and Showtime. According to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, the team behind WBA/WBC super middleweight champion Andre Ward (25-0, 13KOs) are currently involved in serious discussions, with HBO, to televise a planned return in the fall.
Before a potential fight in the fall, Ward is expected to return on June 2 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. Ward, the big winner of Showtime's Super Six Boxing Classic, would be a big chip for HBO to secure. Showtime does have the option to match HBO's monetary offer to Ward, but HBO's bigger budget usually comes out on top when the two networks bid for talent.
If HBO manages to secure Ward, there could be a problem with securing top opponents. The majority of the top super middleweights are fighting on Showtime. Ward's top target, IBF champion Lucian Bute, defends his title against Carl Froch in an EPIX televised fight on May 26th. Win or lose, Bute is still contractually bound to Showtime for at least one fight.
With most of the super middleweights fighting on Showtime, and Bute being a distant option, Ward is open to facing a top opponent at 175-pounds.
"People ask me on the street or on Twitter when I'm coming back," Ward said to Mannix. "Well, I'm coming. I want Bute but I'm ready for any big fight at 168 or 175 pounds."