Andre Ward (born February 23, 1984) is an American professional boxer. He is a two-weight world champion, and as of May 2017, considered the best boxer in the world, pound for pound, by The Ring magazine and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. He is also ranked as the world's best light heavyweight by The Ring and BoxRec. Since 2016, Ward has held the unified WBA (Undisputed), IBF, and WBO light heavyweight titles. Between 2009 and 2015, he held the unified WBA (Super), WBC, Ring, and lineal super middleweight titles.
As an amateur, Ward won a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 2004 Olympics and turned professional later that year. He rose to worldwide prominence upon entering the Super Six World Boxing Classic tournament in 2009, where he won the WBA (Super) super middleweight title from Mikkel Kessler in the opening group stage. In 2011, Ward defeated WBC champion Carl Froch in the tournament final to unify the titles, as well as winning the vacant Ring and lineal titles. That same year, Ward was named Fighter of the Year by The Ring and the Boxing Writers' Association of America. He later won the Ring's Comeback of the Year award in 2016 following a long period of sporadic in-ring activity between 2012 and 2015.
Andre was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Frank Ward, an Irish American, and Madeline Arvie Taylor, an African American. Andre's career started when his father took him to a boxing gym in Oakland, California when he was nine years old. Ward's godfather, Virgil Hunter, became his trainer and still trains him today.
Andre attended Hayward High School in the East Bay, where he played running back and safety for the football team.
Ward started boxing in 1994. From 1998 to 2004 he did not lose a single match. In 2002, he won the Under 19 National Championship and was also a two time U.S. National Champion in 2001 and 2003 at Middleweight.
- 2001 United States Amateur Middleweight Champion
- 2002 Under 19 National Championship
- 2003 United States Amateur Light Heavyweight Champion
- Won the Light Heavyweight gold medal for the United States at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece becoming the first American boxer to capture gold in 8 years.
His results were:
- 1st round – Second Place at the 1st AIBA American 2004 Olympic Qualifying Tournament
- 2nd round – Defeated Clemente Russo (Italy) 17–9
- Quarterfinals – Defeated Evgeny Makarenko (Russia) 23–16
- Semifinals – Defeated Utkirbek Haydarov (Uzbekistan) 17–15
- Gold Medal Match – Defeated Magomed Aripgadjiev (Belarus) 20–13
Ward made his pro debut on December 18, 2004 by scoring a second round TKO over Chris Molina. On February 5, 2005 Ward fought in his second pro fight against Kenny Kost. Ward overcame a rocky second round, in which he was hurt by a left hook, to win by unanimous decision. Ward defeated Roy Ashworth on April 7, 2005 by disqualification.
Ward won his next three fights, all by knockout, before going up against Darnell Boone on November 19, 2005. Ward was knocked down for the first time in his career in round four. Despite the knockdown, Ward went on to win by unanimous decision.
After the fight with Boone, Ward went on to win his next six fights, including TKO victories over undefeated Andy Kolle (this fight was the last of five that Ward fought within the middleweight limit of 160 lbs) and Francisco Diaz. On November 16, 2007 Ward beat undefeated Roger Cantrell by fifth-round TKO in Saint Lucia.
On March 20, 2008, at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, Ward defeated Rubin Williams by seventh-round TKO. Ward hit Williams with jabs and straight left hands almost at will, opening a bad cut over Williams' left eye in the process. The cut would force the referee to stop the fight.
Ward faced Jerson Ravelo on June 20, 2008, in Georgetown, Cayman Islands, for the vacant regional NABO super-middleweight title. Ward dominated Ravelo for most of the fight en route to a TKO victory in the eighth round.
On May 16, 2009, at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, Ward defeated Edison Miranda by unanimous decision. The scores were 116–112, 119–109, 119–109 for Ward. Ward showed he had an inside game as well as an outside game. Miranda couldn't stay up with Ward's versatility around the ring.
On September 12, 2009, at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California, Ward defeated Shelby Pudwill by TKO in the 3rd round.
Super Six World Boxing Classic
Ward vs. Kessler
Andre Ward defeated Mikkel Kessler on November 21, 2009 for the WBA super-middleweight championship in the Super Six World Boxing Classic. Kessler was the strong favorite going into Showtime's Super Six tournament. In a career-defining performance, undefeated hometown favorite Ward put the U.S. on the board in the Super Six and captured the WBA super-middleweight title with a dominant 11 round technical decision over Denmark's Kessler in their Group Stage 1 bout. The fight was stopped in round 11 due to cuts on Kessler's face caused by what was deemed unintentional headbutts by Ward. The fight went to the scorecards and Ward was far ahead by scores of 98–92, 98–92 and 97–93 at the time of the stoppage.
