P4P countdown: No 1: Andre Ward
Luke G. Williams
Over the course of this week, Boxing Monthly online is counting down our latest pound for pound top ten, based on the votes of a panel comprising ten of our writers. Today we reveal the man who came top...
Name: Andre Ward
BM online P4P ranking: 1st (up 1 place on last December)
Fight record: 32(16)-0
Report card: After easing past Sullivan Barrera and Alexander Brand on points in March and July 2016, Ward was given a scare by Sergey Kovalev in their titanic light heavyweight showdown in his third fight of 2016. Knocked down in round two and being beaten to the punch early on, Ward's unbeaten record looked in severe jeopardy midway through the fight. However S.O.G. rallied, showing great guts and adaptability, to edge a unanimous decision 114-113 on all three scorecards.
Some believed the verdict did Kovalev a disservice, but what cannot be denied is that Ward proved beyond doubt that he possesses guts, fighting spirit and the will to win in abundance. The rematch between the two men earlier this month was also somewhat controversial - this time Ward secured an eighth-round TKO, although 'Krusher' cried foul, arguing S.O.G. had connected with several low blows, while some observers argued that referee Tony Weeks' stoppage was premature.
In the view of this writer, the low blow controversy was a smokescreen - obscuring the fact that Ward broke Kovalev mentally and physically, proving, yet again, that he always seems to find a way to win and is one of the greatest boxers of his generation.
Prospects for 2017: Where Ward goes next remains to be seen - in the immediate aftermath of the Kovalev rematch he suggested that a move to cruiserweight might be on the cards. However, with the majority of the world's top cruisers now aligned to the World Boxing Super Series tournament, this seems unlikely, in the short term at least. A move to heavyweight was also floated, which would be an intriguing avenue for S.O.G. to explore. A showdown with Adonis Stevenson is the most attractive option if Ward stays at light heavy, while retirement may also be an option.
Total points from BM P4P ranking panel: 100 - all ten members of our panel placed Ward in top position, resulting in him being crowned unanimously as our new P4P king. With regards the heated discussions surrounding the Kovalev fights, the panel pointed out that they formulate their P4P lists based on the official results of fights.
NB: Voting panel for the BM online P4P rankings were: Mark Butcher, Luke Byron, Luke G. Williams, Andrew Harrison, Paul Zanon, James Oddy, Chris Williamson, Callum Rudge, Michael Montero and Martin Chesnutt.
Each panellist ranked their top ten in order, with the boxer placed first receiving ten points, second nine points, third eight points and so on. Boxers were then ranked by the overall number of points accrued.