By Allan Fox: Trainer Virgil Hunter doubts that Andre Ward would come out of retirement to face the Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev winner unless he’s given a “stupid offer.” Hunter says Ward retired the right way with exit strategy to plan his business future.
But if former two division world champion Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) did return to the sport to face the Canelo-Kovalev winner, Hunter believes it would cost $30-$40 million. For Ward to get that much, it would mean that the fight would have to bring in a massive PPV buys.
Canelo doesn’t fight on PPV, so the question is where would that money come from? That’s an absurd amount of money for a fighter who hasn’t fought since June 2016 when he stopped Kovalev in the 8th round. Like the first Ward-Kovalev match in 2016, the ending was controversial. A lot of boxing fans thought Ward hit Kovalev 3 consecutive times with low blows.
The ending wasn’t clear-cut enough for Ward to get credit from a lot of fans. In the first fight, Ward beat Kovalev by a controversial 12 round decision in November 2016. Both fighters were less than entertaining with a lot of grappling, and movement. It was the opposite of the Errol Spence Jr. vs. Shawn Porter fight.
Hunter says Andre Ward retired the right way
“Andre did it right. I’m sure boxing is always in his blood, the competitiveness is still there, but he’s still a very logical and thoughtful young man,” said Hunter to Behind The Gloves when asked if Andre Ward would return to the ring to fight the Canelo vs. Kovalev winner.
“If he looks at the position he’s in now, a man that did it right, who handled his business right, and who planned for life after boxing with a beautiful exit strategy, that he doesn’t need to fight anymore. He has a great broadcast career. So he’s around the sport, and around the game. So that keeps him interested,” said Hunter.
Retiring with a win is obviously a lot better than retiring with a loss. In that respect, Ward retired the right way. Had he fought one of the more solid light heavyweights like Dmitry Bivol or Artur Beterbiev, Ward’s retirement might have been a different story. Of course, that would also depend on how the fight played out. Those guys would be just as vulnerable to low blows a Kovalev.
There’s debate whether or not Ward’s shots that stopped Kovalev in the second fight were low. If they were low, and the referee Tony Weeks blew it, then Ward would likely stop Bivol and Beterbiev with the same shots.
Ward would have to be offered $30-$40 million to fight Canelo-Kovalev winner
“I don’t think there’s nothing out there that could entice him to come back and fight the winner [of Canelo vs. Kovalev],” said Hunter. “It would have to be something really stupid offer. I think he would consider. It would have to get up to maybe $30-$40 million or me to even suggest to him that, ‘Look, you should take this fight.
“That if they’ll give you a fight in between to prepare for this fight, you should take this fight. It’s money that not only sets you up for your immediate family, but you’re grandchildren, and your great grandchildren. So you should consider it.’ And I’d leave it at that,” said Hunter.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. got a huge payday against MMA in 2017 after being out of the ring for 2 years.
Mayweather’s previous fight was in 2015. However, Mayweather fought a hugely popular UFC fighter in Conor McGregor, who did a lot of the hard work in attracting fans. Ward vs. Canelo would be tough to sell, because neither of them are great trash talkers like McGregor. That was on another level with his ability to promote his fights. Mayweather went for the ride, and both guys made huge money.
Jackson: Canelo cashing Kovalev out
“Listen, if Yarde had more experience and more time, he wouldn’t have burned himself out, and he would have beaten Sergey,” said trainer John David Jackson to Fighthype about Kovalev. “He burned himself out. By the time he got knocked out, he was exhausted, not because Sergey was putting a beat on him.
“He’s going to get a good payday, and he’s going to cash out,” said Jackson about Kovalev getting a lot of money for the Canelo fight. “I’m still going with Canelo. They picked him for a reason,” said Jackson.
Jackson is saying a lot of the same things boxing fans are about Yard not having the experience needed for him to beat Kovalev. It might not have made a difference. Some people are assuming that Yarde will get better as he ages, but he might not. A lot of fighters get worse steadily as they get older
Kovalev is obviously going to try to win the Canelo fight, but if he loses, then it’s certainly a cash out. Canelo graced Kovalev by offering him the fight. He could have selected a better light heavyweight champion than Kovalev, but Canelo wanted him. Did he pick Kovalev because he’s lost 3 out of his last 7 fights? Canelo could have picked Beterbiev, Oleksandr Gvozdyk or Bivol. Why did he pick Kovalev?
Kovalev is he weakest link among the 4 champions at 175
“If he win, good for him, but of the 4 light heavyweights, he was chosen. He’s the weakest link of the four,” said Jackson about Kovalev being selected by Canelo. “He’s on the downside of his career, and he didn’t look good in his last fight [against Anthony Yarde].
“He said he learned more from his last fight than he did in his last 10 years, trying to take a stab at me. But you looked terrible in that fight. Are you telling me that Buddy [McGirt] made you look that bad? Don’t put down Buddy. You looked bad on your own. Don’t say Buddy made you look good,” said Jackson about Kovalev.