In January 2010 Jermain Taylor announced his exit from Showtime's Super Six World Boxing Classic tournament. The Ring Top 10 ranked super-middleweight Allan Green was selected as his replacement and challenged Andre Ward on June 19. Ward, defending the WBA super middleweight title, outclassed an opponent who spent most of the fight with his back against the ropes. Ward defeated Green by unanimous decision on June 19, 2010. Though the 30-year-old gamely fought on, the knockout he needed to win never appeared remotely likely and he looked a spent man by the end as he picked up the second loss of his 31-fight pro career.
Ward was exempt from the final preliminary fight in the Super Six because he had already secured a number one position in the elimination rounds and his designated opponent (Andre Dirrell) had dropped out of the tournament. Instead, Ward successfully defended his WBA super middleweight title, unanimously outpointing another Top 10 ranked super middleweight, Sakio Bika, in front of a sparse crowd at Oracle Arena on Saturday night. Fighting in front of his hometown crowd as part of a dual-site co-main event, Ward didn't land many big shots but repeatedly hit Bika with a stinging left jab that the challenger was unable to counter. Ward won all 12 rounds on one judges scorecard and was ahead 118–110 on the other two.
Ward vs. Abraham
Ward's next title defense came against Top 10 ranked super middleweight Arthur Abraham (32-2, 26 KOs) on May 14, 2011 in Carson, California. Abraham entered having lost two of his previous three bouts. Ward started out slow with Abraham, trying to find a way to penetrate his tight defense. After a competitive first few rounds, Ward seized control of the fight, using his ring savvy and instincts to control Abraham. Although Abraham was somewhat passive at times, he gave an earnest effort and frequently threw combinations that were mostly blocked by Ward. Abraham hurt Ward a couple of times in the final round, but it wasn't enough to finish Ward, who had dominated the fight and won a lopsided unanimous decision. The three judges scored the bout 120-108, 118-110 & 118-111. ESPN had it 118-110 in favor of Ward.
Ward vs. Froch
Andre Ward won the Super Six World Boxing Classic tournament in a bout against WBC super-middleweight champion Carl Froch. Ward and Froch were rated #1 and #2 respectively by Ring magazine, and the vacant The Ring super-middleweight title was on the line, as well as Froch and Ward's super-middleweight titles. Over the first seven rounds, Ward outboxed Froch, successfully using his jab to neutralize Froch and beating Froch to the punch from a distance and at close range. In the later rounds, Ward seemed to take his foot off the gas, leaving Froch to win a couple rounds near the end of the fight, though they were close and fairly competitive rounds. An MRI later revealed that Ward injured his lead left hand on which he relied for landing hooks to Froch's head. The hand was broken in two places. Ward noted extreme pain in the sixth round of the fight as well has one week prior, though the initial X-ray came back clear. The judges scorecards were 115–113, 115–113 and 118–110, all in favor of Ward. Ward won the vacant The Ring super-middleweight title and is also regarded as becoming Lineal champion with his Super Six World Boxing Classic win against Froch, despite some independent sources rating undefeated IBF title holder Lucian Bute #1 or 2.
The World Boxing Council Board of Governors voted to make Ward "Champion in Recess" due to a broken hand Ward had sustained during the Super Six tournament.
Ward vs. Dawson
Ward's next fight was set for September 8, 2012 against Lineal/The Ring light-heavyweight champion Chad Dawson. The fight was at 168 lbs for Ward's super-middleweight titles. It ended in round ten with a technical knockout victory for Ward when Dawson asked the referee for the fight to be ended with the words: "It's over. I'm finished. I'm done."
In the first two rounds, Ward and Dawson felt each other out, with neither fighter having much success, though Dawson was able to land a few counter right hooks as Ward lunged inside. In the third round, Ward dropped Dawson with a left hook and dominated the round. Again in the fourth round, Ward was able to drop Dawson, in another dominating round. From fifth round until the end of the fight, Ward was able to neutralize Dawson's jab and work rate, seemingly out boxing and frustrating Dawson throughout. Then, in the tenth round, Ward dropped Dawson to a knee after a solid combination, which prompted referee Steve Smoger to stop the fight after Dawson could not continue.
