Andre Ward named BWAA Sugar Ray Robinson Fighter of the Year

Los Angeles (Jan 31, 2012) - At the end of the year, when several highly respected publications, including ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and Yahoo! Sports named Andre Ward their Fighter of the Year, it seemed that the people around the 2004 Olympic gold medalist were even more thrilled than he was. Though grateful for the awards he had earned, the WBA and WBC super middleweight World Champion was waiting for "the big one."

That wait came to an end yesterday, when the Boxing Writers Association of America announced that the 27-year-old Ward was to receive the 2011 BWAA Fighter of the Year award named after one of the greatest of all-time, Sugar Ray Robinson. The BWAA stated "Ward was chosen by an overwhelming margin over nominees Nonito Donaire, Wladimir Klitschko, Floyd Mayweather, and Manny Pacquiao."

Not a bad list of pugilists to be associated with.

In 2011, en route to capturing the inaugural SHOWTIME Super Six World Boxing Classic, Andre showcased a dominant victory over Arthur Abraham in the semi-finals in May, and followed it up with a masterful performance over Carl Froch in the tournament finale on Dec. 17. An MRI after the fight revealed that he had entered the bout with a double fracture in his left hand, making his victory all the more special.

"I want to thank God for giving me the strength to put in the work year after year to get to this point," said the humble champion. "I also want to thank my manager, James Prince, my promoters Antonio Leonard and Dan Goossen, everyone who is a part of Team Ward, including all of my family, friends, and loyal fans who have been behind me all these years. This award is just as much for them as it is for me.

"Even in the midst of receiving this tremendous award, Team Ward is not going to let up. In 2012 and beyond we're going to push forward, and God-willing we can be considered for these awards every year. Its easy to get comfortable at a time like this, but I can assure everybody that I'm going to continue to put in the work to be the best that I can be. I'm going to stay humble, keep God first, and with that: the best is yet to come."

"Since the day we signed Andre from his Olympic gold medal performance, to this past December beating Froch, he has been a complete joy to work with, as well as his whole team," said Goossen. "The crazy thing is I don't believe Andre has scratched the surface of where he's headed. Inside the ring he's vicious; outside the ring he's classy and humble. Simply said, he's the future."

The accolades for Team Ward continued when the BWAA also acknowledged the man who has trained Andre since the first day he stepped into a boxing gym, voting Virgil Hunter winner of the Eddie Futch Trainer of the Year award.

"I'm very happy for my trainer and Godfather, Virgil, for winning this prestigious award," said Ward of the man who has taught him his craft. "I'm probably more excited for him than I am for myself. I've always wanted him to win this award because he is one of the hardest working trainers in the game."

"I'm thrilled for Virgil," Goossen further stated. "He deserves to be mentioned with the top trainers in the sport today, and like Andre, I believe the best is yet to come."

Andre, who is expecting his fourth child with his wife Tiffiney, was certain not to forget the media, stating: "Last but not least, I want to thank the boxing writers, because without them, this would not be possible."


January 31, 2012 – Mexico City.

From WBC President Dr. José Sulaimán:

“The World Boxing Council is very pleased and proud to see that Arthur Mercante is being honored as one of the posthumous inductees at the first annual induction ceremony of the New York State Hall of Fame for Boxing. Arthur was simply the greatest referee who ever lived. He was also the Chairman of the WBC Ring Officials Committee for many, many years, as well as a loyal and unforgettable friend. He was like a brother to me. The induction ceremony will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 1, at Russo’s on the Bay, located at 162-45 Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach, New York.”


The following is one of the weekly “Hook to the Body” columns by WBC President Dr. José Sulaimán that are published in El Universal every Sunday. From January 29, translated from Spanish:


By José Sulaimán

From Pride and Love to a Title to Love for Money

We have been reading for long so many news about the millions of dollars for Mayweather and Pacquiao, 50 million here, and 50 there; that the promoter showed past contracts for only eight-nine millions instead; that Pacquiao accepts equal percentages and the anti-doping tests; that Floyd demands the fight to be on May 5th as he must comply with the ruling of a judge; that Arum wants to wait for a new stadium to be finished, while an offer from the middle eastern country Qatar, where the 2018 Soccer World Cup will take place, came for the fight to take place there….. blah, blah, blah.

