By Ryan Maquiñana
Universally recognized super middleweight world champion Andre Ward is targeting a late summer return from an injury to his right shoulder, according to his promoter, Dan Goossen.
“Our biggest concern right now is Andre’s health and his surgically repaired right shoulder, but he’s already back in the gym and we can’t wait to get him going again on his road to superstardom…We’re looking at sometime in August,” Goossen told BoxingScene.com/CSNBayArea.com.
Ward tore his right shoulder capsule last December, cancelling a title defense against Kelly Pavlik that eventually cost the Oakland, Calif., native his WBC belt due to inactivity earlier this month.
The sanctioning body’s move to strip Ward was controversial when put into perspective; for example, Floyd Mayweather has not defended his WBC welterweight title in 19 months, while Ward was stripped only seven months after his last defense.
“I’m just going to keep it short and sweet. I disagree with it. I don’t think it’s right, and my team will be dealing with it,” said Ward, who still owns the WBA and Ring Magazine 168-pound titles.
Though the list of opponents for the August return has not been discussed, Goossen floated the possibility of Ward fighting one of the combatants on the HBO-televised May 25 doubleheader, where a tape-delayed airing of Carl Froch-Mikkel Kessler II will be paired with Jean Pascal-Lucian Bute.
While Ward already defeated both Froch and Kessler in the Showtime Super Six tournament, he has yet to face the two Canadians, who are expected to sell out Montreal’s Bell Centre and will fight each other one division north of 168 pounds at light heavyweight.
“This mini-tournament it seems they’ve got going on is intriguing to us,” Goossen added. “With Froch fighting Kessler, and Bute fighting Pascal, if you got those winners to fight, whoever’s left standing would definitely earn a shot at Andre.”
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.