P4P countdown: No 2: Andre Ward
Luke G. Williams
Over the Christmas and New Year period, Boxing Monthly online is counting down our latest pound for pound top ten, based on the votes of a panel comprising nine of our writers. Today we reveal the man who came second ...
Name: Andre Ward
BM online P4P ranking: 2nd
Fight record: 31(15)-0
2016 report card: After easing past Sullivan Barrera and Alexander Brand on points in March and July, Ward was given a mighty scare by Sergey Kovalev in their titanic light heavyweight showdown in November. 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 nick a unanimous decision 114-113 on all three scorecards. Many believed the verdict did Kovalev a disservice, but whether you think Ward got a gift or not, he undoubtedly proved his guts, skills and fighting spirit.
Prospects for 2017: At the time of writing, Ward was seemingly stalling on the contracted rematch against Kovalev, arguing that it would have to be the "right deal" for him otherwise he might retire. First time around, S.O.G. reportedly ceived $5m compared to Kovalev's $2m and, with the contest only securing around 160,000 pay-per-view buys, it is hard to see that a rematch will earn Ward substantially more. Given the controversy surrounding the verdict in the first fight, a rematch is a must in the eyes of most boxing fans and Ward's P4P standing, and legacy, may be harmed if it doesn't happen.
Total points from BM P4P ranking panel: 80 - Of the nine members of our voting panel just one ranked Ward outside the top three, but, on the flip side, only one placed him in first. A more convincing victory against 'Krusher' might have seen him challenge for top spot, but unless a Kovalev rematch is secured and Ward wins it far more conclusively than the first bout, it is hard to see a route by which he can ascend to top spot, aside from our current number one being defeated ...
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 and Michael Montero.
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.