After weeks of speculation, Andre Ward (28-0, 15 KOs) has agreed to a multi-fight deal with HBO and will return to the ring Nov. 21 in the co-featured bout on the undercard of the highly anticipated Miguel Cotto-Saul “Canelo” Alvarez fight at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
The recently inked deal was announced by Ward’s promoter, Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports, and will find the super middleweight champion making his debut as a light heavyweight and set in motion a potential high-profile showdown with 175-pound champion Sergey Kovalev next fall. Ward’s opponent has yet to be formally announced but all signs are pointing to 38-year-old Alexander Brand (24-1).
“HBO is the premier network in boxing and has been a great home to me both as a fighter and a commentator,” Ward said in a statement Thursday night. “I made my professional debut on HBO nearly 11 years ago and I’m excited to move on to this next stage of my career at the light heavyweight division on HBO. My team and I have been hard at work preparing for Nov. 21 and the fans can expect another strong performance in Las Vegas.”
Ward will join fellow Roc Nation Sports fighter Miguel Cotto on what will likely be the second-biggest boxing card this year, behind only Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao’s blockbuster showdown in May. It provides an opportunity for Ward, who is recognized as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, to showcase his talent in front of perhaps the biggest audience of his career. It is imperative that Ward ups his profile with casual boxing fans considering that the potential 2016 fight with Kovalev will be on HBO PPV.
“All of us at Roc Nation Sports are thrilled to partner with HBO as we embark on the next chapter in the storied career of Andre Ward,” said David Itskowitch, COO of the boxing division of Roc Nation Sports. “Starting this multi-fight agreement and Andre’s quest to conquer the light heavyweight division with a fight on the highly anticipated Nov. 21 pay-per-view event is a fitting way to kick things off. We are hopeful that Nov. 21 is the first step toward a 2016 showdown with Sergey Kovalev.”
Ward’s deal includes three fights. Once on the Cotto-Canelo undercard, then again next spring with the final fight being against Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KOs) in what could possibly be for the mythical pound-for-pound title.