Ward was scheduled to defend his super middleweight titles against former Lineal/WBC/WBO/The Ring middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik on January 26, 2013 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles. However, an injury sustained by Ward originally postponed the bout for 4 more weeks and the fight was expected to take place on February 23, 2013. The injury was more severe than originally thought and led to the cancellation of the fight as well as the subsequent retirement of Pavlik.
On March 23, 2013 the WBC stripped Ward of the WBC super-middleweight title belt for being inactive for a long period of time, and for failing to face a mandatory challenger. They granted him champion emeritus status. Ward claimed a shoulder injury that required surgery was the reason for his inactivity, but the WBC claimed that Ward had not provided any medical evidence or even given them a rough availability date.
On May 20, Ward relinquished the champion emeritus title, stating that he did not believe the WBC had the right to strip him of the world title because he was willing and able to defend it within the period specified by the WBC's rules. Ward was praised for standing up to the WBC.
Ward vs. Rodríguez
Ward spent most of 2013 recovering from injuries, and feuding with promoter Dan Goossen, over the inclusion of a co-manager in Ward's promotional contract. The case has been to court or arbitration on 3 separate occasions. Each time, Goossen was deemed in the right. Ward defended his WBA and Ring titles against unbeaten Edwin Rodríguez in Ontario, California in November 2013 with a wide unanimous decision. The fight started with rough tactics until Jack Reiss made an unprecedented move, penalizing both fighters two points each and warning them that he would end the fight if it did not clean up. Ward went on to dominate the rest of the fight.
Ward spent all of 2014 inactive, still feuding with Goossen. Dan Goossen died of complications from liver cancer in September 2014, leaving the future of Andre Ward's boxing career even further in doubt.
On February 19, 2015 the The Ring reportedly stripped Ward of his Ring Champion belt due to him not having defended his title against a top #5 contender in the last two years.
Ward vs. Smith
On June 20, 2015 Ward fought British Paul Smith (35-5, 20 KOs) at the Oracle Arena in California at a 172 lbs catchweight fight. Ward won via TKO in the 9th round. Ward was winning every round at the time of stoppage (80-72, 3 times). Smith missed weight, coming in at 176.4 lbs and was fined 20% ($45,000) of his $225,000 purse by the California State Athletic Commission, half of which went to Ward and half to the commission.
On November 12, 2015 in advance of his upcoming move up to the light heavyweight division, Ward vacated his WBA super middleweight title. Ward originally claimed the belt in November 2009 with a victory over long-time champion Mikkel Kessler in his opening fight of the Super Six tournament.
Ward vs. Barrera
Ward made his light heavyweight debut against Sullivan Barrera, who was undefeated at the time, in his hometown at the Oracle Arena. En route to a wide unanimous decision victory, Ward dropped Barrera to the canvas in the third round as he turned a left hook while on the ropes. Ward dictated the pace for the vast majority of the bout, showcasing good strength and ring generalship against the Cuban. The three judges scored the fight: 117-109, 119-109, and 117-108.
Ward vs. Brand
On July 30, 2016, Ward fought 100-1 underdog Alexander Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) from Colombia. Ward unanimously outpointed Brand to claim the vacant WBO Intercontinental light heavyweight title. All three judges had the fight 120-108 for Ward. Ward spoke to HBO in the post fight interview about fighting Kovalev next saying: "I'm excited, I'm looking forward to it. I'll see you in November." This was Ward's third fight in eight months, after only fighting three times from 2012 to 2015.
Ward vs. Kovalev
Ward fought unified light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev at the T-Mobile Arena on November 19, 2016. The fight was announced in June, and both fighters retained their undefeated records through interim bouts. This event marked Ward's first time fighting in Las Vegas.
After being knocked down in the second round, he won a closely contested unanimous decision with all three judges scoring the fight 114-113 in favor of Ward. Ward reiterated how the events of the evening unfolded, "I got off the canvas against the hardest puncher in the division and smiled. I took the fight to him and closed the show." Ward received Kovalev's WBA (Undisputed), IBF, and WBO light heavyweight titles and became a two-division world champion.
