Andre Ward will face a big test in Sullivan Barrera
by Hector Franco
It was announced on Thursday by boxingscene.com that Andre Ward finally has an opponent to step in the ring with. Ward will be facing undefeated light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera. Both men have engaged in a war of words on twitter for the past several weeks leaving tensions boiling. It seemed that the bout would not take place, but thankfully for fans, the two fighters have come to an agreement and will meet on March 26 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, Ward’s hometown. This will be Ward’s first fight in the light heavyweight division and on paper a very stiff challenge for the former Gold Medalist.
Ward was last seen in the ring last June against Paul Smith. Ward put on a dominating performance and took Smith out in nine rounds. Afterwards, Ward was scheduled to fight on the undercard of the Miguel Cotto-Canelo Alvarez PPV card but pulled out due to injury to his knee to the disappointment of many fans. Ward has somehow managed to stay in boxing headlines despite being inactive for long stretches of time. The only fights he has been involved in are those via media and social media most famously engaging in a back and forth battle with current middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin and his team.
Besides the twitter exchanges, this bout will also bring about a storyline between rivals. In Barrera, Ward and his trainer Virgil Hunter will face Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez. Barrera is riding high on the momentum of 2015 where he won three fights by knockout including a fifth round stoppage over Karo Murat. This will be a huge opportunity for Barrera as a win will likely catapult him into a possible title shot in the division. But it won't be easy, even with Ward’s inactivity he is still considered one of the best pound for pound in the sport so a win over him would greatly enhance Barrera’s stature in the division and boxing as a whole. Barrera would be considered one of the best light heavyweights in the world. A win for Ward on the other hand, would solidify his position once again and lay to rest a chapter in his career that was met with a lot of negative criticism from fans and media alike. Make no mistake about it this will be a real test for Ward at light heavyweight. If he passes the test, fans can look forward to a possible showdown with Sergey Kovalev.