By Radio Rahim
A few days ago, trainer Virgil Hunter revealed that his star fighter - IBF, WBA, WBO light heavyweight champion Andre Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) - was still capable of getting down to the super middleweight limit of 168.
Ward officially moved up to the light heavyweight limit of 175 in early 2016, but hasn't been down to 168 since November of 2013. Since then he's weighed between 171 to 175.
The subject of weight came up, when Hunter was quizzed on whether or not a fight was still possible with IBF, IBO, WBA, WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs).
Back in 2015, Ward's handlers reached out to Golovkin's promoter, Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions, to make a fight between their boxers.
According to Ward, Loeffler had no interest in doing the fight. Loeffler has long claimed that Golovkin was already contracted to face David Lemieux in a unification - and beyond that his focus was getting the winner of Canelo Alvarez vs. Miguel Cotto.
Ward is close to finalizing a deal for a contracted rematch with Sergey Kovalev, which may take place on June 17 in Las Vegas.
If the money is right, Hunter feels confident that Ward would be able to get down to 168.
"Of course he can make 168 - if the money is right. He is still a super middleweight," Hunter told TownBizzNizz Sports & Media
"We have unfinished business at light heavyweight. I don't know if [Ward will] go back down. But he's not a light heavyweight, he's still a super middleweight. Time will tell if we move back down, but there shouldn't be any reason now on why [Golovkin] won't fight us. I don't think they could use those excuses again [that they used two years ago]. After we finish with Kovalev, if we decide to go back down, [we'd fight Golovkin]."
Loeffler was very receptive to Hunter's statements.
If Ward defeats Kovalev in their second fight, and Golovkin secures and beats Canelo in September, then Loeffler would love to see a Golovkin vs. Ward showdown at 168.
“We’ve always said that Gennady could move up to 168 if it made sense. We tried to make the Chavez fight [at 168]. We tried to make the Froch fight [at 168]. Now [Gilberto] Ramirez is talking about fighting Triple G. He’s an undefeated 168 pound champion. Andre Ward, he’s got the Kovalev rematch. If he can win that one and come back down to 168 - I think that's a great fight,” said Loeffler to BoxingScene.com.
“When they were originally talking about fighting Gennady, that’s when we had the Lemieux fight, that's when we had the Cotto-Canelo winner in our sights. My response was clear - if Andre was at 168 we can make that fight. That’s a tremendous match-up now that Andre’s active again. If Gennady can beat Canelo, that makes that fight [with Ward] that much more interesting.
"I think with the win over Danny Jacobs - it opens up a lot of doors... whether it’s with Saunders, whether it’s with Canelo, whether it’s with Ramirez, whether it’s with Ward - depending on what happens in his fight [with Kovalev]. A lot of doors are open that previously weren’t open, because people didn’t want to get inside the ring with Gennady."
At the same time, Loeffler cautions that Ward would not be the only option on the table. Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum has spoken to Loeffler several times about matching Golovkin against undefeated WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez - and staging that event at a big venue in Texas. Right now the most important factor in viewing Ward as a future option is the outcome of the Kovalev rematch, says Loeffler.
“We have to see what happens with his rematch with Kovalev. Ramirez is fighting in April and Bob has been very proactive in trying to make the fight. I think that’s a great fight. We’ve always wanted to go to Texas with Gennady. If we could do a fight with Ramirez in Texas - that’s a tremendous match-up. And we’ll have to see what the options are. [Chris] Eubank is getting active again on social media. He's talking about fighting [Golovkin]," Loeffler said.
Golovkin's next fight could very well take place on June 10 in Kazakhstan, in a unification with WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders of the UK.