Some fans have claimed that the judging was unfair. "It was a classic hometown decision. Kovalev won the fight," Larry Merchant stated after the fight. Kovalev's promoter, Kathy Duva, said, "We got a great fight, which is what boxing needed. But we also got a bad decision, which is not what boxing needed." On the same token, many boxing experts have applauded the decision and believe Ward would have the advantage in a rematch due to his ability to make adjustments. Paulie Malignaggi noted the high degree of difficulty both fighters faced that night and doubted the prospect of a one-sided affair in the case of a rematch. Still, he concluded that Kovalev faded late in the fight. Promotor Eddie Hearn added that Kovalev lacked a sense of urgency after the halfway point. Gennady Golovkin's trainer, Abel Sanchez, noticed how Kovalev allowed Ward on the inside and as a result wore down. Sanchez also credited Ward's trainer Virgil Hunter as being key in orchestrating the proper plan.
The fight reported to have done 160,000 buys on HBO PPV. A replay was shown on HBO prior to the Lomachenko-Walters title fight, which averaged 834,000 viewers. The event produced a live gate of $3.3 million from 10,066 tickets sold, including complimentary tickets, the full attendance was announced as 13,310. The venue was set up to hold 14,227.
Ward vs. Kovalev II
Main article: Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev II
Kovalev's manager Egis Klimas announced that negotiations had begun for the rematch between Ward and Kovalev. According to the NSAC, The T-Mobile Arena was put on hold for June 17, 2017 on HBO PPV. On March 24, 2017 Kovalev revealed via Social Media that he had signed his end of the deal. It was also noted that the rematch would take place at the Mandalay Bay in Paradise, Nevada on HBO PPV. On April 4, Roc Nation Sports and Main Events confirmed that terms were agreed for the rematch to take place on HBO PPV. The fight is being billed as "No Excuses". Ward addressed the public by stating, "I'm going to keep it short and sweet. You got what you asked for -- now you have to see me on June 17. This time leave the excuses at home." The Las Vegas Sun confirmed the bout will take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. On April 10, Kathy Duva said that there would be no rematch clause in place for a third fight, meaning whoever would win, would not be obliged to fight another rematch.
Known as one of the most complete boxers in the sport today, Ward harnesses his speed and ring intelligence to masterfully control distance and pace in fights while maintaining high punch accuracy and counterpunching skills. A natural left-handed fighter who boxes in an orthodox stance, Ward's best punches typically come from the lead left, including a sharp, piston-like jab. An injury and eventual surgery to the right shoulder has made Ward even more reliant on the left hand, causing him to even switch to southpaw on occasion to land his power shots. Ward is also noted for his extremely effective inside game. Ward's physical strength has enabled him to overpower and rough up many opponents on the inside and in a clinch. Connecting with his own shots, particularly the short left hook and uppercut, while smothering his opponent's shots and weaving their punches is commonplace in Ward fights. He attributes his self-described "formless" style to years of studying Roy Jones Jr., Bernard Hopkins, and Floyd Mayweather Jr. Ward even makes effective use of the jab to the body while out of punching range, a common technique used by Mayweather Jr. in his fights.
Ward married his high school sweetheart Tiffiney in 2009, with whom he has three sons and a daughter. Ward lives in Danville, California. A devout Christian, he regularly visits places in his area such as schools, prisons, and youth facilities to help his community and engage and inspire people with his story.
In 2015, Ward made his acting debut in the American sports drama film Creed as the light heavyweight boxer Danny "Stuntman" Wheeler.
