It was just hours away from the big championship bout in Las Vegas this past weekend between Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez, as another champion, Oakland’s own Andre Ward, reflected on where his career was going to take him.
At a meet and greet with his fans at the Fashion Show Mall at the Shoe Pavilion, Ward signed autographs and talked about his boxing future, which has been at a standstill for the past year.
“Last night, I had a great work out at Fifty Cents new boxing gym in Las Vegas,” said Ward. “After the workout, I signed an agreement to fight Edwin Rodriguez on Nov.16 on HBO.”
The last time the 26-0 boxer stepped into the ring, it was in September 2012 when he stopped Chad Dawson in a technical knockout in the tenth round of a Super Middleweight title fight at the Oracle Arena in Oakland.
He was scheduled to fight again in January of 2013 against Kelly Pavlik. But the bout was sidetracked due to a problem with Ward’s shoulder. The bout was rescheduled for the next month, but Ward did not fight as his injury lingered on.
After another cancellation, the World Boxing Commission stripped Ward of his WBC Super Middleweight title belt for being inactive, but they granted him champion emeritus status. which he later relinquished and rejected because he said his injury prevented him from fighting.
“It has been a year since I last fought and I don’t care where it is, but I am just ready to go,” he said. “I am excited to get back into the ring.”
His upcoming fight against Rodriguez, who is 24-0, with 16 knockouts, is either going to be in either San Jose or Los Angeles.
All Ward is waiting on is Rodriguez to sign his end of the contract.
“If he doesn’t want to fight, that’s fine,” continued Ward. “But he keeps on getting on TV and in magazines, name dropping my name and saying I am the fight he wants. So I am waiting for him to sign so we can get it on.”
While recuperating from his shoulder injury, Ward was training, giving boxing analysis of several matches and even working as a guest sports talk show host on Bay Area shows. He predicted a Mayweather victory over Canelo based on the weigh-in’s of the two fighters the day before.
“Canelo didn’t look good going into such a big fight,” said Ward. “At the weigh-in, he didn’t even want to look at Mayweather, when he was face-to-face with him. I mean, this guy was sitting down at a weigh-in.
“I have never seen that, going into such a big event.”
Ward said his probable fight against Rodriguez is important, because a victory would position him for bigger boxing paydays, fighting on a larger stage in Las Vegas and some possible pay-per view fights in the near future.
“The goal is to get to a pay-per view fight by next year,” said Ward. “I am eyeing a possible fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., as my first pay-per view fight.”
“I plan on coming back into boxing stronger.”