Former two-division titleholder Andre Ward recently expressed his bemusement regarding the idea that he has some sort of deep-seated feud with Canelo Alvarez.
The subject has come to light once more particularly because IBF 168-pound titleholder Caleb Plant was recently seen getting pointers from Ward in the gym ahead of Plant’s scheduled full unification bout against WBA/WBC/WBO 168-pound champion Alvarez Nov.6 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The pairing triggered all sorts of speculation on the web, with some saying it paves the way for Ward to face Alvarez down the line. Of course, neither fighter were mentioned in the same sentence when Ward was still active as a pro. Ward, a career 168-pound fighter who finished out his career as a light heavyweight, retired in 2017 when Alvarez was still fighting at the middleweight limit.
“I don’t have no history with that guy,” Ward said of Alvarez in an interview with FightHype.com. “The internet, since I retired, came up with this rivalry that’s not real. This man has never said my name pertaining to a fight when I was active, when I was retired. I’ve never said his name.”
Ward, who finished his career undefeated at 32 wins and 16 knockouts, believes the so-called rivalry took root on the web after Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) knocked out Sergey Kovalev to win the WBO light heavyweight title in 2019. Ward famously fought Kovalev twice, winning both bouts, albeit controversially.
“This all came because I’m retired and he fought a common opponent,” Ward continued. “Even after that fight he never said my name. I don’t think he will ever say my name like that. In terms of wanting to fight. So, no, we don’t have history.”
Ward brushed off the idea that he was breaking some kind of professional “code” by helping Plant (21-0, 12 KOs). Unlike Plant, whom he considers a friend, Ward says he has no relationship with Alvarez. Ward brought up his bonds with welterweights Shawn Porter and Terence Crawford by way of analogy; Porter and Crawford are scheduled to face each other in a title bout on Nov. 20 in Las Vegas.
“Both of those guys are my brothers,” Ward said of the welterweights. “If I talk to Shawn Porter something about training or whatever, it’s going to be Shawn Porter specific. It won’t be about any specific strategy because I can’t get in the middle of that. Same thing with Crawford. I may talk to him, work with him on a certain aspect of his game, but it’s not Shawn Porter specific. I can’t get in the way of it. I got a relationship with both guys…So that would be breaking a code.
“I don’t have a history with Canelo. There’s nothing there to preserve or to be worried about. At the end of the day he’s just another fighter on the other side of the ring. Somebody that I consider a friend. So there’s nothing really there.”
Still, that has not stopped some from the boxing peanut gallery from calling Ward a “Canelo hater.”
“At the end of the day, like, I don’t go where Twitter goes, I don’t go where IG goes. I don’t go where the YouTubers go,” Ward said. “It’s funny because they say the internet is undefeated. The internet takes Ls every single day. Because it gives people an opportunity to say things that don’t make sense, not educated, and a lot of it is the furthest thing from the truth. It just is what it is. It comes with the territory. If I got to be a hater in order to help my brother, as much as I can and I want to see him become undisputed and win those belts and take care of his business, it is what it is.”
“There’s a fake rivalry out there that’s been talked about for the last four years between me and Canelo. So it looks like a thing but there’s really nothing to see.”