Professional boxing record
|Professional record summary|
|31 fights||31 wins||0 losses|
|32||N/A||N/A||Sergey Kovalev||N/A||– (12)||Jun 17, 2017||Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||Defending WBA (Undisputed), IBF, and WBO light heavyweight titles;
For vacant The Ring light heavyweight title
|31||Win||31–0||Sergey Kovalev||UD||12||Nov 19, 2016||T-Mobile Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||Won WBA (Undisputed), IBF, and WBO light heavyweight titles|
|30||Win||30–0||Alexander Brand||UD||12||Aug 6, 2016||Oracle Arena, Oakland, California, U.S.||Won vacant WBO International light heavyweight title|
|29||Win||29–0||Sullivan Barrera||UD||12||Mar 26, 2016||Oracle Arena, Oakland, California, U.S.|
|28||Win||28–0||Paul Smith||TKO||9 (12), 1:45||Jun 20, 2015||Oracle Arena, Oakland, California, U.S.|
|27||Win||27–0||Edwin Rodríguez||UD||12||Nov 16, 2013||Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, California, U.S.||Retained WBA (Super), The Ring, and lineal super middleweight titles|
|26||Win||26–0||Chad Dawson||TKO||10 (12), 2:45||Sep 8, 2012||Oracle Arena, Oakland, California, U.S.||Retained WBA (Super), WBC, The Ring, and lineal super middleweight titles|
|25||Win||25–0||Carl Froch||UD||12||Dec 17, 2011||Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.||Retained WBA (Super) super middleweight title;
Won WBC, vacant The Ring and lineal super middleweight titles;
Super Six World Boxing Classic: final
|24||Win||24–0||Arthur Abraham||UD||12||May 14, 2011||Home Depot Center, Carson, California, U.S.||Retained WBA (Super) super middleweight title;
Super Six World Boxing Classic: semi-final
|23||Win||23–0||Sakio Bika||UD||12||Nov 27, 2010||Oracle Arena, Oakland, California, U.S.||Retained WBA (Super) super middleweight title|
|22||Win||22–0||Allan Green||UD||12||Jun 19, 2010||Oracle Arena, Oakland, California, U.S.||Retained WBA (Super) super middleweight title;
Super Six World Boxing Classic: group stage 2
|21||Win||21–0||Mikkel Kessler||TD||11 (12), 1:42||Nov 21, 2009||Oracle Arena, Oakland, California, U.S.||Won WBA (Super) super middleweight title;
Super Six World Boxing Classic: group stage 1;
Unanimous TD after Kessler sustained cuts from accidental head clashes
|20||Win||20–0||Shelby Pudwill||TKO||3 (10), 2:16||Sep 12, 2009||Pechanga Resort and Casino, Temecula, California, U.S.|
|20||Win||19–0||Edison Miranda||UD||12||May 16, 2009||Oracle Arena, Oakland, California, U.S.||Retained NABF and WBO–NABO super middleweight titles|
|18||Win||18–0||Henry Buchanan||UD||12||Feb 6, 2009||Tachi Palace, Lemoore, California, U.S.||Won WBO–NABO super middleweight title;
Won vacant NABF super middleweight title
|17||Win||17–0||Esteban Camou||TKO||3 (10), 2:46||Dec 13, 2008||Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, Cabazon, California, U.S.|
|16||Win||16–0||Jerson Ravelo||TKO||8 (12), 2:37||Jun 20, 2008||Royal Watler Cruise Terminal, George Town, Cayman Islands||Won vacant WBO–NABO super middleweight title|
|15||Win||15–0||Rubin Williams||TKO||7 (10), 2:51||Mar 20, 2008||HP Pavilion, San Jose, California, U.S.|
|14||Win||14–0||Roger Cantrell||TKO||5 (10), 1:56||Nov 16, 2007||Beausejour Stadium, Gros Islet, Saint Lucia|
|13||Win||13–0||Francisco Diaz||TKO||3 (8), 2:59||Jul 14, 2007||Home Depot Center, Carson, California, U.S.|
|12||Win||12–0||Dhafir Smith||TKO||6 (8), 2:47||May 17, 2007||Tachi Palace, Lemoore, California, U.S.|
|11||Win||11–0||Julio Jean||TKO||3 (8), 2:04||Mar 29, 2007||HP Pavilion, San Jose, California, U.S.|
|10||Win||10–0||Derrick Findley||UD||6||Nov 16, 2006||HP Pavilion, San Jose, California, U.S.|
|9||Win||9–0||Andy Kolle||RTD||6 (8), 3:00||Apr 29, 2006||Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, U.S.|
|8||Win||8–0||Kendall Gould||UD||6||Feb 23, 2006||Tachi Palace, Lemoore, California, U.S.|
|7||Win||7–0||Darnell Boone||UD||6||Nov 19, 2005||Rose Garden, Portland, Oregon, U.S.|
|6||Win||6–0||Glenn LaPlante||KO||1 (6), 2:59||Oct 1, 2005||St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida, U.S.|
|5||Win||5–0||Christopher Holt||RTD||3 (6), 3:00||Aug 18, 2005||HP Pavilion, San Jose, California, U.S.|
|4||Win||4–0||Ben Aragon||TKO||3 (6), 0:59||Jun 18, 2005||FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.|
|3||Win||3–0||Roy Ashworth||DQ||3 (6), 2:56||Apr 7, 2005||Pechanga Resort and Casino, Temecula, California, U.S.||Ashworth disqualified for hitting on the break|
|2||Win||2–0||Kenny Kost||UD||6||Feb 10, 2005||Tachi Palace, Lemoore, California, U.S.|
|1||Win||1–0||Chris Molina||TKO||2 (4), 0:40||Dec 18, 2004||Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, U.S.||Professional debut|