By Luis Sandoval
Super Middleweight unified champion Andre Ward is set to take on his first fight since winning Showtime’s Super Six Tournament when he faces Chad Dawson on September 8th at the Oracle Arena in his hometown of Oakland, CA. Many expected and wanted to see Ward take on now former IBF champion Lucian Bute in a fight for Super Middleweight supremacy but the fight never materialized.
Ward insisted Bute needed to prove himself after against elite competition after not participating in the Super Six Tournament before they could both get in the ring. Bute eventually went on to lose his last fight and world title against Carl Froch as he was stopped in 5 rounds. He returns against Denis Grachev on November 3rd, and then has a scheduled rematch with Froch in March.
Andre Ward was on the most recent edition of BoxingScene’s official radio show The Boxing Lab and was asked if looking back, if there were any regrets not taking the Bute fight and missing out on being the guy to beat long reigning champion.
“It would’ve been great to come off the Super Six Tournament and beat Bute but it doesn’t always work like that. In this sport, the business side of it is like a game of chess and you try to make the best moves you can in the moment and I stand by my decision to have Lucian Bute fight somebody. I always felt just because he can sell out an arena it doesn’t make him a great fighter” Ward told The Boxing Lab.
“A lot of writers and a lot of media, they pumped [Bute] up to be the best guy in the division. I never said I was the best guy but I didn’t feel like he was the best guy simply because he hadn’t fought the best”.
Ward also cited the fight wouldn’t have been possible anyway due to his broken hand injury that he suffered against Froch in the Super Six final match. The type of fracture he had made for a very long healing process and he is just now feeling like his hand is completely 100%.
Even though he has no regrets, Ward says the possibility of a Bute fight is still possible down the line. Ward believes the fight may even be bigger if both come out victorious in the coming months and choose to fight.
“You never know. If this guy comes back, and I take my hat off to him for taking the rematch, if he comes back and beats Carl Froch and I take care of business against Chad Dawson, the fight is right back on the table even bigger than a year previous” said the Oakland native.
Ward did say he understood where some fans were coming from in wanting to see a fight with him and Bute. He agreed he’d want the fight as well but sometimes good business decision don’t always please the fans. While some might see passing up on a Bute fight as a lost opportunity, Ward is very content with his decision and feels he’s taken on an even worthier opponent for his upcoming fight.
“My career is not hinged on one fight or one fighter. It would’ve been a great victory [over Bute], yeah of course but it’s not hinged on that. And I’m going on to fight another great fighter who’s proven and has done a lot more than Lucian Bute and that’s Chad Dawson”.
You can listen to Andre Ward’s interview in its entirety by downloading the podcast on iTunes or listening to The Boxing Lab podcast here: http://tobtr.com/s/3366573
You can follow Luis Sandoval on Twitter @Truewest007. You can also tune in to The Boxing Lab, Boxingscene’s official audio show every Tuesday from 6-8PM PST with hosts Ernest Gabion, Luis Sandoval, and Ryan Burton.