Even now, at age 37 and having been retired for almost four years, Andre Ward gets asked if he will fight again. Ward, a superb fighter who never lost a single fight at the pro level (and only one bout as an amateur), bowed out with a perfect, 32-0 (16) record, this in 2017 after scoring a stoppage win over Sergey Kovalev in their return fight.
Ward was at his absolute best at 168 pounds, where he defeated excellent fighters such as Carl Froch, Chad Dawson, Arthur Abraham, and Mikkel Kessler.
But would Ward have beaten the current pound-for-pound king, unified super-middleweight champion (all the belts bar one) Canelo Alvarez?
This would have been a simply fascinating match-up and a good case can be made for either guy winning. Would Canelo have proven too physically strong for Ward? Would Ward have been too clever and too hard to hit cleanly for the Mexican star?
Ace trainer Virgil Hunter, who served as Ward’s trainer for many of his big fights, spoke with Sky Sports and Hunter said Canelo “would have to become a completely different fighter” in a battle with Ward.
“I don’t like to say who would win. But a lot of the things that Canelo does, he wouldn’t be able to do to Dre,” Hunter said. “The things he’s able to do? He would not be able to do it to Dre.
“He would have to become a completely different fighter. Whoever adapted mentally, whoever adjusted over the course of a fight, whoever was in tune to the other’s rhythm would have the greater chance of winning.
“Once he retired, I knew he would stay retired. We discussed early in his career that he would go out on top. He is a Hall of Famer. Let’s leave it at that. Nobody can talk about a loss.”
Canelo as we know has only been beaten by Floyd Mayweather, and Canelo puts that loss down to inexperience on his part. At his best, as in where he is right now, Canelo may well have been able to give Mayweather a far different fight. We will never know.
In terms of a fight with Ward, Canelo has a more pleasing style as far as the scoring judges are concerned, and maybe his aggression, his eye-catching punches, would have been the difference in a fight with Ward.
No way Canelo knocks Ward out, though. For me, Canelo would have won a close, possibly debatable decision over Ward. Agree or disagree?