I have no doubts that both boxers have their dignity, pride and honor, but, no sir, boxing is not that anymore. It’s all about money, and that is the specific objective of whoever the promoter is. Dignity and pride have remained in the past, and for that reason I believe that the month of May is out of the question for that gigantic fight that the world is demanding to take place. There is not enough time for May, but I sincerely wish for the sake of the demand of the world that it will take place some day, perhaps by the end of the year, time that will fly like the wind does and both fighters must look for different challengers to cover their TV dates of mid-year.

In the meantime, a very interesting title defense will be made by the WBC middleweight champion, Julio César Chávez Jr., who valiantly picked Marco Antonio Rubio, with all his experience and reknowned punch, to make his second defense of the title that he won from Sebastian Zbik. Nobody doubts that this is a very interesting fight where experience and power will confront youth, very improved boxing, and also a good puncher. It is very disappointing to read in the papers that Rubio said that he will get only one third of the money that he made with Kelly Pavlik, but that he took the fight because he wants the championship. Chávez, is known to be having the toughest training of his career. God willing, we will be there for this very interesting and competitive WBC title bout.

All those millions mentioned going from here to there made my mind fly to many years back, when the immortal homerun king, Babe Ruth of the New York Yankees, made $35,000 dollars as his top income for a year. Joe DiMaggio, also with the Yankees, who married Marilyn Monroe and to whose tomb he had a fresh rose delivered daily during all the years of his life, made $50,000 per season. The greatest Mexican idol of all-time, Raul “Raton” Macías, broke the all time gate record of more than 55,000 people and made $250,000 pesos - about $ 25,000 dollars!!! Even the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali, made as his highest purse $5 million in his Rumble in the Jungle fight against the great bomber George Foreman, who made the same amount in a fight that all, away from Zaire, had to go to see in a movie, as there was no Pay Per View.

Ali, Foreman, Macías, Ruth, DiMaggio, and so many others who live in history with golden letters never made more. But today, in our era, Oscar de la Hoya is said to have made $70 million against Mayweather for the highest income ever. The super millions made by other popular fighters, the stars of football, baseball, basketball, who move around teams like a roulette wheel, without loyalty, only to money, creating a sports world of craziness with tons of money for the very few, and still peanuts for most. Who has the merits for these crazy figures and times? Without a doubt, the phenomenon of television, that has taken the thousands of fans from the arenas and stadiums of the past to the millions today at home. The monumental problem is that an absolute majority of boxers and athletes win millions or thousands, but who, after the lights of the arena and their careers are over, with very few exceptions, spent all what they won, including thefts and exploitation by their own friends, and live their third age in poverty and only dreaming of their days of glory.

TV corporations and promoters must find a way, including donations for pensions, to wipe off guilt, embarrassment and tears, to see their boxers finish their lives with dignity and pride. The WBC has more than 25 years of extending modest pensions to a few old ex-champions, while taking also care of many in hospitals and medicines, but as of January, 2012, a pension plan is being started to be managed by an independent group of distinguished people to control the program. May the promoters support the WBC, and may God help us for the benefit of our heroes in boxing.

Cohen Congratulates Joe Greene for Successful Ring Return

Greg Cohen of Greg Cohen Promotions wishes to congratulate his fighter, super middleweight contender "Mean" Joe Greene (23-1, 15 KOs), for his KO 8 over Jackson, Tennessee's Nathan Bedwell at the Frank Cochran Center in Meridian, Mississippi, on Saturday night.

The quick victory was Greene's second since his comeback began in October. He took more than a year off after suffering his only profession loss in June 2010, via decision against Vanes Martirosyan.

"Joe looked sharp again tonight," said Cohen. "He wanted to get in a few rounds and keep himself at the top of his game and that's what he did."

Cohen says the 25-year-old southpaw is all the way back and will now be in search of a big fight.

"By the way he looked in there tonight, it's obvious Joe is ready for the top contenders and champions in the super middleweight division. He was using tonight as a yard stick and by the look of his opponent, he's all set to face anyone. Joe Greene is ready to take on the world again.

Article posted on 01.02.2012

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